The Surprising Thing That Gave My Marriage a Sexy Boost

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It all started with my husband’s decision to dress up as Wolverine for Halloween last year. He didn’t even know beards had become a thing; he simply stopped shaving so he would be more legit for his costume. I had always preferred a freshly shaven look with a hint of aftershave cologne on men, but I was in full support of his commitment to his Wolverine costume and growing some character-appropriate facial hair. 

It took all of a week for a full beard to grow in, and people — women and men — started freaking out about it. “Ohhhh, your beard looks ah-mazing!” his female coworkers told him. “Dude, nice beard,” more than one friend said when they saw him. “Wow, your beard is hot,” his hair stylist said. “It really suits you.”

In fact, the only person not excited about my husband’s beard was, well, me. While he looked great and he was no doubt very handsome with a beard, it was odd that he didn’t look like himself. We’d been married for 18 years and he had never had a beard or a even a different haircut before. Also, in order to kiss him I had to aim exactly right or be stabbed by toothpick-sharp bristles.

Halloween came along, and his costume was epic, not to mention the cheapest ever. (He had also grown out his hair, saving a ton of money on hair cuts.) With his hair spiked up on the sides, his beard in full force, and a leather jacket / white tee combo, he was the spitting image of Wolverine. He got some great comments as we walked through our festive, crowded, and party-hopping neighborhood while our kids Trick-or-Treated. “Yo, it’s Wolverine!” exclaimed a pirate holding a red solo cup of beer. 

I thought after Halloween he would ditch the beard. Come November, however, it was still around. I would ask him occasionally when he thought he would shave (hint, hint), and he would reply, “Soon.” By Christmas he still hadn’t shaved, so I figured it was final; he was going to keep the beard. I tried to accept it and in good humor put some Amish beard balm in his stocking. I advised him about the special care beards needed. We had some good laughs. He joked that he would grow his beard as long as Brett Keisel‘s and I threatened to shave it in his sleep if he did.

Then, in the spring, we had the rare opportunity to go on an overnight trip (alone!), and he surprised me by shaving. I squealed and touched his cheeks for the first time in months. I thought I would be elated to have my “old” husband back, but the more I stared at him, the more I realized I had changed my mind about the beard; I actually missed it!

Because here’s the thing: With a beard, my husband looked hot in a whole new way. With all the attention he was getting, I saw him in a new light. I fantasized we were strangers and I was meeting him for the first time. I envisioned him asking me on a first date all over again and got butterflies! You bet I would go out with him! Where I was once attracted to (and had fallen in love with) a smart, cute college kid 20 years prior, now that he looked like the 40- something man he was, I I got to be attracted to (and fall in love with) him all over again. 

I also loved watching the confidence that his beard gave him. Kids on the football team he coached listened to him more attentively as he approached them, and he engaged everyone with a more sure attitude. Where once he was shy at parties, now he was chatting comfortably. I think he felt taken more seriously, both at work and on the field.

And lastly, I loved that after so many years together, he could still surprise me. My Aunt Lori once told me that being married for many years means falling in and out of love with the same person over and over. Well, I’ve never fallen out of love with my husband, but the beard experience has certainly made me see him differently. The beard is back, and I feel as lucky as I did 20 years ago when we met on the quad for a kiss between classes!

Photo: Getty