Is there something missing in your marriage? Could it be romance and spice? If so, let me share with you how I added spice back to my marriage!
by Lori Gurtman | Lori Gurtman lives in Aspen, Colorado with her husband, two teenage children, and Old English Sheepdog. Reading and writing are her favorite escape, but when she isn’t doing that, she can be found on the mountain: hiking, biking, or skiing. Lori is also a published author, freelance writer, certified proofreader, and college essay tutor—who is passionate about empowering her students to write from their hearts. Follow her on Twitter @lorigurtman.
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When I was a little girl, I loved playing imaginary games. In my pretend world, I became whatever I wanted to be: a teacher, a boss of a successful company, a travel agent planning exotic vacations, and a store owner.
Throughout my pre-teen and teen years, I dreamt of romance. Listening to cheesy songs by Richard Marx and Peter Gabriel on repeat, I would fantasize that I had a tall, handsome boyfriend who held my hand while we walked on a beach under the moonlight. My made-up boyfriend would turn to me, lift my chin, tell me I’m gorgeous, then kiss me softly and passionately.
With every trip around the sun, the time spent inside my imagination dwindled. And by the time I reached adulthood, my elaborate and fun daydreams became a thing of the past.
Fast forward a few decades, and I’m happily married to my best friend. Heading into our 24th year of marriage, like most couples, we’ve certainly had our ups and downs. Still, through it all, we’ve managed to grow together and maintain our strong, loving bond.
So, what’s missing? The romance. The love at first sight. The butterflies that swirl in my belly when we kiss. The tingly sensation I get when I see him. Dressing up for my man. Feeling invincible when we’re together.
Assuming my marriage lasts till death do us part (which, of course, I hope it does), I’ll never get that back, nor do I want to––in reality, that is.
I now relish in the nights when I’m home alone, which are seldom, wearing my cozy sweats and eating eggs for dinner. What’s more, I figured out how to bring romance and spice back to my life and marriage. Only this time, instead of make-believe stories in my head, I watch them on my television screen and in books I read.
Romance novels and movies are my secret escapes, a drug of sorts, reigniting those long-lost feelings.
For a short period, I lose myself inside the screen or in the words of a novel—and I become the beautiful woman courted by the six-foot-two, chiseled-faced, muscular hero with abs of steel. On the exterior, he takes command of a room, but he’s sweet and doting with me. I am the center of his world, the only woman he’ll ever love. I am his everything.
In the movies, I become the lead actress in my mind. I am Vivian Ward in Pretty Woman. I am Bridget in Bridget Jones’s Diary. I am Rachel in Crazy Rich Asians. I am Sally in When Harry Met Sally. For a few short hours, watching a love story on the screen, I am swooned and loved and swept off my feet.
I am the protagonist in the romance novels I read––and the spicier the passages, the better. The sex scenes are the best aphrodisiac. Guess who benefits from that? My hubby. When I indulge in one of those books, I am no longer a middle-aged woman; I transform into someone else: youthful and sexual. My skin is taut; my breasts are full and perfect; my stomach is flat; my body curves in all the right places. I am utterly irresistible.
Let’s face it, as women age, our libidos are not what they used to be. And with all the other stresses in our lives, parenting, working, etc., a good night’s sleep is sometimes far more appealing than having sex. So, after losing myself in a love story, I become alive again and wake up my libido from its slumber.
Living vicariously through fictional characters, I get to experience euphoria. That same rush of dopamine and oxytocin, the feel-good hormones I once had with my husband when we first dated, get released inside my brain. When we are in that state, we don’t necessarily see our partner’s faults and flaws. In other words: love is blind. Not only does my husband look more attractive in this headspace, I feel more beautiful too. Despite our middle-aged bodies looking nothing like they did when we were younger, for a little while, I envisage.
Imaginary games shouldn’t have to end when we grow up. We should continue exercising our imagination throughout our lives. Our thoughts are powerful and have a direct impact on our bodies. If I told you to think about eating a lemon, most likely, your mouth would salivate. The romance genre is like lemons to me, triggering my body and heart to wake up. It’s the perfect spice that adds an enticing flavor to my comfortable marriage.