By Pierra Calasanz-Labrador for Yahoo! Southeast Asia
When the movie No Other Woman came out, it struck a chord among millions of married Pinays—what would we do if an Anne Curtis clone walked into our husband’s life?
Oh, the very thought strikes panic in our hearts and opens up a Pandora’s Box of questions: Would we pack our bags and leave at the first sign of his indiscretion? Would we play the role of the long-suffering wife and look the other way? Or, would we fight fire with fire, with Cristine Reyes verve in all her negligee glory and mama Carmi Martin’s one-liner winners ringing in our ears? (“Panahon na para i-pack up yang si Lucy Torres mo. Ilabas mo na diyan si Gretchen Barretto!”)
Hang on—why even wait for things even get to that point? The best defense is a good offense, and the key is to know what makes our hubbies happy, so he won’t even consider straying. Easier said than done, right? So here are some tips from domestic goddesses (and regular men) on how to keep your man in line:
Tip#1: Be attentive and affectionate. After the passion fades, sometimes our interaction with hubby is reduced to a perfunctory good night kiss. Don’t stop showing your love and affection! Shares Anna*, “I try to keep the romance alive. We go out on dinner and movie dates without the kids. We also still talk about our dreams and what we’re going to do in our old age. It helps that we laugh a lot together!” You don’t need to sweep each other off your feet—random cuddling, holding hands while watching a TV movie, sweet daily rituals, and the occasional ‘stolen moment,’ will help keep your love fresh.
Tip#2: Look your best. Yes, he vowed to love you through thick and thin, waistline notwithstanding—but that doesn’t mean you should let yourself go. “Once a girl is ‘off the market,’ she kind of relaxes her effort to be attractive. But don’t turn into a total slob!” warns Kathy*. Caring for your health and body, keeping in shape, dolling yourself up nicely can be the greatest compliment you can pay him—and yourself. Bonus to looking your best: as you “wow him everyday,” you’re also loving what you see in the mirror. And when you feel good about yourself, there’s a tendency to make your partner feel good, too.
Tip #3: Exude confidence. Is your hubby such a Greek god or chick magnet that you’re constantly on praning mode? Searching his pockets/wallet/going through his texts, bristling at the mention of any female colleagues, or stalking him without any provocation will only succeed in annoying him, and turning you into a suspicious, desperate, sorry mess. It can get really tiresome for a guy to deal with jealous rages or constantly reassure you of his love over and over again. Do listen to your woman’s intuition—but before then, don’t jump the gun. Treating him like you’re sure he’s going to cheat may actually tempt him to call your bluff!
Okay, so maybe you say you trust your guy, but you don’t trust the women around him. Have a little faith in yourself. Yes, there will always be someone prettier, hotter or younger than you, but no one can ever be the YOU he fell in love with. Clinging desperately on to your man may give him illusions that he’s too good for you—he should feel that he’s lucky to have you, and not the other way around.
Tip #4: Don’t nag, don’t smother. Unless you want your guy to revert back to his rebellious teenage self, act like his hot, loving wife—not his mom or prison guard. “When a guy feels ‘sakal' or stifled in a relationship, his instinct is to escape,” says Tony. “And if there just happens to be someone who comes along who is sexy, fun and has no baggage or drama… patay.” So go ahead, let him have his fill of computer games or basketball time with the guys—and he’ll be happy to come home to his cool wife.
Tip #5: Spice things up. Says Migs*, “Guys love the thrill of the chase.” It only takes a little flirtation to spur their imagination. “A husband thinks that he already has you, so he might be curious to know how it would be with someone they technically can’t have. It’s the ‘what if’ factor,” continues Migs.
So how do you keep him from acting on his animal instincts? Bring out the domestic goddess in you. Spice things up with spontaneous gestures, go on “second honeymoon” trips, or (trump card) try new tricks in the bedroom. Keep things from getting stale, so that he’s constantly amazed by you. Maintain the mystery, no matter how comfortable you are with each other.
Tip # 6: Show an interest in his activities. While it’s important to nurture individual interests for your personal growth, find some shared activities as well so you can grow together. You don’t have to be joined at the hip, but it really helps when you’re supportive of his passions. Do you respond with a bored “uhm-hmmm” every time he tries to engage you in conversation about his activities? Would you rather he bond with someone else? When he spends a lot of time somewhere else (especially if it requires overnight stays and out-of-town events), there’s always the temptation of falling for a colleague or teammate who “gets him.” So don’t belittle his hobbies.
Tip #7: Keep it special. It’s easy to take things for granted after years and years of marriage, kids, and morning breath. Someone’s bound to feel overworked and under-appreciated, and the danger comes when an outside force starts showing some of that attention that’s sorely lacking at home.
Complacency is the devil—so make things special every day. It can be as simple as saying thank you after every meal/errand/chore, thoughtfully surprising each other with a favorite snack, or treating him to a relaxing massage after a long day. Says Andrea, “I treat him with respect; I try not to brat out and pick fights. I tell him I appreciate that he takes care of us. And on his end, I suppose he realizes that he has a partner for life, that I’m there for him no matter what. It’s not a fleeting romance—it’s a real relationship.”
*Not their real names