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 Brian, 49, who lives in Delaware, the invention of the cell phone, and subsequently, texting, brought he and his wife’s flirting into a whole new territory.
My wife and I have been together for 30 years. That means we were together before there were cell phones. When we first got them, every once in a while, we could reach out and talk. My wife was staying at home, taking care of the kids, and the more I talked to her, the more I realized she was just bored during the day. My coworkers and I exchanged text messages all the time. So, I thought, why don’t I just send my wife a text?
I started sending her little things I found on the internet: memes, pictures — things like that. They made her happy. So I forwarded those to her regularly. Occasionally that led to us, depending on the mood we were in — if we had a date night coming or something like that — to start talking about what we were going to do that night. She got horrible about sending me pictures about what she would wear. That just devastated my workday, in a good way.
It created this anticipation. It made work more enjoyable, and it always told me that it made her days go better. So I think the combination of those two things, for us, made it fun for both of us.
When we first got together, there was no way for us to flirt like this. It’s fun. We were courting for six years before we got married. Every once in a while, I’d send a love letter, or a card, or something like that. But it was nothing on the level of what we have now. If I see something and it reminds me of her, I can just forward it to her. For the first time, we got to communicate instantly; communicate what we were feeling at that exact moment. It also got her to start doing it, to the point that sometimes I was in the middle of meetings, looking for fun things to send to get the conversation started.
My wife definitely has fun with it. I’m into high-heels. In the middle of a meeting, I’ll get a picture of my favorite heels of hers. Looking around, I’m just thinking, Nobody has any idea that my wife is toying with me like this in the middle of this meeting. It makes it super fun.
There’s never any hesitation to send something naughty. That hesitation is just not there. I know when you’re first dating as a young person, the texting stuff can be really nerve-wracking. But my wife and I have been together for three decades. I can send anything to her and the response is, I get something fun back.
If you don’t think there’s something awesome about getting that picture of your wife, then you’ve lost your mind. There is still something flirty and sexy about that.
I still do it today. I learned how to text from my son. When he had girlfriends, they had the weirdest conversations on text. That’s when I discovered memes, photos, and emojis and all that fun stuff. So my wife and I would text secretly from time to time when everyone was around. My kids would always say: “Dad, what are you doing?” I’d say “None of your business. I’m talking to somebody from work.” Meanwhile, my wife is across the room and we were talking about hitting the hot tub after the kids went to bed. That was always a trip for us. We’d never get to pull the wool over our kid’s eyes! To be able to do that right in front of them is pretty funny.
We’re going to get old together. We just don’t have any limits. We want to use any method of communication to keep our relationship going. If there’s something new and something adventurous — and if we’re both getting a kick out of it — why not?
Text messaging definitely brought us a lot closer. There is nothing that makes the day go by faster than when my wife sends me a note telling me that tonight is going to be fun. She constantly keeps me interested. There’s so much anticipation and build up and it makes what happening feel as though it’s at the end of a rainbow. It’s just that much more intimate and exciting.
My wife recently reminded me of what we did in a car once at a park by sending me a picture of the park. She asked: “Remember that night?” In every possible way, I remembered that night. It definitely puts our relationship on a whole different plane when there is physically muscle memory attached to that. I was just like, there. For the rest of the day, I was there.