02/05/2014 02:03 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Why You Should Treat Your Husband Like Your Boyfriend

Are you going through the motions in your marriage or committed relationship? Are you like roommates who occasionally have sex? Do you miss when you were first together, all the lovey-dovey moments and the passion? That feeling of boyfriend and girlfriend, where your face lights up when they come in the room because of the way they look at you?

I realized I wanted that boyfriend-ness back while writing my romance novel. There's nothing like falling in love. Since we really don't want to have to find new interests every year, we have to reinvent our own relationships. I don't want the kind of marriage where they've been together for 25 years and sleep in different rooms. I want to be married to my boyfriend for 50+ years.

Is that practical? Hell yeah. It's all in the energy you create in your relationship. It's not just about the sex either, because most of us are very busy with careers and kids and bedroom time is only a fraction of our lives. I'm all for hot sex, which is obvious, because I've just had my fifth child. My husband is getting fixed now, 'cause we're too good... Fertile Myrtle and Super Sperm over here! He works a lot and sometimes I'm asleep by the time he gets home, but we make it a priority to squeeze in time together when we can. We've figured out it's quality over quantity and humor is a love potion. Texting has become a godsend in our relationship. We send each other pictures. If it's not PG, you must make sure you text the right person. Giggling... but hey, we're adults. When he texts me, "Thinking of you," it makes my day.

We've been married for 17 years. In the beginning, I was a pain in the ass. I nitpicked and wasn't flexible. I was also 19. In my twenties, my husband worked even more than now. I was stressed with kids and he was stressed about work and money. When he was home he wasn't really present. I would bitch and complain about the kids. We were disconnected. We've learned over the years not to ask, "How was your day?" and spend all this time going back into the negative space of what so-and-so did at work, or which one of our kids hit the other. Our youngest son can have a trucker mouth and truth be told, I really don't care about what dramas go on at his work. We give each other the good parts of the day and what's actually important to us. Now we say, "What do you want to talk about?"

We've recreated our relationship, enhanced it, and made it even richer and more fulfilling. It's all about our intention and focus. I look back and see that I wasn't happy and looked to blame him sometimes. I looked for his shortcomings because I was focused on mine. When I worked on myself, my relationship got so much better. The old school, obey-your-husband, head-of-the-household stuff doesn't work for me. We're equals here. I work on our relationship for me. It's great for my kids to see loving parents, but it isn't even about doing the right thing here, because I don't buy into being the "good" girl, nice person thing. I want to feel good. Life is too short not to.

Instead of whining about him not wining and dining you, or it's not all champagne and roses, you can think about romance differently and DO something about it. I don't need expensive jewelry for Valentine's Day. I'd never reject bling, but just give me a $20 bottle of wine and chocolate... lots. I love funny cards as much as sentimental ones. I think real love is him cleaning the bathroom or surprising me with a bagel or scone in the morning. I'm easy to please, just feed me! Maybe yours is him taking you to a chick-flick, doing yard work, taking care of dinner by ordering out or doing math homework with the kids. (Algebra is like Japanese to me.) Get the ball rolling by kindly asking for what you want. I prefer an expensive restaurant a few times a year over a chain restaurant once a month, but I schedule our dates and don't wait for him to. I tell him how much I appreciate things he does for me. Gratitude makes both parties feel good.

I believe in nurturing our relationship. I think of my marriage as a piggy bank; the more I put into it, the more I get out of it. I don't keep score about love. I own my shit. I don't make him responsible for my happiness. If I need something from him, I tell him. I'm honest about where I am coming from. I treat him like my best friend. We don't need to be with each other all the time or watch the same TV shows. He wouldn't watch "Real Housewives" if I paid him with sex, beer AND money. We do agree on Anthony Bourdain's show, "House Hunters International," stand-up comedy, science shows and "Friends" reruns. We sit with each other and cuddle. We make it a must to hug every day. We don't believe in having a perfect life, but rather perfect moments. We're not a sitcom. Our kids fight like cats and dogs. We have clutter. I cannot imagine my life without him in our home with dust, over-stuffed closets, too many junk drawers and lots of yelling. We do lots of silliness here to counterbalance the yelling. No one holds back their feelings here.

My tips: Text him both sexy and sweet messages. Own your beauty. There is nothing sexier than a happy, confident woman who can ask for what she wants in the bedroom. Make sex fun for you. Work on yourself. Be his girlfriend. Create your own magic, your love potion is you. Say "I love you," often.