Drink, defriend him on Facebook and other quirky ways to make marriage work.
Annabelle: Screw Date Night! A therapist once told us to take one night a week and go out together. However, these last few years, like for many people out there, have been financially challenging for us. We're parents and if we spring for a babysitter, then we can't afford to go out to dinner. So instead of going out, we kiss our son goodnight, we close the door to our bedroom, and watch our favorite TV series in bed. Sure, we're not sharing a five star meal, but our snacks have fewer calories than restaurant fare. On top of that, you never need dinner reservations or have to look for a parking space in bed.
Jeff: Skip couples therapy. The therapist said this, they said that, and that’ll be 150 bucks, thank you. You know what, save your money, go to Paris. If Paris is too much, try someplace closer to home. For us, that's Santa Barbara wine country. For New Yorkers, perhaps that's the Poconos or even Lancaster, PA. If you're going to bicker about your marriage you might as well do it in front of the Eiffel Tower, a scenic winery or a couple of distracted Amish people churning butter and not in some airless, windowless couple therapist's office.
Annabelle: Being friends with your spouse may not be a good idea. By that, I mean Facebook friends. I would never think of listening in on Jeff's calls or peaking in a handwritten journal but reading his Facebook page seemed acceptable until I stumbled into the middle of Jeff's exchanges with old girlfriends. Like the one where Kimm writes, "I miss you, you little nitwit!" I'm the only one who's allowed to call him a nitwit! And did I really want to read all his flirty updates like, "Jeff is lust in the wind"? After some heated debate, I realized that a little flirting is actually healthy and besides, I'm much happier not knowing exactly how much time he's spending on his status updates so I "unfriended him" and we've been better spouses since then.
Jeff: Share your marital stories. You may not be inclined to take two and half years and write a book about it like we did but by sharing the story of your marriage with your married friends you will find that they have many of same issues as you do, just like we had with Facebook. Who knows, maybe your spouse will learn something useful like how after Annabelle found out how much it bothered me that she never did diddlysquat on Father's Day for me. So, this year, she really stepped it up; made me a cappuccino and gave me a foot massage. Now, if I can only get her to remember my birthday.
Annabelle Gurwitch and Jeff Kahn live in Los Angeles with their twelve-year-old son, Ezra, and their cat, Stinky. Their book, You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up: A Love Story, is out now.
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