Liking the Child You Love

How to build a better relationship with your kids—even when they're driving you crazy.

Turn on Your Woman without Spending a Cent!

More enduring ways to create romance than candlelit dinners.

Men, if you want to turn on your wife or partner, leave your wallet in your pocket and try doing this. Be a domestic guy. That’s right, in the words of one of my female colleagues, "Vacuuming and doing dishes are two of the sexiest things a guy can do."

Being helpful around the house will go a long way in strengthening your loving relationship. This is because your wife or girlfriend will see you as attentive, loving, and committed. Yes, flowers and candlelight dinners have their place, too. Nice dinners and flowers, however, in the midst of you not helping out around the house, is like running the heat and the air conditioning at the same time: they just negate each other. As I wrote in my relationshiip book, Why Can't You Read My Mind?, doing random, and, not-so-random, acts of kindness goes a long way in creating lasting love. 

What I am saying here is that if you do laundry and fold it from time to time, then you are really hitting above par. Doing domestic, caring acts around the house releases a chemical in both of you called, oxytocin. Oxytocin is the “love hormone” that also acts as a neurotransmitter. When you demonstrate your caring to your wife or girlfriend, this releases natures, aphrodisiac. Similarly, when you fill your wife’s car with gas without her asking you, this also produces a pulse of oxytocin release.

According to Psychology Today, “Oxytocin is a powerful hormone. When we hug or kiss a loved one, oxytocin levels drive up. It also acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain. In fact, the hormone plays a huge role in pair bonding. Prairie voles, one of nature's most monogamous species, produce oxytocin in spades. This hormone is also greatly stimulated during sex, birth, breast feeding—the list goes on.”

Years ago, a female colleague of mine, shared that one evening she had been doing last minute preparation for a presentation on relationship satisfaction that she was about to give the following morning. She shared with me that her husband, usually an attentive, sensitive type of guy, told her that he was going to take a shower. Caught up in the fury of her last final preparation, she half smiled and responded, “No problem." Ten minutes later he called out to her through the bedroom door that was ajar. He said, “Honey come on in I’ve got something for you”. (As an aside this woman’s children were out of the house and at college). Back to the story…..

She reluctantly broke away from fine tuning her power point slides on her laptop. After all, she told herself, "Maybe he's likely about to indulge me with a nurturing, random act of kindness. Something special, perhaps? She had no idea what she was about to encounter. She walked in the bedroom only to see him lying on his back, naked, and spread eagle. My colleague frowned and walked off. They did talk and clear the air, however, soon after this incident. Her husband profusely apologized for his lack of consideration of her stress with the presentation looming the following morning. 

Suffice it to say, this usually good guy, had a bad case of some unusual bad timing. What my colleague really wanted at that point was her husband to have washed the dishes and cleaned up the kitchen. The point here is that being a domestically active man is far more of a turn on than being a guy in denial. Especially if this means not picking up your dirty socks, laying around on the couch watching excessive amounts of sports, and not listening to your lady.

Expecting your lovely lady to be loving with you when you are not helping out around the house will not help your cause. So remember, being domestically attentive to the woman of your life goes a long way in fostering feelings of love. Don’t wait to be asked to clean up! Do it on your own and do it because it is the right thing to do. And every morning, tell your wife or girlfriend that she looks beautiful and that you love her. Love is a precious commodity. Treasure your woman, treasure yourself, be a helpful partner at home, and treasure your love.

Dr. Jeffrey Bernstein is a psychologist with over twenty-two years’ experience specializing in child, adolescent, couples, and family therapy. He holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the State University of New York at Albany and completed his post-doctoral internship at the University of Pennsylvania Counseling Center. He has appeared twice on the Today Show, Court TV as an expert advisor, CBS eyewitness news Philadelphia, 10! Philadelphia—NBC and public radio. Dr. Bernstein has authored four books, including the highly popular 10 Days to a Less Defiant Child (Perseus Books, 2006), 10 Days to Less Distracted Child (Perseus Books 2007), Liking the Child You Love (Perseus Books 2009) and Why Can’t You Read My Mind? (Perseus Books 2003).

Jeffrey Bernstein, Ph.D., has authored four books, including 10 Days to a Less Defiant Child.

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