Friday, September 12, 2008

"365 Nights: A Memoir of Intimacy" by Charla Muller

Because I work in a library/book-related field, I get to see all kinds of books. Some are titles that I've been wanting to read and others are like this title, something that catches my eye and looks interesting enough that I eventually just check it out. I'm usually not too disappointed by books in this second category, and this one was no different.

Charla and her husband are a typical married couple with two kids. Granted, the kids came VERY early in the marriage, but things are pretty good between them. Well, except for the fact that they don't have sex very often, and that's mostly due to the author's lack of desire for said activity after chasing two small children around all day, not to mention the other duties of running a household. Despite the fact that she's not what one would call a "saucy wench", when her hubby turns 40, she offers him the most unique, personal gift she can imagine (and anyone else could, either, I dare say) - sex every night for his 40th year.

Her girlfriends thought she was insane. She thought she might be, too. But what was even stranger was that her husband didn't immediately jump at "The Gift". Was her marriage really in trouble after all?

In a nutshell, no. Her hubby was a really smart guy who wanted The Gift very much, but knew his wife well enough to be afraid that she wouldn't be able to, uh, deliver on said gift. Now, if you're looking for a how-to book full of techniques on making love for 365 nights straight, look elsewhere (pick up a copy of the Kama Sutra or The Joy of Sex). If, however, you're looking for a fairly entertaining read about a regular woman who's trying to make her hubby happy and get her life in order at the same time, this is a pretty good place to start. The book truly is more memoir than anything else, and I have to admit, I rather liked Charla. I'm not sure we'd be the best of friends or anything, but the person that comes across on the page was one I wouldn't mind hanging out with from time to time. And it does sound like she and her family have a good life, except in this one area.

I could appreciate that she learned a few things along the way, namely that even though she wasn't turning down her hubby all those previous encounters, that was how he saw it. As she stated, it's hard to make the distinction between turning down the act of sex and turning down the person. And trust me, the person who's offering IS hurt when turned down, even if he/she is trying to rationalize in his/her mind the exact same thing. Rejection hurts even when you're married, folks. I also admired her for saying that, at least for her, she could not have it all; she just was not one of those women who could be a super-mommy, working a high-demand job and raising her kids all at the same time. She has a very good "aha!" moment involving her SUV and a set of lost keys... one I thought was funny but very poignant as well.

If this doesn't sound like you're kind of book, no problem. I can pretty much sum up the basic theme - find a way to stay intimate with your spouse, especially if you have children. Look, this isn't anything new; remember how much Dr. Phil has harped that you should be a couple first and parents second? Well, much as I hate to admit it, he's right. Children need good role models, so why not model a loving, thoughtful, caring relationship for them? If you're being intimate (and this isn't only about sex - I would include hand-holding, kissing, hugging, etc, all the little things that indicate that you're connected), your kids will see that relationship and get to know what one looks like. And as the author pointed out, you're probably a nicer person when you're being intimate with your spouse; there are a lot of things that you realize aren't worth arguing over. Who cares how the towels are folded? If the man did the laundry, actually washed/dried/folded/put away everything, LET HIM. So you have different styles - neither is wrong, just different. After all, they say opposites attract!

No comments: