(…with your spouse…)
An affair can be one of the most seductive, deliriously intoxicating, exciting and wildly distracting experiences. Just like your marriage. Right?
Well, what does come to mind when you think of an “affair?”
Furtive glances, aching possibilities, endless conversations, clandestine meetings, impossibly long embraces, and breathless and heated sexual exploration and celebration!
Just like your marriage. Right?
It’s no wonder that the “affair” is a favoured theme for nearly every artistic medium, and perhaps especially for film. The titles for these extramarital affair movies reads like a “who’s who” of cinema classics!
Intermezzo (1939), Dial M. for Murder (1954), Doctor Zhivago (1965), The Graduate (1967), Topaz (1969), Taxi Driver (1976), Same Time Next Year (1978), Manhattan (1979), Fatal Attraction (1987), Moonstruck (1987), Damage (1992), Indecent Proposal (1993), Bridges of Madison County (1995), The English Patient (1996), L.A. Confidential (1997), The Horse Whisperer (1998), The End of the Affair (1999), Eyes Wide Shut (1999), Unfaithful (2002), Love Actually (2003), Beyond Borders (2003), Derailed (2005), Elegy (2008)…
The chance meeting, the pursuit, the coercion and feigned protestations, the tugging at clothes, the sexual consummation… hearts pounding, and secretive and urgent planning for the next rendezvous… as soon as possible! What’s not to like?
Just like your marriage, right?
Mind you, even in these movies, words like “damage, derailed, fatal and of course murder” might get our attention, and suggest caution.
Why do we think of passionate sexual excitement and thrill as being a natural extramarital possibility, and (by suggestion) fairly unrealistic and perhaps unimaginable within the context of marriage?
Do we simply accept that the electricity and eroticism that may have been a part of our marriage, inevitably fades with the routines of life? Many protest that this is part of “growing up,” and for sure, a maturing love must go deeper and wider to create foundations that can support family, the weight of work, the inevitable ups and downs of life, and our learning to grow old.
I suspect however, that as romance fades, the longing (innate, life-giving, etc.) for some excitement and passion remains, and that many are, perhaps secretly, disappointed that this liveliness and enthusiasm is gone, or at least an isolated or accidental occurrence.
We may enjoy some remnants of our romance, and “have sex” of course, (often perfunctory and ritualized), but the sexual tensions, the playfulness, the discovery, the careful kindness, the dreamy seduction and the passionate encounter is rare indeed. Again, the majority, it seems, have accepted this decay as normal and not unreasonable. Oh well.
I am in no way encouraging or romanticizing the “delights” of extramarital affairs. For those who have suffered these infidelities, (a parent, a spouse, a child, a friend), these are usually death-like experiences which cut a swath of pain and misery very wide, and very long.
As a therapist, every week I meet folk in the grief and tragedy of the extramarital story, and can’t help but recall Solomon’s proverb, that “there is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” An affair and the end of an affair is nearly always the end of so many things, for so many people, and for such a very long time.
I am suggesting however, that we consider how easily we can rekindle our own private affair with our spouse. Our hopes and expectations may be far too low. This just may not have occurred to us.
The following suggestions are legal in most states, they require fairly low levels of energy, focus and concentration; they are nearly all very affordable, (most of these indiscretions are free!), and they can be accomplished with very little planning or fuss.
They do require a bit of day-dreaming and scheming, a decision to put some other plans and tasks aside, at least for a bit, and an open-mindedness that some very simple activities together can bring a wonderfully connecting, healing, and rejuvenating fire to any marriage, old or young, fatigued or otherwise.
Think again for a moment what we so often see portrayed in movies. What are the sexiest and seemingly happiest couples doing, apart from sometimes having some pretty satisfying looking sex? Even they take a break for some other sweet things.
And by their very nature, these things are at once, life-giving on multiple levels. They even look nice! Picture the couple…
- enjoying a lingering kiss before they get out of the car, perhaps with a gentle caress.
- stopping for coffee together, a small corner table, a cup of the cafe’s best brew.
- meeting for lunch at an out-of-the-way locale, again, cautious, lest they be discovered.
- a late night walk, even through their own neighbourhood! Hand-in-hand, perhaps stopping in the shadows or behind a tree for a bit of fooling around, a lingering kiss. A fumbling of some clothes.
- a cryptic text message, in the middle of the work-day, coded with intimacies, indiscretions, and longings. “You’re so beautiful,” or “I miss you so much,” or “that was amazing last night… I can’t concentrate!”
- a bit of friendly and perhaps quite indiscreet foot-work under a family dinner table. “Stop it! No! Don’t!”
- one takes the other by the hand, out into a cool and dark garage, only to be embraced, held tight, and kissed. “No! Don’t go… just for another minute!”
- one invites the other into a darkened living room, blinds open, lights off, and begs the other to please stay, even though it’s late …they talk, on and on, in the dark, making promises, sharing secrets, planning new encounters, holding each other…
- they’re at a party, warm and full of friends and noise, good food and wonderful wine, but it is a large house, and they sneak away to look around, and as soon as they’re alone, they consummate their desire with an embrace, quick indiscretions, a kiss, and a promise for later, and then back to the party before they’re missed … more wine?
- one night, the one even dares sneak into the other’s bedroom… “Shh! …I had to come!” Dangerous for sure.
Suggestion: Forward this post to your spouse. Tell them you’ve chosen two of the above ideas which you want to try in the coming week. Tell them you’ll tell them your numbers, as soon as they’ve got theirs in mind. And then look forward to getting this on with them very soon.
Be very careful to keep this to yourselves, and beware of the pleasing heat this generates. Fair warning.
Note: These suggestions are very simple, uncomplicated, do-able. But don’t underestimate how powerful, healing, reconciling and exciting these gestures can be; actions that often take only seconds.
As well, notice how very resistant you may be to doing any of this!
Thankfully, you don’t really need to feel like doing these things. Some of this might seem just ridiculous for your marriage; how long ago we were anything like this! But if you were to initiate a few of these, if you were to insist, I think you will find that your partner would not really mind one bit, and what a fabulous way to spice up a dark and cold autumn evening!
Do be careful. Things can get out of hand…