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Mothering › Health Articles › Part 2: Alisa Bowman's Project Happily Ever After Interview, Giveaway

Part 2: Alisa Bowman's Project Happily Ever After Interview, Giveaway


This is Part 2 of a 3-part series on how to positively shift gears in your relationship or marriage. To enter the giveaway for Project Happily Ever After, please leave a comment below–with your own Happily Ever After tip, or your own example of feeling very hopeless and frustrated, or, what do you want from your partner that you’re not getting–whatever resonates for you.


Guest blogger Julie Geen discusses the book Project: Happily Ever After: Saving Your Marriage when the Fairytale Falters with author Alisa Bowman. Part memoir, part self-help book, Bowman spills every ugly detail of her marriage struggles, including secretly planning her perfectly healthy husband’s funeral (the wake included all of his favorite beers, butternut squash soup, and lamb on a stick). She gives a ten-step plan addressing everything from communication to sex, offering hope for “divorce daydreamers” everywhere.
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Alisa Bowman

Alisa Bowman


Julie: You talked about some other things in your book that I found so interesting. You made me want to get a bikini wax, and I’m someone who went years without shaving anything. I started thinking, though, you pay more attention to anybody when they get a new hairstyle.


Alisa: I think in the sexual realm of advertising, even today, it gives the impression that you wear lingerie for the guy. People think of bikini waxes as something you do for the guy. Like you’re doing it for his sexual pleasure. But in a long term marriage, it really does become about what keeps the woman in the mood. Because it’s a lot harder for the woman to get in the mood than the man. This isn’t universally the case, but a lot of times it is. I find my husband couldn’t care less about seeing me in lingerie. He’s just happy to see me naked. But I wear lingerie for me. And I do the waxing for me. It’s all about things that make me feel sexy or want to have sex.


Julie: In a way, you’re courting yourself, aren’t you?


Alisa: Exactly. I think a lot of these things we’ve been taught are good things, but we’ve been taught to do them for the wrong reasons. Whatever makes you feel good about yourself, whatever makes you feel sexier is going to help you get in the mood.


Julie: It was such a shock to me that I ended up in this typical situation of being married with kids and, I have to be honest, I seem to be against having sex with my husband. I don’t wanna. And I always told myself that I’ve done everything right. I married the sensitive ponytail, guitar- playing guy. I never believed in this Mars/Venus stuff. I always thought he and I would make our own way, that we wouldn’t make the same mistakes I’ve seen so many make. I’m really surprised to find my husband and I are not special, we’re not different and we are in a place that I think a lot of long term married people find themselves. I’m shocked.


Alisa: We never think it’s going to happen and it does. It’s helpful to know that it’s so common.


Julie: It is. And I really appreciate your honesty in talking about all of this. I think it’s so necessary to talk about this stuff so people don’t feel so alone. There were parts of your book that brought tears to my eyes. You wrote about the experience of having your marriage deteriorate and losing your attraction to the man you loved, and I’ve had those same feelings of loss. So, what are your suggestions for rekindling the damn romance?


Alisa: Like I said, I think a lot of it starts with you and feeling sexy again. As moms, and as we get older, sometimes we let that go. It’s really important to do the things that make you feel good about your body. I don’t think these things are necessarily universal, but for me it’s exercising regularly and eating healthily and relaxing. I relax by meditating, but it might be different for somebody else.


For moms, getting enough sleep is so important. It’s hard to put sex on the calendar when all you want to do is sleep. This is one way where men and women are very different. At the end of a stressful day, a guy might think he wants to have sex and go to sleep. And at the end of a hard day if she’s exhausted, she’s hoping he doesn’t want to have sex because she just want to sleep. I do think that’s a fundamental difference. It’s not universal, but it’s true for the most part.


But other than courting yourself and making sure that you are healthy, the other thing is not to wait for desire to strike, because you could be waiting for the rest of your life. Desire surfaces less and less if you’ve been married a long time, especially if you are a parent, especially as you age and your hormones change… and so we had to put sex on the calendar. We had to figure out how much was right for us. Ideally for us, it was once a week. For another couple, it might be once a month. You have to talk with your partner and find an ideal minimum. And then schedule that minimum. Then you’ll do what you need to do to get yourself in the mood on those days. For me it might be bikini waxing, reading some erotica. I started writing erotica and reading it to my husband. Wow! You can think outside of the box. There’s so many ways to get the spark going.


If you still have trouble with attraction, a lot of that has to do with problems in your relationship. Because attraction really isn’t this magical, mystical thing. If it’s not there, maybe you’re feeling resentment. Maybe you’re not feeling honored or adored. A lot of times for women, we need to feel uniquely adored. So if you’re not feeling that, it’s important to teach them how to do that for you. I think romance isn’t really what a lot of us have been taught to believe. It’s not flowers and chocolate. When I talk to a lot of women, they know their husband loves them when they do something special for them.


Sometimes when my husband sees me working late at night, he’ll clean the house. He’s not cleaning the house because he cares about the house, he’s cleaning the house because he knows I care and I don’t have time to do it. I think that’s romance. We have to find out what’s true for us, and put our ideas of feminism aside. For me, I love when he works on my car, or works on the house. Those things with hammers. It’s important to admit to yourself what you really like.


The other thing about attraction, is that our minds want to get negative. Our mind is going to constantly play a negative recording about our spouse, and it does this about life too. It’s going to be remembering all the negative things that person did, all of the bad things, going back through years and years of resentments. It can really help to force yourself to have a positive recording. And I don’t mean that in a fake way that isn’t true. A lot of times we zero in on the negative and ignore the positive, so if you can look for reasons to love your spouse it’s helpful. My husband might do a zillion great things in one week, and then I’ll notice the one thing that he doesn’t do. It helps to focus on the positive.


Julie: That’s so true. Whatever you focus on grows in your head. If you focus on the negative, that’s what’s going to grow. I feel like this is all basic knowledge about life and marriage that I somehow missed. I didn’t know how much work, or action is required to stay in a good place. I somehow got the idea that if you are in love, everything falls into place. I’ve been very surprised. I think what you say about feminism now being about us picking what’s true for us as individuals is so true. And if that’s a bikini wax, great. What I’m trying to do is get honest about myself about what I really truly want from a partner. And I don’t know the answer to that right now. But your book helped me focus on that question. What do I want from this poor man? Because he’s not going to figure it out on his own. It’s my job to figure it out.


Alisa: Right.


Julie: Right now, I feel like I need a lot of patience while I figure out what I want. And I need him to learn how to really listen to me. And I need more help around the house. There, I said it.


To enter the giveaway of Project Happily Ever After, please leave a comment below–with your own Happily Ever After tip, or your own example of feeling very hopeless and frustrated, or, what do you want from your partner that you’re not getting–whatever resonates for you.


Coming this week: Part 3


Julie Geen is a freelance writer, mother of two and still married, despite being published in Ask Me About My Divorce. Look for her in Tarnished: True Stories of Innocence Lost by Pinchback Press, to be published in spring of 2011, and on her new blog at www.juliegeen.com.




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Comments (16)

I have got to get this book!!! I've been through it and am on the other side but it's so nice to hear about others experience and advice. It's funny because you're right... We are really different... But it's comforting. For a while we on the Sunday, Wednesday schedule. Now that I'm pregnant it's been modified to every other Sunday! Sometime to gear myself up I put on my lingerie before he gets home from work and take an inconspicuous pic and text it to him. Just enough detail so that only he would know what it is. Then I put my clothes on over top and wait for the kids to go to bed so he can throw it on the floor in about two seconds! We've been married almost 16 years, together for 18. I'm pregnant with our sixth. We call our last two and the one on the way our love children bc they are post near divorce!!! .-= Eve´s last blog ..You got to have Faith =-.
Aren't really different... I should really proof read! Lol .-= Eve´s last blog ..You got to have Faith =-.
A joke that is so helpful in this scenario: A woman is standing in front of the mirror naked as her husband watches her from the bed. "my breasts are saggy, my skin is old, my face looks like my mother's, my stomach is stretched all over from the kids. I could really use a compliment right now!" Her husband thinks for a second and says "yes, but your eyesight's perfect!" And that's when the fight began... But really, he meant the best and I think sometimes we expect our spouse to always know what today or do to make everything perfect but we have to start within first.
To say or to do*
Having been married for over 38 years now...the best "tip" I can give either husband or wife is: Learn that your identity does not come from what any other person thinks or doesn't think of you - does or doesn't do to or for you or has done to you (as in fill in the blank "bad things") Your true identity comes from the only person who knows you to the core of y-o-u, delights in you and loves you unconditionally - God your Heavenly Father. With that knowing comes freedom to be YOU and to love others in like fashion.
Loved reading about this topic and the honesty involved in putting all of this out there. Really a date night and time put on the calendar regularly is so important. I know it is so scheduled but if its not then its not going to happen. Thats what happens with life with three kids. Its rather busy. Unfortunately I too agree that the marriage ends up suffering unfortunately.
I want to feel adored, like I felt in the beginning of our relationship!
Wow, I need this book. To feel sexy, I wear black underwear. It looks hot, and it helps me get in the mood.
Marriage to me equates with loss of self right now, I feel like I don't exist, but somehow everything is still getting done?
We are working on the scheduling date night thing. It is amazing the difference a simple.diner out can make. I like the statement about hidden resentment killing desire...it definitely does , although I used to worry that I wasnt attracted to my husband anymore.
Wow I really needed to read this today. I thought I was feeling zero sexual desire because of nursing/pregnancy and also feeling disconnected from my husband because he has to travel so much for work. I kept wondering when that desire would ever come back or if I'd ever want sex again. It's so nice to know I'm not alone in that feeling. Thanks for the ideas on how to work through it.
Low moment... finding myself wishing he'd somehow have an affair so we didn't have to be together any more.
I just want the both of us to be truly happy. Tired and frustrated from feeling jealous and inadequate. Back to basics...
Tried to schedule date nights... really need to read this book my marriage needs saving!
Thank you so very much for addressing this topic. After ten years of marriage and three kids, I've realized quite suddenly that we've been neglecting our relationship and putting everything else above our needs as a couple, and now we are working hard to restore our connection while still keeping up with all of our responsibilities. It's a tough balancing act, for sure, but we are already seeing that when we invest more of ourselves in our marriage, the dividends are extraordinary. We've embraced "attachment parenting," but we haven't done a good enough job of carving time out for ourselves - both individually and as a couple. Thanks again for offering some support and advice!
I have found that after having kids it's been hard for me to see my husband's point of view or even consider how he's feeling. Because I'm giving to much to my kids, I think I've developed this sense that he should in turn be taking care of me, when it really needs to be a 2-way street. And, I need to figure out ways to take care of myself as well, not only leave it up to him (because yes, I will always be let down waiting on him!).
Mothering › Health Articles › Part 2: Alisa Bowman's Project Happily Ever After Interview, Giveaway