How Romance Novels Pulled My Marriage Out of a Rut

After 16 years of marriage, my husband and I have settled into a comfortable routine. He packs the kids’ lunches and sends them off to school. I handle after school activities and cook dinner. Evenings involve sitting on our couch while catching up on our DVR’d shows. We have a handle on domesticity.

Routine may be good, but it can be boring. No matter what we talked about, we ended up discussing our jobs or something the kids did that day. Our marriage was in a rut. I couldn’t remember the last time we’d gone on a date that didn’t involve Netflix and chilling. When was the last time we actually talked about other things we enjoyed?

One morning, my husband interrupted my animated retelling of the latest romance novel I was reading.

“Can we read it together? It sounds fun.”

My mouth dropped open. Even though I listened to romance novels on my own but often shared the funny or sexy parts with him, this was the very first time he expressed interest in reading one.

Reading a book in tandem isn’t new for us. He was hooked when I introduced him to audiobooks a couple of years ago. Most of our couples book club reads were action thrillers such as Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins or The 500 by Matthew Quirk. Once the kids were tucked into bed, we updated each other on our progress and speculated on the plot twists together.

After my initial shock wore off, we agreed to read A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare on audiobook. I have a soft spot for historical romances. Dare’s books include so of my favorite catnip: sassy heroines, funny banter, and hot sex scenes.  The same qualities we love in a good romantic comedy movie.

I was nervous the day we begin listening to the book. My husband was a complete newbie to romance novels–outside of the laughable Fifty Shades of Grey sex scenes I’d read out loud to him. What if he disliked Dare’s book? Worse yet, what if he hated one of my favorite book genres?

He kissed me goodbye and left for work–earbuds tucked into his pocket. As I listened to the first few chapters at my desk, I overanalyzed each scene. Would my husband think the meet-cute was too forced? Or become bored by the historical dress descriptions that I relished? How would my thoughtful, sensitive husband respond to the arrogant alpha male hero?

I pounced on him as soon as he walked through the front door that evening. No, not like that. Think of the children! I asked him how he liked Dare’s book. “It’s cute. It’s fun.” He was grinning!

Once the kids were in bed, we discussed the chemistry between the feisty, independent Susanna and her cocky but clueless Lord Rycliff. It was easy to draw the similarities between the romance novel and a typical romantic comedy film. I was thrilled that he genuinely enjoyed the book.

As the week progressed, we eagerly discussed the couple’s awkward first kiss and the first time they got naked together aka sexy times. He even quoted seductive parts of the book as if they were cheesy pick-up lines. In a bad British accent.

What I love most about our mini romance book club was how much we laughed. Scenes from the book reminded us of our awkward first date and weird arguments. We discussed how so the couple’s problems could have been solved if only they told each other how they felt. Most nights we didn’t even turn on the television.

I wouldn’t go as far as to say that reading romance novels together saved our marriage. It’s definitely given us more time to connect and laugh together. We’ve added another dimension to our relationship. Not to mention the books have given us plenty of inspiration for our own sexy times.

Do you and your partner read together?

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