Scores of experts have written aisle upon aisle of how-to books, on keeping the sparks alive between spouses.
One recently released book has a slightly different approach. It was written by two divorcees, on what they’ve learned about what makes, and breaks relationships.
How My Husband Makes Me Happy: Secrets to a Low Maintenance Marriage, by Karen Gordon and Evan Myshrall, is a personal account from the couple, who reflect upon ten years of marriage, and what they’ve learned from one-time failed marriages.
The book includes a foreword by New York Times bestselling author Raymond Aaron.
Among the many pearls of wisdom – some obvious, some not – is do not forsake what appear to be relatively insignificant kind gestures. After all, they maintain “little hinges swing big doors”.
Fitting for the archetypal male audience, Myshrall uses an automotive analogy to prove the point:
“Men don’t seem to understand that women really appreciate even the little things. It means a lot to them. It’s like keeping a car on the road. You maintain it. You go for the oil changes, and you get it serviced… All of that is much cheaper and easier than letting it break down and being faced with a huge bill to get it fixed and back on the road,” writes Myshrall.
“Relationships are the same: don’t let your relationship run on empty because it’s not going to go very far.”
On the topic of doing special favors for your significant other, they advise it’s best if approached without any expectation of getting anything in return.
“Doing something nice for your partner isn’t just about getting a reward. Both sides (should) … give freely and because each of you wants to give it,” they write.
(The pitfall for setting a precedent with quid-pro-quo might be her asking “OK, what do you want?” when you help her with the dishes.)
Furthermore, one of the paths to relationship upkeep are regular “date nights” – which, incidentally, a little can go a long way.
“Date night doesn’t have to be about spending lots of money on a fancy restaurant. It can be a few foods you both enjoy, a bottle of something you’ll both like, and a TV program or a movie in front of the fire.” Or even something as corny as watching the sunset together. And these, over time, nourish the bond.
“It’s like a savings account: you’ve got to keep adding to it and see it grow and, as the years go by, you get more and more out of it,” writes Myshrall.
For both parties involved, it’s also important to know when to “let go.”
The authors warn not to bring up mistakes once they’ve been apologized for; and, to pick your battles.
And finally, guys: pick up her cues whether she wants you to put on your Mr. Fix-It cap to solve an issue, or if she’s merely venting. Sometimes, she just wants you to let her say her peace (then you can hug, and go back to watching Walking Dead).
At 187 pages, the book is an easy read, with often humorous, and simple to understand advice for anyone in any level of relationship.
Oh, and one more thing: don’t forget to laugh. Often.