Jack puts on his nicest suit, maybe his only one. He showers and hopes that Beth will find him hot. He worries about that. His hairline is receding and when he looks down at his feet, he doesn't see them anymore.
Beth is wearing some garments that flatten her tummy and hide some of the dimples that follow her. She looks at her reflection and admires the plunge in her dress. She normally wouldn't wear something so revealing but she feels she needs some attention.
Jack is thrilled when he sees Beth. She looks so beautiful. Beth, for her part, notices that her husband still looks attractive. It's too bad that she doesn't feel as close to him as she used to.
At the hall, Beth's girlfriends compliment how wonderful she looks. They hope that their husbands won't notice, too. But the women know; of course their husbands will notice. They think some inappropriate adjectives of Beth.
When Jack was entering the hall, he was very proud to show off his beautiful wife. He knew the other men would ogle her, envying his nights. If only they knew the reality, though. His nights were not to be envied. As a couple, Beth and Jack had gone from being very much in love to being co-managers of their home. As needs were not fulfilled, the distance between them grew. Instead of turning to each other, they turned to distractions.
At home, Beth dresses comfortably and doesn't care what her husband thinks about her appearance. Jack wears ill-fitting pants and unflattering tops. Beth resents putting in effort that isn't obviously appreciated. And Jack, well, he's clueless about how much Beth needs his attention and how important his appearance is to her.
Back at the wedding, Beth notices admiring glances from men around the room and she feels a renewed sense of her femininity. She doesn't seem to notice the disapproving looks from the women. Certainly, she dances with Jack. And she also dances with other men. Clearly, dressing to be hot is paying off. The attention is heady. And since she knows Jack enjoys the envy of other men, she isn't doing anything wrong. She can't help that men find her so attractive.
One of the men she dances with has had a little too much to drink and, without saying a word, is being highly flirtatious in how he's holding her. Beth starts imagining things that surprise her. Meanwhile Jack, who is also feeling lonely, is hoping some of the other ladies will pay him some attention. And, as it turns out, some of Beth's friends do take an interest in Jack. Apparently, there are a lot of hungry people at this wedding.
Later, during the drive home, both Jack and Beth feel a little uneasy and wonder what it would be like to be driving home with someone else. Their imaginary partners would offer attention, appreciation and sexual energy. Simply, their marriage is quickly deteriorating. Beth's relationships with her friends are also heading in a negative direction. Even while fawning with compliments, they really didn't appreciate their husbands paying more attention to her than to them.
What happens next?
What do you think? No one was helping their marriage that night. How ironic that another couple was celebrating just starting their married life together. Perhaps in a few years, the newlyweds too will be trying to earn the attention of other men and women.
It would be easy to suggest:
- dress for your spouse and not strangers
- pay each other compliments
- spend time together
- no flirting allowed
But most people won't comply. Why? Because as disappointments accumulate, the motivation to attract each other fades. Because neither Beth nor Jack knows how to repair the damage that is being done, it's easier for them to hope that someone, somewhere will make them happy. Until then, on the home front, it's drudgery as usual.
Beth and Jack may want to improve their marriage. They just don't know how.
Here are 4 key actionable steps to take now:
- Stop pretending things are fine and ignoring the problem.
- Sit down and REALLY talk; be respectful but don't edit your feelings.
- Ask the tough questions. None immediately arise? Try the ones that follow:
- When did you start to lose interest in each other?
- Go back in time before that: what prompted the change, hurt your feelings, etc.?
- At your core, and be very honest, what is your spouse not providing you?
- And what are they doing that you dislike?
- Note the responses to these questions.
The list of these responses is your most treasured document. Use it to dedicate yourselves to be of service to each other. Following this path, within a very short time, Beth and Jack will start to dress up for each other. They will then be very happy to help each other undress. Jack will actively listen and engage Beth and make her feel she is the most important and beautiful woman in the world. Both will share what makes them happiest and reciprocate happily.
A few months later, Jack is getting into his suit as he and Beth prepare to go to another wedding. Jack's smile radiates and he gives off waves of sexy confidence. Beth responds with her own inviting smile and looks stunning.
At the wedding, Jack is so wonderful to hold and dance with. As they dance, they decline the offers of other people to cut in.
Now when they drive home at the end of the evening, they feel sad for their friends who keep looking away from their spouse to find happiness elsewhere. This time, Jack and Beth settle in for the night and now their nights are very enviable. Sometimes they make urgent, passionate love, other times the lovemaking is slow and sensuous. Still other nights, they cuddle and doze in each other's arms.
Lesson learned: giving love and attention to each other excites a couple far more than hoping someone else will fulfill their desires.