When you’ve been married a while, intimacy can get a little predictable. After kids enter the picture, it’s easy for romance to get shoved aside. Bill and I are determined not to let this happen to us.
I recently consulted a book that promised to add zest and excitement to our private life. The book provides a list of different things to try out in bed (or elsewhere). Additionally, it encourages you to schedule time together and to make sure you are both aware of the time and place of the rendezvous, because it’s hard to smooch and make googly eyes at each other if one of you is working late and the other is cleaning out the pantry. The combination of anticipation and new methods is supposed to make you both as horny as billy goats.
There was one chapter in particular that made a great impression on me. It stressed the fact that intimacy is togetherness, not just sex. The book was adamant about the fact that some encounters should not result in intercourse, but should be thoughtful gifts for your spouse, like time off from the kids, or a night with sole control of the remote.
Bill and I were determined to give the plan a try, and we agreed that I’d surprise Bill first. As I perused the list of crazy activities, I eliminated the ideas that required odd props (spurs) or extensive cleanup afterwards (chocolate sauce). I thought about staging a bubble bath extravaganza, because I dearly love a hot bath. However, the only bathtub in our house is the one the boys use every night, and to call it nasty and mangy would be an understatement. I didn’t think I’d be able to get the tub cleaned up and make myself irresistible all on the same night, so I picked a different idea.
On the chosen day, I left Bill a subtle sticky note in his closet (“Tonight’s the night!”) and a voicemail (“Hey honey – don’t be late tonight, or you’ll miss the big shindig!”)
At the appointed hour, we put the boys to bed and locked our door. I proceeded to parade around the bedroom in one of Bill’s buttondowns and a pair of black stilettos. I used the sexy pout I had perfected from my adventures in modeling, and this time Bill did not laugh. This outfit resulted in exactly the response the author predicted– Bill was soon snoring. I was very proud of myself and amazed at the book’s accuracy. I could hardly wait to see what was in store for me.
Several days later, I woke up and saw a note on my mirror. “Relax: tonight it’s all about you!” I checked my email later and Bill had sent me a message. It read: “This is your night….”
As I was cooking dinner, the phone rang. It was Bill.
“Have you gotten any messages today?” he asked coyly.
“Yes,” I said. “Are you on your way home?”
“I sure am, honey,” he said gleefully. “Let’s eat, get the kids bathed, and put them to bed, because you and I have a date at 9:00 sharp.”
“I heard,” I said. “But do you think I could take a raincheck? I’ve had a hellish day. The boys dug a huge muddy canal around the swing set, so everyone was covered with dirt and I have them all in the bathtub now. I’m not really feeling very sexy.”
Bill was silent a moment.
“Honey, I think you’re going to enjoy this surprise. Why don’t you reconsider?” he asked.
“I won’t rule it out completely, at least not yet,” I said sullenly, adding a cup of mushrooms to my pan and swirling them around. “I just want you to know what I’ve had to deal with today.”
Eventually everyone was fed and homeworked and put to bed. I returned to the kitchen to clean up. Suddenly Bill materialized and nuzzled my ear.
I jumped. “You scared me!” I shrieked.
He took a step back. “Honey, calm down,” he said pleadingly. “You’re ruining the mood.” He stepped up to me again and whispered in my ear. “You stay in here while I get things ready. I’ll call you when it’s time to be pampered.”
I sighed. It looked like my work for the night was far from done.
While I scrubbed pots, I could hear lots of splashing coming from the boys’ bathroom. Bill came back to the kitchen once to get the Comet, the Pine-Sol and a sponge. “I’m almost ready for you,” he winked.
I was resigned to getting through with the whole affair as quickly as possible so I could get some sleep. “Great,” I said, weakly, and I kissed him on the cheek.
As I was wiping the counters, he returned once more, his face flushed. “Are you ready?” he asked. “You’re going to love this!”
I wasn’t sure of that at all, but he grabbed my hand and I followed him. He led me to the bathroom, where he’d filled the tub with a large bubble bath.
“Get in,” he urged. Seeing my hesitation, he added, “don’t worry, I completely disinfected it for you, my love.”
My heart began to soften.
“You get in and soak,” he said. “I’ll leave you alone. This is all about you.”
“Really?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said firmly. “It’s your night. Enjoy yourself. I’ll check on you and see if you need anything.”
I undressed and eased myself into the bubbles. It was exactly what I needed, and I closed my eyes and savored the warmth. When I opened my eyes, I noticed that Bill had placed a couple of scented candles by the tub. My fancy chenille robe was hanging on the back of the door. Best yet, he had placed my New Yorker nearby. I picked it up and was soon lost in an article about fish suppliers. It had been ages since I’d had a night to myself.
I was interrupted by a knock on the door. It was Bill, holding a big fluffy towel.
“Are you ready to get out?” he asked with a smile.
“Ooh, not yet,” I said. “This is heaven. I think I’ll finish this article.”
He frowned. “But honey, I’m getting tired. I need to go to bed,” he said.
“That’s okay,” I said, not looking up from my magazine. “I can get out myself. I love you, honey. You were so sweet to make the bubble bath and light the candles and everything. This was a wonderful evening.”
He looked at me strangely. “But it’s not over yet,” he said.
“It’s not?” I asked.
“No, it’s not,” he said desperately.
I looked up at him. And then I realized it really wasn’t over yet.
So I got out of the tub, dried off, and we went into our room and made googly eyes at each other and smooched.
In marriage, it’s never “All About You.” It’s all about us. And that’s how it should be.