Sexy Corte and I just listened to divorce lawyer James Sexton on the Lex Fridman podcast, and he offered a bunch of interesting relationship advice from his perspective as a person who has had a front-row seat to thousands of divorces. (We shouldn’t need to say it, but we will: we don’t endorse all his advice!)
Sexton says that the number one predictor of a break-up is disconnection — when spouses stop trying to impress each other and stop doing the little things that demonstrate their love for each other. He illustrated this idea with a story called “granola and blow jobs” that you can read on his blog.
I was speaking with a female client once, during a long wait in Family Court before a divorce was finalized. I asked her when she knew her marriage was officially over and she told me, in an uncharacteristically nostalgic and melancholy tone, that it was NOT when she caught him texting with his mistress, and NOT when she found the bank records that showed he was gambling his entire bonus rather than bringing it home. It was months before all that when she noticed, for the first time, that he stopped buying her granola.
“There was this particular brand of granola that I like and when we were first dating and married he would always notice when I was running low on it and get me a new bag of it when he would go to Whole Foods for lunch (he worked in the Time Warner Center above the Whole Foods). I never mentioned it to him – I don’t know that I really noticed all that much that he did it – but it was a nice feeling – that he noticed I was low on my favorite granola, and that he knew it was my favorite, and that he was thinking of me while he was in Whole Foods and brought it home for me and didn’t even think to point it out and try to “get credit” for all of that. It was just something he did because he was thinking of me and knew this silly small unique thing gave me pleasure. One day I noticed I was out of that granola and he hadn’t bought it for me. I was a little surprised but I didn’t think much of it. The next time I ran out I left the bag on the counter as a subtle hint – but he never bought it for me again. I think there was a part of me that knew, at that moment, I was no longer on his radar and things were heading south.”
I asked her if there was anything like that on her end of the relationship and she replied flatly:
I almost spit out my coffee.
“I know it sounds silly and it might be inappropriate to say – but I used to give him blow jobs a few times per week. It took all of five minutes in the morning and for the rest of the day he was all giddy and happy. I got a kick out of how much he enjoyed it. But after some time married I started sleeping in a bit more and I just didn’t think to take that five minutes to do it. Plus I had this feeling of, I don’t know, resentment – like I don’t OWE him a blow job and I’ve got 50 things to do today – he can wait until I get home tonight and we can have sex so both of us enjoy it. But I guess that was his granola in some ways. I don’t know.”
So there it is. Granola and blow jobs.
What are the little things you do for your spouse that demonstrate your love? Don’t forget to consider your love languages (and podcast episode)! If you want your spouse to feel loved you should try to speak in their love language, not only your own. If you want to feel more loved, learn to recognize when your spouse is trying to show you love in their native love language, even if it’s not your own.