quick love tip: have an affair

I'm having an affair. With my husband. And it's been wonderful.

Day in and day out, we're both either at work or with our twins, with only about two hours (or less on those kids-hate-the-bedtime-routine nights) each night after the twins go to sleep where we are alone. And, we've had very few dates over the last two years (literally, about one or two handfuls). Shit, we haven't even gone to the store together by ourselves in months. 

A few months back, Hus and I decided that we were going to work on finding some alone time together. We started by finding a babysitter and planning one night out a month. Check. Then, we wanted to make it a little more interesting. So lately, Hus and I have been sneaking off together. For about an hour in the middle of the day. Hus will come pick me up from work, and we'll go... to lunch. I know, it's not that exciting. But, it's been really nice. And it feels like an affair. We're by ourselves (the kiddos are at school), we're being sneaky (it's in the middle of the day on a weekday), we don't have a lot of time and are rushing (we're both on our lunch breaks), we're spontaneous about it (one of us will call the other and quickly plan the "date"), and we're having a lot of fun (we actually get to talk about stuff without being interrupted by a toddler or distrupted by extreme fatigue).

Keep things interesting by having an affair... with your partner. Whether you decide to go to lunch or actually meet for a sexual rendezvous, sneaking away from your everyday, routine life with your mate can easily spice things up in your relationship- even if it is just a simple kid-free lunch at Wendy's on your lunch break.

book i love: love that works

In 2008, I went to an academic conference for the Society of the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS). I was presenting a paper about taking a message production approach to studying condom negotiation... yadda yadda yadda... and I met a woman who was promoting her small business. She was charming, smart, and passionate about love, sex, and relationships. She was interesting. We had a few conversations here and there and before I left, I bought some of her products. This woman was Wendy Strgar, the founder of Good Clean Love (a business which offers all natural love products and educational resources). Over the years, I've loved reading her blog and buying more Good Clean Love products.

Wendy recently wrote her first book and when she asked me to review it, I enthusiastically agreed. Love That Works: A Guide to Enduring Intimacy is an insightful, eloquent book about the organic components of sustainable love. Her book is about acceptance, partnership, fulfillment, oh yeah, and sex. Wendy discusses the complexities of relationships, and it is through her discussion of these ups and downs that you realize what true love is. Wendy artfully combines her vast knowledge about love and relationships with stories about other couples and her own experiences with her 25-year marriage.

As I was reading her book, there were many instances where I was intrigued, inspired, and touched by her words. I would find myself writing down snipets in my bedside notebook or highlighting and underlining quotes in her book. For instance, in one chapter, Wendy talks about how it can be hard to love people because "collectively, we are all pretty annoying." She's right. We are all pretty darn annoying! She ends this section with a suggestion: "Let's just go forward admitting how annoying and flawed we all are, so that we aren't surprised when living together becomes challenging. We will all go in knowing that we are choosing to get over it, and in doing so, we'll find these brief yet life-changing moments of holding on to what we all want the most: each other" (p. 37). How can you not LOVE that? As my friend Marti would say, her words are glorious. Her insight about the inner-workings of relationships astounds me. In the end, Wendy's writing is multilayered, absorbing, motivational, and profound. You will love this book.

Want some more information?
  • You can buy her book HERE or read her blog HERE.
  • You can learn more about Wendy Strgar HERE.
  • You can learn more about her company Good Clean Love HERE.

jen's top ten: my 10 favorite relationship blogs

Sometimes academia can get a bit too highbrow and ivory tower for me. And for those of you who know me, this probably makes a lot of sense to you. I often find myself searching and searching and searching through what seems like a million journal articles (I'm a bit of an exaggerator) for practical, easy-to-understand advice about how to maintain or improve relationships. Unfortunately, a lot of relationship research is not as translational as I would like it to be. Don't get me wrong, I love this type of research and it definitely plays an important role in the academic world. But sometimes, I just want some clear advice (preferably backed up by social scientific evidence) without any of the mumbo-jumbo that accompanies academic journal articles. My desire for this straight-forward advice coupled with my belief that research should be disseminated to the masses by qualified individuals is why I created this blog. And, it's also why I regularly read a group of other relationship blogs. Just as I continuously search for academic research to use for Jen's Love Lessons, I also scour the Internet for other well-written, insightful, clever blogs (yep, I just complimented myself) to add to my daily blog-reading list. While many of the blogs I read are not supported by research, they are deeply perceptive and most are also exceptionally entertaining.

Well, I thought that it was time to share my daily reads with you. Below are my TOP TEN relationship blogs. I hope that you love them as much as I do.

Simple Marriage- Created by Dr. Corey Allan, Ph.D., Simple Marriage has 9 columnists (including Corey) who write about keeping things simple to save, maintain, and intensify your marriage. In addition to his blog, Corey also offers online marriage courses, e-books, and "marriage jams," among other products and services. Corey's writing has made a couple of appearances in my wise love words series HERE and HERE.

The Dating Divas- These 11 happily married women write about how to keep your relationship alive and kicking by going on unique dates. And they have a TON of ideas for you! They have dates for just the two of you, four or more people, and all of the theme dates you can think of (and a lot you've never thought of!). They're creative and entertaining.

Good Clean Love's Making Love Sustainable Blog- Wendy Strgar, the Chairwoman and Founder of Good Clean Love (a business which offers all natural love products and educational resources), writes this blog. Let me just say that she's amazing. If you like to read eloquent, vivid, creative writing, then her blog should be part of your life. Wendy is one of the better writers I know (and I'm surrounded by writers). Her intuitiveness about the dynamics of relationships and sex (!) amazes me. In fact, Wendy's writing has appeared in my wise love words series a few times HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Hot Alpha Female- I really like how honest, blunt, and down-to-earth Hot Alpha Female is when writing about her experiences in the dating world. She's entertaining and says a lot of the stuff that you want to say but decide to bite your lip instead.

Le Love- Le Love is "dedicated to love. The good, the bad, and the unknown." I love this blog because all of the posts are submitted by readers, so the topics covered run the gamut. And, the photos used on this blog are gorgeous.

Marriage Gems- Like myself, Lori Lowe, the creator of Marriage Gems, also uses academic research to back up her writing. I enjoy reading Lori's posts and I'm especially excited about a few of her series for 2011 including her Research-Based Love Tips series on Mondays, her Happy Life, Happy Marriage series on Wednesdays, her Keeping the Spark Alive series on Fridays.

Therapy Notes- Creators Esther and Llouana are "just a couple regular gals with a passion for helping others," as explained on their site. These women combine their personal and professional experiences (Llouana is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a National Certified Counselor, while Esther is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist) tow rite about the trails, tribulations, and joys that come with love, marriage, and parenting.

Married Man Sex Life- As he describes himself on his blog, "Athol Kay is an innovative thinker, humorist, and family man with a one track mind." While some of his comments are a teeny bit sexist, his wittiness makes me forget about all that men-and-women-are-from-different-planets-and-therefore-cannot-communicate-with-one-another nonsense. Regardless, he gives some concrete advice and much of it is backed up by psychological and sociological ideas. A good read indeed.

52 Love Stories- This blog is for all of you who love to be in love. Stefanie Ellis, the creator of this blog, posts real love stories of others. Some are funny, some are inspirational, and some are just cute.

But if I had to pick ONE blog that stands out from the rest, it would have to be Project Happily Ever After, written by Alisa Bowman. Clearly, I absolutely LOVE her book, Project Happily Ever After: Saving Your Marriage When the Fairytale Falters. But, I also think that her blog is just fabulous! I can't seem to get enough of her. And, I know that ALL OF YOU will love her too. That's a pretty big statement for me, but I stand behind it.
A few of my favorite posts (I love most of her posts!) by Alisa include:
I also adore the her Group Therapy series. Check out Project Happily Ever After and all of the other blogs mention above; you'll be happy that you did!

If your blog is one of Jen's Top 10, grab this badge (by copying and pasting the code below the badge) for your sidebar, header, or footer!

So, what's YOUR favorite relationship blog?

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