Going the Extra Mile

by Hallie @ Moxie Wife on April 9, 2012

I was thinking back on my early days as a wife recently and was remembering all the little extra things I used to do to nurture the sexual-love aspect of my marriage. The things I’m thinking of weren’t huge in and of themselves, but I do think they made a huge difference in my marriage.

For instance, even I–a lover of high heels–am not usually up to mothering all day in pumps. Heels make me feel flirty, though, and I do think my husband likes them, so I used to make a point of slipping them on right before he walked in the door after work. It took very little effort on my part but paid significant dividends. It put me in the mood for romance (which after a long day with little ones is super valuable), delighted my husband, and set a playful tone for our evening.

I’m not trying to be overly hard on myself — I still think I’m a pretty good wife, but the truth is that I haven’t been going the extra mile lately. At least not as often as I’d like.

For instance, I still like to make my husband his coffee in the morning, but I don’t often slip high heels on in the evening anymore. I still like to plan stay-at-home date nights during the week, but these days they usually involve the glow of the television, take-out, and pajamas rather than candles, cute clothes, and my husband’s favorite dessert.

And here’s the thing: I’m really not in a survival season. My littlest one is 19 months old and I feel great. I’ve just gotten out of the habit of doing the little extra things that bless my marriage. I intend to fix that, though — with a little help from you lovely ladies!

I’m looking for inspiration. What is one simple way (or two or three) that a wife can go the extra mile for her husband? I’m not looking for complicated, labor-intensive ideas. Just little things we can do for our favorite guys.

I can’t wait to hear your ideas! Thanks, girls! And happy Easter!

{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

Marquis April 9, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Send a text at random times. Put a piece of candy in his lunch.

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Mary/Screllos April 9, 2012 at 12:21 pm

I like to leave my husband notes :)

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Mary/Screllos April 9, 2012 at 12:21 pm

I mean, I like to leave notes for my husband! :) ha

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so many things to love... April 9, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Tuck a piece of lingerie just under his pillow, or the fold of the blanket – wherever he’s likely to see it when he turns the covers down to go to bed.

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Diapeepees April 9, 2012 at 12:28 pm

New cute pajamas. How much nicer they look than sweat pants or raggedy old loose frumpy nightshirts.
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Missy Rose April 9, 2012 at 12:40 pm

I totally agree about doing just a little extra! I light a candle, put on some lip gloss or a little perfume … when I remember.
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Jennifer April 9, 2012 at 12:43 pm

I woke up a few mornings ago to a nice back scratch, not my typical wake up call. It wasn’t a ‘canvass’ for intimacy as it was not on the cards with our busy timetable that day. Later I asked my husband what had decided him to give me a backscratch? ‘Oh I just thought you looked nice in that white pyjama, you don’t usually wear that’. It struck me that it was the equivalent of your high heels-after 6 babies my usual night-time attire is a 15 year old tartan pyjama shorts and whatever baggy t-shirt that comes to hand. Comfort over sexy…my preference over his. So his memory of me before he left each morning has been far from alluring and something he’d love to bring to mind during the day. I’m planning a trip to TKMaxx for some pretty (and hopefully not too uncomfortable) nightwear, I really did like that backscratch, it gave my day a real lift.

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Marcy K. April 9, 2012 at 1:20 pm

I have always sent him “love texts” or “love beeps” when it was a beeper. His friends were jealous. I leave notes around, especially if he is working late and won’t get home until after we are in bed – like a post it note on the bathroom mirror above the toothbrush. If he is going out of town, I will make up an envelope for every day he is gone and slip it into his luggage (poetry, a love note spritzed w/perfume, or I’ll put on lipstick and press the card to my lips to leave an imprint, or a piece of candy.) I always give him spontanteous hugs, caresses or kisses, like in the kitchen or hallway. I try to look a little nicer when he comes home. I may wear cotton nightgowns but always make sure they are pretty. Walmart has some nice ones. And always make sure they are nightgowns, not anything with pants/shorts. We don’t have a lot of money for date nights but we will light candles and have a nice dinner together. The main thing is to make him remember he is loved, cherished, wanted and appreciated. We also never speak harshly to each other or use angry tones or words. That is harmful to a relationship. Can’t wait to read what others say.

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Dwija {House Unseen} April 9, 2012 at 1:39 pm

This is such a timely post for me! I had a list called “homebirth supplies” on the countertop the other day, and hubby saw it and thought it said “homebrew supplies” and for a second was so excited that I had finally taken an interest in that particular hobby of his. When he realized his mistake, we joked about it, but I’ve been thinking about it ever since. How can I show more interest even when the hobbies don’t actually, you know, interest me? Because HE interests me, and that is enough of an incentive….
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Linds April 11, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Watch out, Dwija, I am an at-home brewer’s apprentice due to this exact same reasoning, and it is NOT my favorite “family activity.” But by God I do love that man, and it makes him so happy.

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Andrea April 9, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Arrange for family/friend to take the kids before your husband comes home from work for a “surprise” night off. Even if its just a couple hours…its so needed sometimes!

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Drina April 10, 2012 at 7:52 am

Great idea – I’ll be doing this one!

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Gwenny April 9, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Great post! My husband’s “love languages” are acts of service and words of appreciation, so I know I’ll get his attention when there’s clean sheets on a made bed in a tidied bedroom. He loves it when the bathroom counters are wiped down. Such an easy thing to do! I would like to bring more candles into the bedroom and wear more nightgowns to bed – in fact, I just ordered a nursing nightgown last week.

I tell him all.the.time how much I appreciate the sacrifices he’s making for our family, how proud I am of him, and how happy he makes me. He never ever gets tired of hearing those same things over and over. I am really awed by Marcy saying she and her husband never speak harshly to each other. I def. don’t have that down yet. I’m nine months pregnant and my fuse is a little short, but we always make up very quickly. I’d love to hear others’ ideas!

Oh, one other thing I sometimes do is meet him at the door when he gets home. I have no idea whether or not he likes that, but it makes me happy to do it for him. :)

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Cari April 9, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Two words: Stealth Dressing
Putting the “I mean business” lingerie on under normal clothes (and wearing it during the day) not only reminds me that I’ve got something planned for later on, and so it would be best to keep the house cleaned/not be hunched over the internet when the husband gets home- but also seems to be a happy surprise for him when he sees what I’ve been wearing all day under the “uniform”.

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Lil April 9, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Yes, I find this is a really big help to get me in the mood (which isn’t something for him, of course, but it ends up being nice for him!) If I wait till he gets home, it takes me forever to get in the mood, but if I plan a few hours ahead and give myself that anticipation, and feel pretty when he gets home, I am a lot more willing. Waiting to hear other people’s ideas! This is so difficult for me right now. The other thing I have been thinking about recently is that the only time we cuddle/massage eachother ends up being a prelude to sex, since sex is such a scarce commodity right now. So I have been working on planning times to give him a good, relaxing massage without there being any pressure for it to “go somewhere,” since he is so tired when he gets home from work. I am getting the feeling that he is getting a little starved for physical affection since there is nothing going on besides sex. Other suggestions along that line?

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becca April 9, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Cari, I do this too! It makes such a difference in my attitude all day, that secret reminder to myself that my evening intentions don’t involve diapers or dishes! And it always makes my husband smile, even if the evening gets derailed (which happens sometimes with 6 kids who don’t know know or care about what I have on under my jeans.)

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Cari April 9, 2012 at 4:38 pm

I think that it helps with expectations, too. If I go out of my way to light candles and obviously send out a sex vibe, he and I both feel unhappy when he comes home after a stressful day with physical intimacy the last thing on his mind. With stealth dressing, he’s not overwhelmed with perceived expectations the moment he gets home, and I can save face by not feeling that I’ve been rebuffed. The moment of the “reveal” can be altered to the situation, or scrapped altogether if necessary, without anyone feeling hurt.
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Ashlie Dill April 10, 2012 at 8:39 am

Cari, I really love the “Stealth Dressing.” when my husband and I first got married, I (unfortunately) carried the cultural assumption that if I’m wearing pretty lingerie, he will want to make love – no questions asked. But he often felt pressured and overwhelmed by the “perceived expectations” and then I felt rebuffed, hurt and rejected. It built up resentment between us in our sex life, and I think your stealth dressing is a really great solution to that problem! Thank you for sharing your wisdom! May God bless you and your husband.
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Marcy K. April 9, 2012 at 4:59 pm

I sort of do the opposite. I usually wear jeans or crop pants, but if it seems to be a possibility for an evening of togetherness then I’ll take a quick shower and put on a casual dress or skirt but no undergarments, then drop a hint. This achieves the same stelthy effect for the both of us.

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Laura April 9, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Ladies thanks for these! We just welcomed baby #2 (and the other is under 2), so though we’re “on hold” for a few more weeks, I’ll certainly welcome these suggestions in a couple more weeks.

I do have a question though: my husband, being the sweetheart that he is, recently ordered for me a VERY risque piece of lingerie. He said that he didn’t want me thinking I was “fat” after having the baby and wanted me to feel special and beautiful the first night we came back together. Very sweet, right? The only problem is–well, it’s REALLY sexy, almost Maxim-y, and not really my style. He asked me if I liked it and I lied through my teeth….I’m still not really sure about it though. It, frankly, doesn’t make me feel beautiful–instead, I feel more like a Playboy bunny. So I guess the question is: when it comes to nightwear, do you go with his style or yours? And in this instance, where the intention was to make ME feel beautiful, should I have told him the truth–or should I just bite the proverbial bullet?

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Marcy K. April 9, 2012 at 4:49 pm

My suggestion is that you wear it and tell him how you feel about it at another time. It will please him and you will probably be only wearing it for a short time anyway ;) LOL.

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Laura April 9, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Haha, thanks Marcy!

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nicole April 9, 2012 at 5:54 pm

I think if you are uncomfortable in it then he is going to pick up on that. So, if it was me, I would probably tell him how I felt. Maybe you could find something more your style and show him. My husband and I both think we would end up laughing a lot if we tried sexy lingerie, but maybe that would be a good thing! You should be able to be honest about how you feel though.
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Cari April 9, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Laura, I know that if I wore/did something in the context of the marriage bed that made me feel uncomfortable, even if it was done for the best of intentions, I would end up feeling resentful. I would be giving of myself, but not freely.
Also, if my husband were to then to learn about my discomfort, he would feel terrible for enjoying himself while I was pretending to.
How would you feel about asking him about the outfit? Ask him what drew him to it? What about it made him think of you? Let him know about your feelings of vulnerability and reservation, and listen to what he says in response. If he says that he loves your legs, and he thought that the outfit would really flatter them, believe him. Men are more visually dependent than women- he’s not going to lie about your best features. Offer to model it for him so he can point out what he’s talking about.
Let him know that your response has nothing to do with the love behind the gift, and everything to do with your comfort levels.

We’re called to please our husbands like Marcy points out. However, we’re not called to degrade ourselves in that pursuit. If you’re honestly feeling that you need some time before taking a leap into “advanced lingerie”, then pretending any different for your husband would be a lie.

Good luck!
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so many things to love... April 9, 2012 at 6:43 pm

I think that you have an excellent explanation right there for him! He’s told you that his reason for buying it was to ‘make you feel beautiful’, which means that saying something along the lines of “I wanted to let you know how beautiful I felt just knowing that you wanted to see me in something like this, and although it isn’t quite my style, it reminded me of your favourite colour/that something I used to wear when we were first married/etc. and I thought maybe you’d appreciate *this* just as much!” and produce a garment that has some similarities in cut, colour or something, but is along your taste instead. And, as corny as it may sound, I really have found that keying in to the important words in what he’s said and parroting them back (in this case, the fact that he wanted you to not feel fat but feel beautiful) really helps the situation.
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Becca April 9, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Something similar happened with us after my third baby was born. I couldn’t bear wearing the nighty because I felt like the lack of support in it left my lactating breasts looking like cow udders, but my poor husband had obviously tried so hard to think of a way to make me feel pretty… I was honest with him, and the nightie has now been in my drawer (unused) for years….But recently I tried it on for the heck of it, and I was shocked by how much I like it now that I am not nursing. So….it took 9 years, but I’m finally in a position to appreciate his thoughtful gift!

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Martha April 9, 2012 at 7:58 pm

I think this is a great chance for you and your husband to talk about your intimate life! I agree with the others that say to ask him why he chose the outfit – maybe the “Maxim” vibe was what he was going for, or maybe he has a particular interest he’s been holding back?
You definitely shouldn’t do anything that makes you uncomfortable – your husband wants you to feel beautiful, and that’s not going to happen if you don’t feel comfortable. I’m sure there are sexy outfits that make you feel beautiful, and will still get his motor going!

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graceling April 9, 2012 at 11:47 pm

My sweet husband did the same thing after baby #3! I told him that I loved that HE loved my curvier figure, but I wasn’t quite as comfortable yet (and didn’t want to have a messy breastmilk situation on our hands;), so could we save his choice for when I feel more comfortable, or could we chose something together?

I know he wanted me to feel beautiful, not self-conscious, and we enjoyed choosing something together. When I wore it, I felt about as good as I think I could have, and he loved knowing we chose it.
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Holly April 11, 2012 at 12:09 pm

I would save it for a better time. I’m sorry, but no matter what he WANTS I’m not going to feel beautiful in a risque piece of lingerie after just having a baby. Save it for when you feel more confident and you can both get the most enjoyment out of it. In the meantime, I think wearing a chipper attitude and trying to please him sans flirty lingerie will make him very happy. If you’re honest about it, it will give him something to look forward to.

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Kristina Chatfield April 9, 2012 at 3:49 pm

My comment is similar to Gwenny’s – making my husband feel loved is all about listening to the little things he says and trying to do the things that HE thinks are important around the house and with the kids. Any time I make an effort to do something for him, especially if he’s just made an off-hand reference to it, let’s him know that I am attentive and listening to his needs. I also try and look nice when he comes home – but I also have older kids, so it’s not as difficult (my youngest is 7). When they were little, I was often covered in food sludge and baby spit-up by the end of the day. An unavoidable mommy hazard, I think!

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Colleen April 9, 2012 at 5:28 pm

This is going to sound so lame, but almost nothing turns my husband on more than when I go to Confession. He always grabs me and gives me a “clean soul kiss”. I just think it’s so sweet that his top priority is on getting the kids and I to Heaven, and is so pleased when I initiate family prayer time, or Adoration, or whatever.
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Erica April 9, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Excuse me, lame? Um, try awesome out the wazoo, sister! I’d be at Confession five times a day if it had that effect, sheesh! Your husband rocks! :D

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elisa April 9, 2012 at 9:55 pm

AWWW!! I love that!
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Amanda April 9, 2012 at 5:56 pm

go to bed naked!

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Joy April 9, 2012 at 8:43 pm

Same here! Asking about his day and not complaining about mine is another biggie.
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Katie@NFP and Me April 9, 2012 at 6:04 pm

I leave my husband notes. He gets up hours before me so when he goes to sleep I put post-its on the mirror , on his steering wheel, etc etc with sweet things written on them so that he wakes up to them. :) Minimal effort on my part but he really appreciates it. :)
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Sarah April 9, 2012 at 6:31 pm

So, I was trying to think of what I could share. And….all I could come up with is, once a week I shave my legs. That’s all. I obviously am in desperate need of this post.
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Erika Ahern April 9, 2012 at 7:10 pm

Haha! I love this, Sarah. I’m right there with you. Thanks, Betty, for the post! In days of yore I would light candles in the bedroom, or drop him a hint early in the morning even before work. I also try to make an easy clean-up dinner so that we’re not both exhausted with cleaning the kitchen after the kids’ bedtime. Little things to save energy for some joy!
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Rosita April 9, 2012 at 8:19 pm

I write him cards and mail them to him at work. I only do it a few times a year, but he loves it and is always so surprised and touched.

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Pam April 9, 2012 at 8:51 pm

My husband was never into the lingerie, candles or notes thing. He likes for me to just be with him as he works on his cars or tractor and hand him tools and such.

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elisa April 9, 2012 at 9:54 pm

If I had cute heels like those, I’d wear them all the time! Well, my husband is far away, in Afghanistan, but I still try to let him know I love him by speaking his love language, even though it is “physical touch”. I just tell him: “If you were here right now, I’d hug you and squeeze you and give you a great massage with our favorite massage oil.
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graceling April 9, 2012 at 11:53 pm

I invite my hubby to shower or bathe with me before bed. Normally, that is my only “alone” time during the day (unless the stars align and I happen to get to use the washroom by myself), so even if it doesn’t lead to “something more” (and it usually doesn’t), he understands how important he is because I am giving him my precious quiet moments. It’s such a wonderful way to reconnect, and we both end up relaxed.
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bearing April 10, 2012 at 7:20 am

In the season where there are little ones who need to be soothed into sleep, sometimes by me and sometimes by him, and sometimes it takes a while, I find it helpful to practice this phrase:

“If I’m asleep when you get to bed, wake me up.”

And I never assume that if he’s asleep when *I* finally get to bed, that he wouldn’t like to be awakened. I am usually right.
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Lynsey April 10, 2012 at 9:11 am

My husband always tells me to wake him up. I just feel so bad since I know how tired he is at the end of the day. But, if you are right about that, and he’s TOLD me…maybe I should wake him.
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bearing April 12, 2012 at 8:16 am

Yeah, I’d say so!
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Kelly Mantoan April 10, 2012 at 9:54 am

Walking into a room and surprising him with a smack on the butt. Helps me release pent up frustrations and gives him a little thrill. I just can’t let the kids see or they think Papa’s getting punished.

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Kirsten April 10, 2012 at 10:03 am

It’s funny you ask this now, as we are just coming out of the survival fog of a newborn around here (okay, she’s 8 months old, but it’s been a harrowing 8 months). There are lots of things I try to do to nurture our relationship, and I try to use all of the love languages as I do so. We spend time together as much as possible, even if it is just watching our favorite TV shows together, or sitting next to each other on the couch while we both read. I find that doing the extra things around the house, like having fresh sheets and the clean laundry either put away or stowed out of sight, makes a difference in how I feel. Also, he notices that I’ve made an effort, and that seems to build on itself. So lately I’ve started enlisting our older girls, and we do a quick-hit straightening before Daddy gets home. Actually, since service is my love language, I do a lot of things in that area. But my purpose is to focus on how much I appreciate the hard work he does for us (and for me, I need to be reminded that it’s a luxury to get to stay home and home school our children).

We love family time, but we get a LOT of it, so we actually try to remember that we are a team as a couple, too. We’re the ones who will be together when these “little punks” grow up and leave us. So in a very joking and light-hearted way, we have an us-against-them set of inside jokes. It helps me remember that I’m not alone in this endeavor, even when he’s at work, as we can text about the frustrations and the silliness. That teamwork idea keeps me from feeling resentful of the fact that he gets to go talk to adults and be intellectually stimulated (and I imagine that it keeps him from feeling resentful of the fact that I get to sleep in and be with our children all day, whom he misses while working).

His love language is physical touch, so I try to make sure that I’m not pulling away from his unexpected touches or gropes when I’m busy or doing something. I also try to initiate similar gropes. ;) I try to surprise him by turning a quick kiss that he gives me into something longer. I make sure that we’re touching as much as possible, holding hands on the couch or a quick touch as I walk past him.

But honestly, most of those things are for me. They help me stay focused on nurturing our intimacy. Because really? The thing that nurtures our sexual-love relationship for HIM? It’s the Nike theme. Plain and simple, with the emphasis on the IT. So as unromantic as it sounds, we schedule it, and I show up in bed with the pillow barriers removed. The intimacy (kind of like the house cleaning, oddly) builds on itself. We remember how much fun we have together, and we look forward to the next scheduled event. Along the way, we appreciate each other more, even if I haven’t shaved my legs and cleaned the sheets.

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Mamabearjd April 10, 2012 at 1:57 pm

There are great suggestions here, I think the key is to stay on your toes and remember that your spouse likely spends hours each day around women who have showered and put their best foot forward. Those special things you find attractive in your husband – they likely see those things too. I am surprised at how many women will flirt with married men. There are women who dont care that your guy is married with kids. We have to stay vigilant. Our guys should never doubt that they have it better at home. Keep the bed clean! Seriously! I wear cute underwear every day, why not? Cute pajamas, yes please! I also send bawdy texts, but they are usually funny instead of sexy, but still it puts things on his mind. I also do a smell check and change my shirt before he gets home. I love it when he says “you smell good.”
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Siobhan Scullion April 10, 2012 at 4:18 pm

I have really enjoyed reading all your comments and suggestions ladies! I actually asked my husband what things I could do to go the extra mile for him. His reply? “If you take care of our baby and clean our house, that’s all I will ask because that’s hard enough work.” It was so sincere and sweet and selfless, that I would gladly go 500 extra miles for him!

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Corinna Dooley April 11, 2012 at 5:06 am

Prepare your Love’s toothbrush amd leave it out for them. This is may be an over simplified suggestion, but it’s something my parents have done for years for one another and something my husband and I used to do. Almost a year ago we moved overseas and something in the process of changing homes and being apart for 3 months in the process halted this tradition. The other night I walked into the bathroom to see my toothbrush ready to go and I was so excited. It really is the little things!

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bobbi April 12, 2012 at 12:44 am

I loved reading all your suggestions! My hubby is not into candles or fancy lingerie – he said it’spointless since I’d only be wearing it for a few minutes. Lol. What works best for him is on the days leading up to our “green light” days I’ll flirt with him, give him playful kisses or touches (when the kids aren’t looking) and let him know I desire him. This gets us both in the mood and eager for when we can be together. On the days when we can be intimate I take short cuts and trim my schedule to make sure I’m not too tired at night. I also take a reshreshing shower to de-stress myself and use his favorite body wash and lotion. He knows right away when he smells that fragrance that he has me all to himself that night. (Although I admit there have been nights when I was stuck taking care of a baby while he went to bed. He’s asked me to wake him up when I come to bed and I hate waking him but he’s always happy when I do.)
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Jennifer @ Raindrops On My Head April 13, 2012 at 10:17 am

I love about NFP that there’s the anticipation of the ‘green-light’ days and from the wife’s point of view, ample time to make sure she looks and feels her best. A little music in the ‘boudoir’ can work wonders. There’s an app in my iphone which I can get any radio station, I’d link it here but I don’t want to look like spam lol! Anyway there’s this station which you can choose from lots of genres of music and they have NO ads!! Just a little background ambience, helps ME relax and get in the mood so it’s a win/win!
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