By Serge Bielanko for YourTango
If you're a married guy, chances are, you're a slacker. It may sound cruel and unusual, but it's also true. Married men, more often than not, are very lazy men -- and I'm not talking about mowing the lawn or getting the damn oil changed either.
I'm talking about romance, chivalry and love.
I've been there, guys. I was married (keyword: WAS) for almost a decade, and in that time, I went from being a fairly romantic grown man who was quite adept at proving to my wife that I gave a damn about her, to another fool in a long line of fools. I got WAY too comfortable with the idea that once the marriage was all locked in (once we had said our 'I do's' and settled into our roles as domestic partners in bill-paying and kid-making) there was no need for me to go out of my way to express my love much anymore.
Turning your back on true gentleman behavior isn't listed on the divorce documents as an official source of the whole thing breaking down, but I guarantee you it ought to be. It's the little things that matter, and in this case, years of little things can seriously make a woman who once stared at you with a sparkle in her eyes become revolted when you walk into the living room.
So here's a little refresher, guys, on the gestures you probably stopped bothering to do long ago -- things you were good at once upon a time.
1. You stop holding her hand.
Holding hands is something that married couples should be forced to do by law. I'm not kidding. After we'd been married a while, the woman I loved used to actually REMIND me that I had stopped holding her hand. She told me this many times over the course of many years. And yet, something inside of me failed to act. I have no idea why.
Today? I would take her soft, perfectly lotioned hand with the force of a thousand burning suns if I could. But I can't. Taking a woman's hand affords her the feeling that you honestly care about her and that you are proud to be there with her. Period.
2. You stop walking by her side.
I used to walk so fast that I'd end up half a city block ahead of my wife. So shameful and dumb. Guys, whatever you do, don't walk ahead of your lady, or drift back behind her; it's a tiny, silent 'EFF YOU!' to the person you're strolling with. Especially if that person is your wife.
3. You stop opening doors for her.
There were brief snatches of my married existence when I was aware (and mindful enough) to hold open doors for my wife. I know she appreciated it. But somewhere along the line I started making the gesture just for a pat on my fat, drooling puppy head when I should've been holding doors because it's the right thing to do. There's a real genuine satisfaction and sense of pride that comes with being kind and chivalrous to a woman who you love.
Being nice to a lady is a two-way street, you know? Oh, wait, you don't know. You used to know, but you drank so many cans of Sunday-afternoon-NFL-time beer that your brain has shriveled up and you plumb forgot. So I'm here to remind you: open the d*mn door.
4. You don't take her away.
Here in America (where men and women are, for the most part, considered equals in every way), I didn't really "get" the whole concept that my wife would expect me -- the HUSBAND -- to plan romantic getaways and vacations. But she did. Oh, she did.
The reality is I never took my lady on a surprise weekend getaway to Paris or even a trip to the Indian Casinos an hour away (champagne glass hot tubs, ya'll!), and that was something that really bothered her. And now that we're separate, I get it. Put yourself in a woman's shoes, lads.
Women want to believe you're thinking about them even when you're not shoving another slice of pizza down your jaw next to her on the couch. They want be swept off their feet every once in a while by the fact that you planned a trip, just the two of you, to a place (any place really) where a married couple can walk around/drink some wine/hold hands/open doors for each other and maybe kiss up against the elevator door like strangers in the night.
So go on, what are you waiting for?
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