Defining Sexy: One Secret to a Long-Lasting Marriage

by - February 19, 2013

The heart-shaped box was bigger than a dinner plate. Noelle's Valentine chocolates from a school boy evoked a glowing 15-year-old grin and a dreamy look in her eyes. I told her it was bigger than any I had ever received, even from her father, and she was the full moon lighting the sky.

I just returned from a Caribbean cruise, an extravagant vacation of a lifetime for us. It was romantic and decadent. We celebrated two anniversaries: ten years of remission from cancer and twenty-four years of marvelous, magnificent marriage. We didn't wait for our twenty-fifth to go on a cruise, because, after cancer, every year is a milestone.

We had cake with a single flickering candle and singing servers. It was chocolate, like Noelle's Valentine's box.

But I've come to learn that twenty-four years of marriage is sexier than a box of chocolates or a cruise. I'm thinking fifty-six years with its thinning hair and sagging sun spots is even sexier.

It may start with chocolate, love notes pinned to the windshield by wiper blades, and bouquets delivered to your office. It starts with grandiose dreams of perpetual hand-holding, him opening the car door for you, and nary an argument.  But it can't end there.

If your idea of what's sexy doesn't change over time, your love won't make it.

After twenty-four years with the man of my dreams, I've learned a few things about what's sexy and what's just empty calories.

Our first full day home from turquoise saltwater and a chef's culinary creations gracing my dinner plate included these ordinary things I now deem sexy anyway:

  • dressing for work quietly in the dark so I can hear Mike's rhythmic breathing from our bed.
  • clean undies to wear this week because he did the first load of laundry when we returned.
  • a text message that says, "call me," and when I do, he asks if he should pick up some milk.
  • picking out a new TV together because the old one finally gave out.
  • that he stayed up into the night to get it hooked up and the remote control working.
  • that he comes to find me asleep in the bed when he's through, just to put his fingers through my hair.
  • that, even though it roused me from sleep, he didn't speak.
  • that he came upstairs just for that, then returned downstairs to await our teenager's arrival home from work.
  • that he loves our mostly grown son that much.
Somewhere along the way, he stopped opening car doors for me. Wooing me gave way to working together as one, both of us opening car doors for babies and toddlers who needed help with car seats. Chocolates and roses gave way to oil changes and stripping wallpaper in the dining room, and I'm more than okay with that.

Sexy now, is finding a Dragon Tales cassette tape in our 14-year-old truck that we sold yesterday and the conjured memories of singing "Shake Your Dragon Tale" for our babies in the car. They've since become teenagers.

Now, that's sexy.

Boxed chocolates and Caribbean sunsets from a cruise ship's balcony might be romantic and surely have their place, but dirty laundry and our14-year-old truck and looking forward to dentures, so long as we do them together, is even sexier.


With marriages failing regularly, even Christian marriages, I join Jennifer's community this week to glorify God with marriages that last the long haul. Until death do us part.

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  1. Now that was sexy :) Love you babe!

  2. That is a great post Mrs. Dawn!!

  3. Dawn, after cancer, each day is a celebration and a milestone! This was a wonderful post; congratulations to you and Mike on a very happy anniversary. I wish you a life time more together of wonder and love.

    1. Yes, Thistle Cove, you are right. Each day is more gift after cancer than it already was. Somehow. I think. Or maybe cancer is a good teacher of gratitude. Either way, we celbrate every moment, take none of them for granted. Thank you for the reminder.

  4. We love celebrations and cruises - to wherever they take us. And the car-door-openings have returned as the kids grew up and went their way. But the best thing is holding hands as we fall asleep at night. I don't care where we are in this world as long as we are together. Now that's sexy! Great post Dawn. Our love to you and Mike.

    Mike and Ginger Moskau

    1. Ginger, you always inspire me each time you join my discussions on marriage. You and your Mike have gone before us as wonderful examples of how to do it right. Love to you both. Thanks for your beautiful comment.

  5. Dawn,
    Loved this post. You captured, ('way ahead of your years), a wonderful understanding of what it's like to be married and in love for a long time. Don't know if you remember me from boot camp or not--I'm the lady with the hubby in the hall waiting to carry my books, just like in high school. He has not always carried my books, but he did in H.S. and he does again now. There were a few years of carrying the kids, or the diaper bag, or ball and glove, or groceries upstairs or laundry downstairs to the Laundromat to and from our little apartment. When I was sick with cancer (13 years now for me---as of Feb. 28--I wasn't supposed to make it) he carried everything--he almost had to physically carry me. Now we have come full circle and he's carrying LOTS of stuff for me after 48 years and back to opening car doors and like I said, I had to laugh--one of the pictures Mary took at boot camp was he and I with him carrying my books. We don't wait to celebrate anything either; we just celebrate. Thanks for the wonderful reminder. Venita McCart

  6. Beautiful post! I find your thoughts so refreshing after seeing so many woman still talking about how "hawt" their man should grow to a deeper place and this kind of sexy is good :-)

  7. Great example of a life well lived. The memories created make such a strong bond. It's an encouragement to others!

  8. Your photos are beautiful. Just smiling ear to ear here. Celebrating all of your good things, right with you.

  9. Dawn, I was all in until you mentioned dentures. As a 30 year dental hygienist, one of the sexiest things my husband and I do together is floss, baby! No applesauce and pudding on our 5oth!

    Otherwise, a lovely and wise post. Thanks for sharing :) YF, Lori

  10. Sweet post, Dawn. Fun to see your pictures and read your thoughts.


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