Routine Maintenance: How to Keep Your Marriage Like New

Anyone who appreciates cars knows there is a list of maintenance jobs to do to keep it functioning properly. Continually, you need to keep it filled with gas, check the coolant, or check the oil. Regularly, it will need an oil change,  cleaning the battery terminals, or washing the exterior to prevent corrosion. Then there are occasional maintenance items such as greasing any zerk fittings, changing the differential fluid, or readjusting valve clearances.

Marriages are the same way, we cannot just go along and pretend it will just keep running well. There are short term, medium term, and long term things we need to do in order to have a spouse that lasts and is a joy to ride. Whether you purchased a brand new Ferrari, or a ’81 Ford Fiesta that has been hammered on by the entire production crew of Dukes of Hazard, all cars need maintenance, and AWALT (although some need more maintenance than others).

Short Term – Throughout the Day

Maintain your own frame. Keep your own attractiveness up. To do this, you need to be able to stay on top physically (your body), mentally (your mind), spiritually (your moral compass), and professionally (your livelihood). A large portion of the manosphere is devoted to this, and there is no shortage of material. There is everything from the first six steps of Dread Game to instructions on how to turn your wife into YOUR slut. However, you do need to apply it, and have the ambition to continue. As difficult as it sounds, it is far easier and rewarding than handling a divorce.

All the attractiveness in the world will do no good if you come home from work and sit in front of the couch. You have to flirt and mess with her. A pinch or slap on the butt does far more to keep her excited than a routine “I love you” with flowers. Tease her, be a stinker, throw cold water on her or take her picture when she is in the shower. At the same time, she will probably want to dish it back. Be willing to take it. Just have fun.

There are times you will not be there. We live in a fallen world where there are temptations. Throw away the network TV, that stuff is mental poison. Instead, surround your home with quality media. Books, talks on tape, most movies prior to 1965, and saved music playlists offer decent entertainment without subjecting your family to SJW or other graphic tripe. My wife will listen to various church media throughout the day while I’m at work.

Along with media, monitor who your wife hangs out with. Many divorces are caused by other women who talk bad about husbands, have “girls nights out” and such. While you shouldn’t force who she can and can’t be friends with, you can keep her thinking about if what she is doing is damaging.

Medium Term – Daily

Develop a routine and encourage your wife to maintain it. How busy you make it is up to you, but we find that a set morning and bedtime routine creates an atmosphere where the kids know what is expected, we know what is expected, and therefore there’s less bickering.

Write in a journal, and encourage her to do the same. I typically write what I have done during the day. Nothing big, but just a sentence or two, it helps me keep focused. My wife writes in what she calls a gratitude journal, in which she focuses on the good things that has happened that day. I noticed when she keeps at it, she is less depressed and more appreciative of those around us.

Read together out loud. What you read is up to you, whether religious material, picture books for the kids, marriage counseling type books, or novels. We read the scriptures before I go to work and this set of picture Bible stories for the kids before their bed time as the whole family. After that, my wife and I will read some marriage book. What it does is open the door to discuss matters and interject while you are reading or listening.

Long Term – Weekly or Longer

Stuff gets in the way and stress happens. We found that if you keep a weekly schedule and talk logistics as a couple, those problems and conflicts can be reduced. I have a financial spreadsheet that I keep updated on a weekly basis. It is nothing complex, just shows what bills we have paid, and then we look at the checking account to see where we are at, and discuss any future purchases. We then go over the calendar and see if there are any conflicts that need to be resolved. Fifteen minutes a week goes a long ways in preventing arguments over a bounced check or a double booking.

Keep the romance alive, and remember why you married her in the first place. In order to do that, we go on a date on a weekly to monthly basis. She will usually comment on what she wants to do, but I will make the decision. We go out for dinner, go dancing, go have hot dogs on the beach, look at the stars or whatever. Most of the time it is announced, but sometimes I will just kidnap her.

Keep it fresh.
Keep her guessing.
Keep it exciting.

And finally, we will do a family vacation yearly. The whole family enjoys spending time together, what you do depends on you and your budget, but do something besides visiting the in laws each and every time. As much as grandma wants to see the kids, your time with them is more valuable.

Conclusion

Maintenance sounds like work, and some of this often is. But it is not like replacing a wheel bearing and hub on the side of the road in January when it is 10 below and you are late for work (I did that once). Each one of these steps could be expanded upon. Perhaps we could in the future. Simple day to day steps can go a long way in ensuring you will have your wife happily beside you in the years to come.

Author: Jim Johnson

As a man in his early 40’s, I grew up on a dairy farm in an irreligious home. Disgusted with the choice of women out there, I looked into religion to find a worthwhile mate. At 23, I joined the LDS (Mormon) faith, married, became a civil engineer, and now have six children. My favorite things are puppies, long walks on the beach, and the color blue (not really).

  • Bourbonman

    It’s always fun trying to keep the romance alive as one has to come up with new ways to keep it going. While routine is good, don’t forget to be spontaneous from time to time. I’ve lost count of the times my wife has sounded tired when I made it home and asked what I wanted for dinner. Occasionally I’ve replied, “Put those pots and pans away. You’re getting the night off and we’re going out to eat.” Instant relief on her part and more quality time for the two of us.

    • Jim Johnson

      That is one thing I struggle with, keeping it fresh and new.

      • Bourbonman

        I understand completely, since I’m a creature of habit. The time I often come up with new activities for us is during lunch at work which I think is an excellent time to plan the evening and take one’s mind from the grind.

    • Jak

      Hunter Drew at TheFamilyAlpha.com talks a lot about spontaneity and is quite adept at it. He’s another good site for married men to frequent.

      • Jim Johnson

        Agreed, he has given me several ideas.

      • Bourbonman

        Excellent, thanks for the recommendation.

        • Jak

          My pleasure. Hunter is an awesome guy. We have regular conversations on Twitter and enjoy the occasional chess match.

  • Thefourhorstmann

    Great stuff as always Jim. I know the regulars know this but for the casual reader or anyone new go read the dread game articles. Apply dread game early and often. Dont wind up in a living hell leading to divorce like i did.

    • Jim Johnson

      Thanks, I think the trick is to do your part to keep your SMV about 1 point higher than hers. Dread game is essential to that. I like the AKC version over the original reddit post. You are not looking to cheat, you are keeping her from looking elsewhere.

      mastering shit tests, improving yourself, having a life, not being a simp, dressing nice, and gaming your wife are all all key components to increasing your value. As steps 7-12 show you are looking elsewhere, I think those can be detrimental.

      • Thefourhorstmann

        I agree, if steps 1-6 don’t get you there nothing will. 7-12 will just get used against you in the divorce. I think passing the shit tests is the most important. I have sent the link to that article to a number of close friends that are in LTRs.

        • Jim Johnson

          I’ve seen comments where guys will go on to step 10 or so before things improved, but I could see that would create long term trust issues, even if it does postpone divorce a few years.

        • Jak

          That’s the big reason I haven’t really written about steps 7-12. If you get that far and things still haven’t gotten better, it’s best just to get divorced and move on.

          • Thefourhorstmann

            Thank you for those articles. It really got through to me. Helped my best friend through an epic shit test as well.

            • Jak

              Glad to hear it’s helped others out.

    • dckhead_con_artist

      are you sure the divorce wasn’t a blessing in the end ?

      • Thefourhorstmann

        Still in the divorce waiting period but yes not having her in the house anymore is much nicer. It sad when taking care of a 18 month and a 3 year old girls is easier by yourself.

        • dckhead_con_artist

          after my divorce and getting custody of my son, we have done things together only best friends do and that he will remember the rest of his life. I have nobody to answer to but my boss at work and have focused on my son’s academics and sports.

          • Thefourhorstmann

            Good to hear. Did she fight you on custody? My soon to be ex wife is an alcoholic. She is currently sober and is trying to work back into the girls lives. Right now its only supervised but the next custody meeting is in January and i know she is going to keep trying to get more time.

            • dckhead_con_artist

              sorry to hear about your struggles. I am in Texas, the child has a say in residence/custody after 12 years of age. She fought it by forcing the battle to mediation so she didn’t have to pay support. She wanted to fight a war of attrition and make me tired (she is an attorney herself). I got her to pay club soccer tuition and school expense/clothes, and then settled the other terms (medical, vehicle, insurance) on equal terms.

              • Thefourhorstmann

                Alright, yeah my girls are to young to know whats going on. Right now she is paying me a good bit in child support. I think that is her motivation right now to stay sober and actually spend time with the kids,

            • Jim Johnson

              Watching my coworkers drama unfold, I could say that fight may never end. She decided to try the dark meat from this guy at the gym. He is a fat slob video gamer. She originally told the court that she would rather not have the kids. He took care of them for four years or so, two marriages later, she decided to take him to court to get the kids back, now have joint custody, and has to pay child support as she has a crap job.

              • Thefourhorstmann

                i am learning that in this process she can try and get back into their lives at any point and the court will approve it. She makes slightly more than i do so she is paying me quite a bit of support at this point.

                • Jim Johnson

                  Good luck man. Until your kids are grown, you will probably have drama.

                  • Thefourhorstmann

                    Thanks. This site and ROK (before it went to shit) have really helped me through this. I’ll take this current drama over how it was before. I just got to stay positive and do the best for my girls.

                    • Jim Johnson

                      Appreciate it. That’s the part that really sucks, your girls are completely innocent in this ordeal, and yet get hurt the most.

                    • Thefourhorstmann

                      That weighed the heaviest on me in making the decision to divorce my wife. i decided they were better off with me than having an alcoholic mother who did not care for them. I know they will need counseling when they get older to come to terms with everything.

                    • Jim Johnson

                      Any chance in getting back with your wife if she sobers up?

                    • Thefourhorstmann

                      i don’t think i could ever trust her again. The long term rates on being sober are low, I wont put me or the girls through it again,

                    • Jim Johnson

                      Gotcha. Sometimes it is what it is.

                    • Consolation_of_Philosophy

                      Thank God you were able to get the kids. Stay sane.

        • MCGOO

          Easier? How bad can a woman be? Luckily you beat off any white knights that would have forked good kids over to her so she could flush them one by one down a toilet like a cackling witch. Some guys have to pay the white knights to stand down in court but I prefer a pitch fork. Back before women’s advocacy, communism and communist cigars (cigarettes), the bad or infidel women were horse whipped or tied to a chair and dunked into an icy cold lake. It was like a mild form of waterboarding but effective.

          • Thefourhorstmann

            Or like the ending of McLintock. Yes being with a full blown alcholic woman makes everything so much worse. It was like having another kid to take care of.

      • englishbob

        Sometimes the divorce never ends. Look at what happened to Robin Williams.

        • dckhead_con_artist

          You can always runaway . When my ex threatened to extract more child support , I told her that if she did , I’d quit my job and be my brothers pool boy for minimum wage . Her lawyer ceased proceedings immediately

  • dckhead_con_artist

    Keep it fresh, have her get a teaching license and work at your local high school with 17 year old boys, while you go back to working on cars.

    • Jim Johnson

      Somehow I don’t think that was the point I was trying to get across, but hey whatever works.

      • dckhead_con_artist

        my bad bro..

    • La’darell Luthor

      Fox seems to have a new article every day: 23 year old female teacher sleeps with 15 year old boy.

  • Consolation_of_Philosophy

    Every time you write one of these posts, I respect you more, Jim.

    • Jim Johnson

      Thanks, I hope these posts help.

  • Lou Skunt

    Another great one, Jim – always on point! I’ll be happily married for 20-years this February, and I can personally attest to the validity of your writings…

    – Have fun… This has always been a must in my household. I can’t spend more than a few minutes with someone who has no sense of humor, let alone – for a lifetime! Just like we joke around here and break balls, this is so necessary in a marriage. I absolutely love to see my wife laugh and smile – it’s the best.

    – Keep things exciting… Maintaining a routine is necessary on many levels, but mixing things up is icing on the cake.

    – Taking vacations… Sharing downtime together is mandatory. Regardless of your budget, there are countless things you can to together. Tell everybody that you’re going out of town and just stay home together for a few days with no phones, no internet, nothing. We’ve traveled almost everywhere together over the years, but to be honest, one of the best times we had was last year when we went to visit my sister in Wisconsin; we rented a motorhome, took all the dogs and went on a road trip – it was so much fun.

    – Food… Food is family. Food is love. Food is sexy. Spend uninterrupted time together at a restaurant or make dinner together at home – it’s priceless. I’m making home-made pizza as I write this – waiting for the dough to proof!

    Take care fellas!

  • UnreconstructedConfederate

    Good article Jim. The only thing I have to add is dealing with shit tests, nip it in the bud, NIP IT! NIP IT! IT! I once was a sucker for shit tests, it took me a long time to stop defending myself instead of cutting it off and life is much easier since I cut the head off that serpent whenever it comes out.
    I admire your faith. Especially in the modern world with everything that tries to force people to abandon it, in particular atheistic morons who say things such as “sky daddy” like a broken record. I know it’s not Christian for me to want to hammer their head into pulp every time they say something like that but, we can’t be perfect can we?
    I was at church ( Baptist) most every Sunday until I was 12-13 when life changed and I’ve been making excuses ever since not to go back. As I get older(49) I’ve begun to see the error of my ways and have started to consider becoming involved again. The more that the modern world demonizes Christianity the more it seems to me that it’s one of the few good things left in this world. ( not the new wave hippy-Jesus church but the old school fire and brimstone kind)

    • Jim Johnson

      Like a lot of things, a person will get out of religion what he puts into it. When I decided to get into religion I told myself that I was go in all the way for a year or so then reevaluate myself to see if I wanted to keep at it. The first few months were a little awkward but I soon was given responsibilities and felt needed there. That, my friend is where I felt the change in my life. As you look to helping others and give of yourself, not only are you helping them, you are becoming more Christlike and inviting the spirit into your life. Best of luck to you.