Samara O'Shea

Working Title & Summary

Winter Schminter. It’s brainstorming season! I have a book idea. Since May, when I first mentioned it, the idea has continued to take form. I have a working title and the bare bones of a book proposal. Earlier this year I thought, I’ll get to it when I do, but now I’m determined to see it through. Here’s to finding—no, making—time to complete it in 2020. The working title (followed by the working summary) is:

Sex on a Spreadsheet: Using Practical (as Opposed to Magical) Thinking to Improve Your Marriage

First, you don’t have to make an actual spreadsheet. You can use smartphone apps and/or pen and paper. The book is about applying SMART (Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Time bound) Goals to your marriage or long-term relationship. Sounds incredibly unsexy, I realize. Unless, of course, it actually results in more frequent sex, spontaneous romance, surplus laughter, and a deeper overall connection.

We apply objective goals to everything from work productivity to retirement savings. The meditation app Headspace boasts that some participants are 28% less sad. Why not increase relationship satisfaction by 32% or more?

Magical thinking in a relationship looks like this: Things will work themselves out. He’ll change. She’ll never change. We’ll have sex again once the kids are out of diapers (or out of the house). Love will conquer all. People spend years (sometimes decades) unhappy in marriages because of these broad promises that rarely, if ever, come to fruition. Practical thinking means addressing issues as they arise and actively trying to increase the good (intimacy and quality conversation) and decrease the bad (arguments and mistruths)—rather than waiting for change to miraculously happen.

Going to counseling when there’s a crisis is like going to the doctor once the diagnosis is terminal. Sex on a Spreadsheet is preventative medicine for your marriage. Have regular checkups. If your cholesterol is a little high, you can prevent the heart attack. If you’re pre-diabetic that’s great news! It means you can prevent diabetes the same way you can prevent misunderstandings, betrayals and rock-hard resentment.