Most women have rings on their fingers and say they are married, but sadly it is only on paper. They have lost their man to his career, his boys, his beer or even to another woman.
We had a chat with two women who had lost their men but managed to get them back and they shared with us some of their secrets.
1 Don’t judge your man
“Most women need to go for anger management courses,” says 36-year-old Tracy*. “The first thing most women do when their man comes home drunk is to ignore him completely. The next day they start a cold war. That was the reception I used to give Jere*, my husband of six years.
“One day, he went out to drink and didn’t come home. I couldn’t sleep that night, angry but worried about what might have happened. I tried calling him but his phones were off.
“He came home the next day at around 10am and went straight to bed. I was seething with anger when I saw him alive and well. I couldn’t take it any more so I called my mum and told her what was going on. She told me two words that I treasure to date: don’t judge.
“Instead of being angry and hurling insults at him, my mum advised me to do the opposite; help him out of his clothes, tell him to take a shower then make him some soup. Her advice was unbelievable but I decided to follow it since mums know best.
“It has been six months since I started doing this for Jere; whenever he goes out he knows I will be at home waiting to remove his shoes and socks, and in the morning he’ll get his soup.
The frequent nights out have reduced to one or a maximum of two and by 1pm he is usually home. The other day he even took me out with him.”
2 Soothe his ego
Every man has an ego. Vikkie, 39 and a corporate manager, is of the opinion that a man’s ego should be soothed, not criticised.
“I used to criticise my man a lot. I was in the relationship to be heard: my opinion mattered and everything I had to say was important.
However, I realised that every time I raised my voice during a discussion on politics or any other subject, he withdrew and become quiet.
He started going out more and spending weekends at the office or with his ‘boys’. I was worried because he had suddenly become a very different man."
Vikkie started suspecting that there might be another and sought advice from one of her friends who had been married longer.
“My friend told me to take time and evaluate myself. I almost dismissed her because in my opinion I was not the problem; he was. But my friend insisted so when I got home, I took some time to observe what was happening in my marriage.
When we watched news, my husband, Pete*, who always has something to say, made no comment. I tried to start a conversation but he just shut down.
That is when it occurred to me that when I argued with him in front of the children about politics, trying to show him how smart I was, it hurt his ego.
“I had to take a step back and let my man be the super hero he was when we met, so whenever we watch news, I engage him by asking his opinion, pretending that I’ve not really understood.
That small change got our marriage back on track. I have now found a way to soothe Pete’s ego in all areas of our relationship.”
3 Spice up your sex life
“It is amazing how women will take time to research on weight loss and careers, but not on how to have better sex. We assume things will just happen,” says Vikkie.
“Stop having routine sex; stop making your sex life monotonous and predictable or you’ll soon find yourself sleeping next to your man like brother and sister. A lack of preparedness is what brings about bad sex.
Many women burn the midnight oil to finish a presentation, but when it comes to sex, they tend to give excuses such as ‘I’m tired’, ‘I’ve had a long day,’ etc.
If you applied the same energy and creativity you give your work in the bedroom, your man would always look forward to being with you.
“Our sex life was stuck in a rut; there was nothing interesting to look forward to. I told myself that if that was how I was feeling, then my man might be feeling the same or even looking for excitement elsewhere. I therefore did some online research and got some fresh ideas.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that he had some new ideas of his own. To cut the story short, things are great. Even when I feel tired, I find a way to compensate.
Eating foods that boost the libido also helps, especially on the days when you are feeling tired.”
4 Aim to remain fun
We make time for office cocktails, company dinners and clients’ events but claim to have no energy to hang out with our partners.
“I’m in the corporate world; I am required to entertain clients every so often, even when I am tired,” Tracy says.
This reality is what got her to change her attitude about being tired.
“A year ago,” she says, “whenever Jere would call to tell me he was going to be late, I would say ‘okay’… One day I decided to test the waters and asked if I could join him since I was near where he was; he agreed.
I met his colleagues from work and had a good time. I was tired but I wanted to show him that I was still available to have fun, even on weekdays.
“Nowadays, Jere calls when he is leaving work to ask if I want to join him and his friends for a drink. Sometimes I accept and sometimes I don’t. Having him know that if I stopped by I would be Fun Tracy is good enough for me.”
5 He comes before the children
For most women, finding the balance between children and husband is impossible, so the husband is neglected.
Vikkie says that this is a big mistake: “Your husband should come before the children, no matter what. I’ve been there; I put my children before my husband and slowly we started seeing less of him.
In fact, I felt like he hated his own sons or was jealous about the relationship I had with them.
“Then one weekend he went to his mum’s. I felt lonely and confused and didn’t know what to do; I almost packed my bags and joined them. I realised that perhaps what I was feeling was what Pete felt every time I took the children away for some birthday party or other event that didn’t include him.
I promised myself that I’d spend more time with my husband.
“I started by setting ground rules in the home: sleeping time, playing time… and somehow I found free time to spend with my husband. I also pushed for a date night and this has really helped bind us together. Once you’ve put your husband first, everything else falls into place.”