How do you keep the music playing?
LOVE LUCY - LOVE LUCY by Lucy Torres-Gomez () - August 11, 2002 - 12:00am
Remember that first date with your spouse (then boyfriend) when, hours before he was scheduled to arrive, you preened precariously before the mirror making sure that you looked just right? Go back, too, to the time when just thinking of him made you smile, when you couldn’t wait to see him and when simply being together was enough. Cut to the present when the trappings and competitive busy-ness of modern life habitually make us feel severed from our own senses, when what used to be significant to us just doesn’t seem that way any longer, and when the little things that used to make us happy seem to just blur and fade away into the hectic schedule of the day. The love is undoubtedly still there but the magic has, sad to say, long since faded away.

All too often, we see women who, in the hustle and bustle of striving to be good homemakers, forget themselves and their personal needs. Specifically, they forget to pamper themselves and in the process end up looking unkempt, plain, and sometimes even disheveled. I’m not saying this is a bad thing but when something can be done, why settle for looking ordinary? If you have the means and the capacity to look your best (and I’m not talking cosmetic surgery here) why don’t you? Looking good does not have to be expensive, what with the multitude of products available on the market to fit every need, every budget. Before being a mother, remember that you are a wife first. Your husband was and should still be attracted to you. The nice thing about long, lasting relationships is that you settle into a comfort zone where you are privy to your partner, at both his best and worst, yet have the capacity to love him all the same. I just don’t believe this should translate into matters of vanity.

Of course, there will be times when he will catch you at your unglamorous worst–hair pulled away with a half-broken clip, sweaty, in comfy but mismatched house clothes. To think otherwise would be unrealistic. Nonetheless, this shouldn’t be the norm. Continue to make an effort to keep yourself attractive and desirable. Take care of your skin. Stay fit (by this I don’t mean you have to be model-thin) and healthy. Look good. But more than that, please smell good. You owe it to your husband, but more than that you owe it to yourself.

While I was writing this article, Tito Dougs called and when I mentioned the topic of this piece , he shared a very basic but true observation. He said the most common complaint of wives is that their men don’t bother to take them out on dates anymore. To this the men almost always have the same answer: "Our wives don’t bother to fix themselves up anymore, secure as they already are that we married them." Marriage should not be a license for us to just sit back, relax and let nature take its course. One has to constantly work at keeping herself good –in all aspects.

A male friend of mine (who shall remain unnamed lest his wife lash out at him) has a foot fetish and he would wax poetic about how his wife (then girlfriend) had the softest feet that they actually felt like rose petals. Nine years later he describes her feet as parang luya (ginger-like) and like papel de liha in texture. We burst out laughing–what a cruel thing to say! This may seem superficial but it only affirms what we have suspected all along–men do notice and care about seemingly trivial matters such as this. And surprisingly, men seem to zero in on feet a lot. Remember it’s literally the most used and abused part of our body and though we can hide them behind stylish shoes, it’s still best that we care for them.

On that note, here’s a tip that works. Get a good foot scrub to slough off the dry skin–you can either do it at home if you have the patience and the time or go to a salon. Before going to sleep that same night, rub a generous amount of petroleum jelly and wrap your feet with plastic wrap (yes, the clingy thing we use in the kitchen for ulam) and cotton socks. Do this for a whole week to ensure surefire results. Dryer feet will probably require longer "incubation." But once soft, all it will take for maintenance is lotion applied at bedtime. Remember that the plastic wrap is key because cotton socks alone will only help absorb the petroleum jelly.

Since we’re at it, let’s get to work on the rest of our body, too. While we all know the merits of applying oil or lotion while our skin is still damp from the shower/bath, my mom (who has the softest skin I know in a woman) taught me another tip. Even as skin is still damp, apply oil AND then lotion. The moisture is double-locked and it really does make the skin super-soft. Try it.

Also, a basic kikay kit consisting of powder, concealer, blush, lipstick, lip-gloss, mascara, tweezers, and eyelash curler is enough to go a long way. Never underestimate the way lipstick can brighten your face or the way an eyelash curler opens up your eyes. Get a haircut that’s wash and wear–one that looks good just air-dried but looks even better when blow-dried. Don’t be losyang. Friends should not look at you and say, "Nag-asawa na kasi kaya ayan di na nag-aayos. Okay lang, at least may asawa na." That should not be the case! The fact that we have husbands should be even more reason to fix ourselves up. There are some who equate being thin with being beautiful but that’s farthest from the truth. Beauty is relative. Celebrate your size because you can be big and beautiful.

Remember to make coming home a pleasant experience for your husband, so much so that he will not dread seeing you at the day’s end. Okay, maybe dread is too harsh a word but one should have the right attitude and handling towards time spent together after a long day. It should be relaxing, not stressful. I know it’s such a cliché to say that women shouldn’t nag but really, we should not. Talk to your husband but don’t whine and complain all the time. My grandmother used to say that wives try to be cute by making tampo to their husbands about the tiniest things. They fail to realize though that it ceases to be "cute" when done too often and in fact, comes across as irritating.

Attend to your husband’s needs. I’m not saying you have to be a geisha but be sensitive to what he wants. Being thoughtful does not have to manifest itself in big things–in fact, it shines brighter through little snippets of everyday routine: making sure he has his favorite bar of soap, his preferred flavor of ice cream, that jar of peanut butter he can’t get enough of, enough stock of the only paracetamol that works for him. Throw in unexpected yet unlimited amounts of hugs and kisses. Expensive gifts may dazzle the eyes, but it is the thought behind the gift that warms the heart. Do not make the mistake of measuring your love or lack of it from the amount of presents you shower each other with.

I remember vividly a story I read when I was but 10 years old. It tells of a couple that loved each other and was of below-average means. The woman’s most-prized material possession was a gold chain she inherited from her mother while the man’s most-prized possession was a watch with no strap. Come Christmastime, the woman decided to sell her chain so she could buy a strap for her man’s watch, only to find out that he sold his watch so he could buy her a pendant for her chain. Ultimately, what will matter is not how much you gave but how well you loved.

Your husband should be the highlight of your day. In some way, however good my day already is I feel better when Richard is home and we have the whole night ahead of us to wrap up the events of the day. We don’t sleep angry at each other and never has a day passed when we don’t say "I love you" and mean it. We used to sleep hugging each other but with Juliana staking claim on the space between us, we are content sleeping with our feet touching each other. We are in our fourth year of marriage and some may say that it’s premature for a greenhorn (on the marriage front) like me to talk about how to keep the music playing. Idealistic, I may be. But I have high hopes and I’m going to take it step by step, one day at a time. More importantly, I’m going to face the tune and enjoy the dance.

Romance shouldn’t end where marriage begins. The jaded would probably scoff at my optimism. Wait till you’re 25 years married!" they might say. When we see an old couple holding hands our mindset should not be one of surprise. We should not marvel at how and why they have stayed that way, rather we should acknowledge that it is but natural for them to be the way they still are–affectionate toward each other, not marred by time or age.

I know marriage is not a bed of roses–I’ve seen enough break-ups to last three lifetimes but by and large I believe that if there was reason to get together, there must be enough reason, too, for a couple to stay together. All in God’s plan all in God’s time. True love should bring out the best in you. And while physical beauty should in no way subsist as the be-all and end-all of a happy marriage you owe it to yourself and your spouse to make the best out of whatever attributes God has blessed you with. For beneath the individual layered with stress, responsibilities, mommy-duties, busy schedules and tight workloads lies the woman that your man fell in love with.

Surface and shine!

BUT I COME CHRISTMASTIME DAY DON DOUGS GOOD MAKE TIME WAY WHILE I
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