Huffpost Style

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Janet Blair Page Headshot

Don't Withdraw the Lure

Posted: Updated:

Here's the good news: You already know what your spouse likes. The simple truth is that what lured him or her into your marriage is your most effective tool in your tool kit of how to keep a happy spouse or partner. Use it! First of all, it has been established as tasty and desirable. Second, withdrawing a lure breaks an implicit promise you made about the quality of life with you. Thirdly, it keeps your love hooked.

Use the bait that your love found so tasty when he or she chose you and provide more of it, not less, during your time together. Your spouse, when confronted with the bad press on marriage, should look like the cat that got the cream and feel lucky for choosing you. And you are going to keep right on making that luck grow!

Here are some of the common types of bait with ideas on how to keep them fresh:

Sex - If it was great sex that reeled in your love, get more creative, not less. Be innovative about ways, methods and choreography, take initiative and fill in with "dirty" language or telling them they are sexy and desirable at unexpected times.

Affirmation - If your mate needs words of praise (and don't we all), then do become expressive and complementary. Use every possible medium -- cards, post-it notes, singing, saying, whispering, letters, emails, texts, telegrams and memos. Don't hold back -- too much is not too much.

Helpfulness - Does your mate want your help? Do your vacuuming, errand running, cooking or garden maintenance please your partner? Then make "what can I do for you" or "how can I help" become your new motto. Also, be perceptive. See and intuit what she or he needs (not what you want them to need). Then do it -- big points -- really big points.

Quality time - Does just being to be around you give pleasure? Then don't be stingy with yourself and your time. Make room for their company while doing ordinary chores or relaxing and schedule together time regularly. Create generous amounts of quality time alone together, with friends, traveling, and working out or watching or playing sports.

Gift giving - Is your love someone who feels better when receiving gifts? Do tokens of your affection seem to help prove you care? Then become a shopper or get help to figure out the best gifts. (And I do mean gifts. Gifts are what is wanted. Presents are what you want to give.) Your tributes don't have to be big. In fact, small, well-chosen gifts given with great frequency trump bigger bucks spent once or twice a year.

Beauty - If your looks were the bait, then amp them up. Now isn't the time for a radical appearance change. A marriage license is not a license to loaf. Snagging a partner is the time to get sloppy. If appearance matters and you no longer make an effort, your mate will feel tricked.

Women are visual, too. Picture a guy lying on a couch in old boxers with a large belly hanging out and a few days' of stubble. dirty hair, watching TV at a high volume and stuffing junk food in his face. Til death do we part shouldn't be made this difficult. Make your mate proud while you're out and try not to lose too much ground when you're in.