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October makes me think of romance. Partially because I got married in October, and partially because it is the time that I am most likely to see a positive portrayal of romance within married, family life. I’m talking about the healthiest, most stable couple in relationship history: Gomez and Morticia Addams.
Yes, I’m serious. Dead serious.
The thing about the Addams family is that they are subversive. They are counterculture and non-traditional in every aspect of their family life… which means they are a married couple who truly adore each other and whose sexual fantasies and desire center around the person they married. An aspirational monogamous long-term relationship with kids? Counterculture indeed.
I find this fascinating, because obviously we are told this is the way it is “supposed to be,” and I think most of us would agree this is the way “it’s supposed to be,” and yet, how many other portrayals of couples like this do we see in our media?
Yeah, it’s grim. The majority of our favorite TV and film couples grow to resent each other at worst, and barely tolerate each other at best. From The Honeymooners to Married With Children, the tense, dysfunctional marriage is a classic sitcom mainstay. Even when a fictional married couple gets along fairly well, like in Modern Family, we mostly see portrayals of couples who are busy with the lives of their kids and responsibilities… and that is probably the truth for most of us in real life as well.
In most of our media, we get a lot of meet-cute romance stories about limerence, but not a lot of examples of how to hold that flame after decades of a relationship. So how do Morticia and Gomez Addams make it work? Maybe the key is to make sure you keep your wife showered with rose-less thorns? Maybe it’s keeping a work-life balance that includes a lot of sword dancing? I’m sure having a full-time undead butler would
keep a lot of our day-to-day stress mitigated, but joking aside, I think there are actual keys to this fictional couple’s success we could all learn from.
The true lessons we can learn from Gomez and Morticia and apply to our own relationships have a lot less to do with goth fashion—although please rock it if that brings you pleasure—and a lot more to do with the way they prioritize and interact with one another:
- Make your partner the focus of your desire and express that to them, even in times when you aren’t trying to sleep with them. It’s easy to say sexy things when you’re in the mood, but when you constantly whisper sweet nothings—or text them—to your partner throughout the day, reminding them that you desire them, that they are sexy and vibrant, and the way they handle life and your family and relationship is attractive to you—that is where the magic is. You can make foreplay last all day long, and that build-up makes the times you can be intimate even better. Find your own “Cara Mia.”
- It’s us against the world. Gomez and Morticia are counterculture. They thrive marching to the beat of their own dirge. You can still love your Pumpkin Spice lattes and take a lesson in this. You and your spouse, you and your family, are the team. If everyone else is berating their spouses in the time-honored “ugh, my husband always” or “my wife can never,” take the moment to judge them later with your spouse… I’m kidding… sort of. But seriously, it’s important to have a safe space to vent, but make sure that at the end of the day your family is your actual priority and team. Who cares what the neighborhood thinks of your pet hand?
- Notice when your partner is upset. Morticia and Gomez both make sure the other feels seen. They give each other space to deal with their problems, but they also talk about the things that are bothering them and always offer support. Feeling seen is honestly the most important thing you can offer someone you love.
- Work/life balance. Okay sure, there’s an inherited-wealthy thing going on here that would be very helpful for many of us, but the Addams are always ready to stop and dance or to check in on their kids’ hobbies and school activities. While they may not pass any parenting safety standards, they thrive on knowing who their kids are in an authentic and real way.
- Communicate your needs. “Gomez, last night—you were unhinged. You were like some desperate, howling demon. You frightened me. Do it again!” See how she was clear and flattering while communicating her desires? This works for taking out the trash, too.
Now: go out there and have a romantic October, full of the most counterculture, happy relationship you can manage.
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