When I write a romance novel, it always ends with a Happily Ever After. Often, the wedding is the final scene of the book, or sometimes it ends with the birth of a baby. But we always leave the couple at a happy point. So far, I have never written a romance novel that ends like this:
“Xavier put down his beer and burped loudly. “Babe, can you bring me another bag of potato chips?”
Vanessa, who was standing in the kitchen sneakily finishing off the last bag of chips in the house, had just tipped the bag into her mouth to obtain the last broken bits at the bottom when her husband of two years called for her. She hastily wiped her grease-covered hands on her old sweats. “Uh, we’re all out of chips, Xavier darling. Sorry!” Taking care not to make any tell-tale crinkle noises, she quietly dropped the empty bag into the trash before joining Xavier on the sofa. Their favorite reality TV show, The Real-Life Roofing Crews of San Bernardino, was on.
Only two years earlier, he’d taken her out dancing every Saturday night, except when they were on a plane traveling to one exotic vacation spot after another. But now, their Saturday nights mostly consisted of eating junk food while watching TV shows in sweatpants. Xavier no longer dressed in tight jeans and white linen shirts, partially unbuttoned to show off his smooth, tan, muscular chest.
Vanessa sighed. “When we met, you used to always wear such sexy clothes.”
“Those tight jeans were cutting into my balls. I’m sticking to sweats from now on. More room for the boys, ya know,” he said, reaching down to rearrange them through the gray fleece. “And I was getting a rash on my chest from all that waxing. Anyway, we’re married now. I don’t need to impress you anymore.”
It was just as well, Vanessa thought. Xavier’s tan was long gone, and it turned out that once he stopped waxing his chest, the man could grow a pelt the average bear would covet. Best to keep that decently covered under a thick sweatshirt.
Vanessa, for her part, had stopped coming to bed in black lace teddies or sheer red nightgowns. She instead came to bed dressed head to toe in heavy fleecewear and long woolen socks. She was always cold, and counted it as a miracle she had not died of pneumonia while prancing around in wisps of nothing.
Their dog, Brutus, came padding into the room, where he dragged his butt across the rug, a look of intense relief on his face.
“Xavier! You said you were going to take Brutus to the vet! He needs to have his anal gland expressed. Come on. I can’t do everything around here myself.”
It had seemed amazing, when they first met, that Xavier had made millions of dollars writing apps and didn’t have to work anymore. However, he now did nothing but sit around in dirty sweats drinking beer and eating chips.
He wouldn’t pitch in with any household chores at all, and he never seemed to notice when she got a new haircut.
Or when she had it highlighted.
Or when she added extensions.
Or when she bleached it platinum blonde.
Or when she tinted it blue.
Finally, she shaved her head. He did not notice that, either. She gave up. There was no more romance in her life.”
Nope, nobody wants to read that book*. But how many couples instead live in a scenario like that? (Hopefully not just like that!)
It’s easy to let work, kids, household chores and social obligations eat into your couple’s time, and that’s natural. Nobody’s honeymoon lasts forever. Eventually you do need to spend some evenings doing your taxes or cleaning out the basement. It’s never going to be all romance all the time (except in my books!).
Everybody knows this, which is why we’ve set aside ONE FREAKING DAY every year to bring back the romance. Um, sorry, but one day per year is just not enough.
What would happen to your relationship if you routinely did the kinds of things you only do on Valentine’s Day? Try a few of these things:
Once every couple of months, place a bottle of champagne and two champagne flutes on your lover’s bedside table for no reason at all.
Once every week or two, bring home a small box of chocolates or similar treat for the two of you to enjoy together.
Bring your lover flowers (grocery store bouquets are fine!) once a week or so.
Come to bed in beautiful lingerie every evening. Well, maybe not when you have the flu.
About once a week, take a sexy selfie of yourself and then send it to your partner over lunch, with the message, “I can’t wait to see you tonight.” (You can spice that message up as much as you want.)
Set the mood in your bedroom with candles. You probably already have candles in your bedroom, am I right? Well, actually light them sometimes.
Play whatever kind of music gets the two of you into the mood.
Wear your favorite perfume even if you’re staying in.
Get into the habit of giving each other nightly massages.
You know that one thing you used to do when you guys were dating? That thing that drove him insane with pleasure? Yes, that. When did you last do it? Do it tonight.
I don’t want to present this as yet another chore that’s up to the woman. But it’s highly likely that if you start doing a few of these things, your partner is going to be inspired to at least meet you halfway. If he (or she) doesn’t, don’t be afraid to come right out and ask for what you want. I know, I know. In the romance books, the dude is always bringing flowers and wine and he doesn’t need to be asked.
Those are fiction, y’all!
Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!
*OK, now I kind of want to write that as a novella, just for fun. The Curvicality reader who comes up with the best, most over-the-top name for the story will get a free copy of the Sophia Sinclair ebook of your choice. Email your title ideas to email@example.com. Please place “Vanessa and Xavier” in the subject line. The entire novella will appear in a future issue of Curvicality.