They say "Happy wife, happy life," but I'm happiest when my husband is happy.
My husband and I probably have a more traditional marriage than most millennials. If I'm there when my husband gets home from work, I love to make him his favorite cocktail (it's kind of Mad Men, but it works for us). Sunday is my night to cook dinner. But one of the most important things I do to make him happy is to be the woman of both his fantasies and reality.
When we were married a few weeks ago in front of our families, friends and a Rabbi, I vowed to stay hot for my husband.
Before you label me anti-feminist or old-fashioned, please understand that when I look good I feel more confident in myself. Feeling good ultimately allows me to be a better, happier and more considerate partner.
I see the look on my husband's face when I come out of the bathroom, ready for a night out, or the way he checks out my butt on the way to Pilates class. Having an attractive wife makes him happy. They say "Happy wife, happy life," but I'm happiest when my husband is happy.
According to April Masini, a New York-based relationship and etiquette expert and author, it's incredibly important for women to maintain their looks. She says, "There's no question about it: men are visual — at all ages — and they want you to look attractive, and they want their friends to be jealous."
If men can't help but be visual creatures, I need to oblige. And while I'm not sure if his friends are jealous so to say, they do acknowledge he has a hot wife.
While I'm aware you can't deny the inevitable process of aging, both Masini and I agree that being young and being attractive aren't mutually exclusive.
"You can find beauty in convention or you can find beauty in creation. People age and the way they look in a bikini changes. But the way they conduct themselves, carry themselves and comport themselves can create a sizzle hotter than a thong," she says. It's all about working with what you have.
Some of the most attractive women in Hollywood aren't in their 20s. Take Julianne Moore, for example. She's 55 and one of the prettiest women on the planet. I actually think she looks better as she ages. Helen Mirren is 70 years old and still pretty hot.
If you've watched Grace and Frankie, you've seen how great Jane Fonda looks. The woman is nearly 80 years old! And it's not just actresses. Gloria Steinem, of all women, is also 80 and in better shape than many women a quarter of her age.
I've always wondered why so many women let themselves go in relationships. When I was single, I spent so much time and energy trying to look pretty. While it's now nice to know I can go to the supermarket and gym without makeup, when I accompany my husband somewhere, it's a different story.
I know that when you get married — and especially when you have kids — your priorities change and you only have so much time for yourself. Plus, not every woman looks like Kim Kardashian when she gets out of bed in the morning (myself included), but we can all try to look our best.
It's not even about having a face full of makeup, frizzless hair, or meeting society's standards — it's about meeting your own. Masini sees looking good and feeling good as a cycle: "You become what you are (and you are what you become), so the more you work at looking hot, the hotter you'll feel."
Frankly, even if you don't have a partner, we all feel better when we look good. Making ourselves look better on the outside can affect how we feel on the inside.
The decline of your physical appearance can also reflect your relationship. You stop caring. According to Masini, "You let yourself go, it's not just about what you look like on the outside — you've let the sizzle fizzle and the spark cool."
Everyone knows what they need to do to make their partner happy. If you're attentive to your partner's wants and needs, then they will be attentive to yours. Everyone has 24 hours a day, and while I personally can't vacuum and apply eyeliner at the same time, my husband understands why a $400 iRobot Roomba does more than just vacuum.
It's impossible to meet every single one of your partner's needs all of the time, but if you stop trying then you aren't holding up your end of the relationship. And all of that starts to trickle down to the one thing every relationship needs, which is sex.
While sex can't make a marriage, it can break it. Having that physical, intimate connection is very important. Sex should be mutually enjoyable for both parties. You should want to have sex with your partner. And if my husband wasn't turned on by me, we couldn't have that essential intimacy.
So while my vow to stay hot seems superficial, it really isn't.
All relationships require work, and working on myself is doing the work I need to do for the sake of my relationship. Even if I'm running 15 minutes behind on date night because my hair isn't straightening, my husband can't complain if he's swooning over me.
Note from author 5/17/2016:
Whether or not you agree with me, my essay was my opinion and my thoughts. Everyone is entitled to their feelings whether or not they are right, wrong, politically correct, politically incorrect, the result of patriarchal society or not. The truth is that people are never going to stop doing things they believe will make them look and feel better. I don’t think people will ever stop trying to do things to make their partners happy either. I do what works for me. And just because it’s not how you choose to live your life, doesn’t mean it’s wrong. We all need to do what makes us happy with ourselves. For some of us, it’s self-care (and all the things that fall under that umbrella), or never letting the laundry pile up, or reading a book every month, or making time to garden.