There’s no shortage of pointers about how to make sure your marriage doesn’t turn stagnant after kids come along. Communicate often. Prioritize your partner. Make date night a regular occurrence. Don’t neglect sex. While these are all useful, research-backed pieces of advice for making a marriage feel healthy and fresh, they’re also a bit abstract. So, we decided to ask real couples: How do you keep it sexy-ish? That is, what do you and your partner do to stay close, connected, and, well, just into one another? For Stanley Jaskiewicz, 53, Philadelphia, he just did something simple. When they got married 23 years ago, he decided he would call his wife every single day — and just ask her how she’s doing.
I’ve been calling my wife every single day since the day we got married in 1995. We were both a little bit older when we got married. I was 35, she was 32. I had seen lots of people who got married with the best of intentions, where it didn’t work out. I wanted to do what I could to build our marriage and relationship. My wife says that the daily calls are not just on me — we both made a point to call each other a lot. I wanted to show my wife that I considered our marriage, and our family, the most important thing in my life. She wanted to show me the same thing. She needed to know that my priorities were her, and our family. Our marriage and our family.
Honestly, if someone ever transcribed our conversations, and looked at what we said, truly, 95 percent of it is just a mundane conversation. But that’s the point, really. We just need to connect about things that aren’t logistics and planning.
The conversations are just simple. Sometimes, we have nothing else to say other than just “hello.” They don’t last long. But the reality of our lives is that I leave the house very early in the morning. I’m up at 5 and out by 6:30 a.m. And over the majority of our married life, I came home at 7:30- 8 o’clock at night. Our son has autism. My wife had a seven-year-old daughter when we got married. So, she spent a lot of time running around during the day, taking care of them both. By the time I got home, she’d usually be tired. So would I. It’s not like we had a whole lot of time to talk in the evening. All we talked about at night was: What are we having for dinner? What meeting do we have to go to at the school? That sort of thing. They were all maintenance conversations — nothing personal.
So these calls in the middle of the day were probably, for many years, the most we spoke. We never talked about housekeeping. We just called because we wanted to talk to each other.
It’s not that we had a ban on the bigger conversations, but if we had to talk about something related to our son’s school or a problem he was having, that waited until I got home. That wasn’t something we squeezed in in the middle of the day. We’ve been through some challenging times with my mother-in-law, she’s had some physical issues. We talk about that when I walk through the front door of our house. When we talk mid-day, we just catch up. What’s my wife doing? How is her day going?
Although I have less travel now, there used to be many days where I had to go up to New York for business. Those were days my wife and I basically wouldn’t see each other; I wouldn’t be home until well after midnight and I’d be up at 5 the next morning. The calls in the middle of the day kept us connected. That was our only time we could talk just for us. Never having been married before, I thought it was really important to keep open a line of communication. It wasn’t something we “fit in.” We chose to touch base. It was our priority. Even though there was really nothing much to say. We knew that those 20-minute chats helped us stay close, and helped our marriage avoid getting bogged down by the daily stresses of life.