Remember when you started dating your spouse? You put a lot of effort into getting to know them inside and out: what they like do and don’t like, things to do together, what you have in common. Time and care were taken to fit into each other’s families as well… Social media today is filled with stories about love won and lost. We spend our time online being bombarded with stories about celebrities dating and breaking up. You may even have a few friends of your own who are either getting ready to be married or have hit some rough times in their marriage. You watch romantic comedies and wish falling in love was that simple. What happens after the ring is on your finger? Marriage is supposed to be the easy part. Right?
We tend to think that now we don’t have to expend the effort since we won the prize. Yes, marriage changes things. You’ve committed to each other and promised to spend your years with one person only. However, that promise is no guarantee of a happily ever after It’s that kind of thinking that can damage any long-term relationship, including marriage. Here are some ways you can work towards keeping the romance alive.
1. Set a Date Night
Marriage is about time. Time with your children, time with responsibilities, even time together in your community. However, you need to make time for each other, especially if you have children who still require a babysitter. It’s easy to fall into the mindset of, “Oh, we’ll have years together after the children are grown.” If you don’t set time aside for each other now, those years may never come. It’ll be worth the cost of a babysitter now when you still enjoy spending time together later.
2. Express Yourself
Let your spouse know you care. This can be as simple as three words. No, not just those words. (Though those are nice too.) Try, “Thank you, dear.” Showing appreciation makes the recipient feel appreciated and lets them know that you notice the effort they take in fulfilling their responsibilities to your family. Being willing to use your words can clear up a lot of misunderstandings before they happen.
3. Time Off
Let your spouse spend some time doing what they love to do when they are alone. This may mean that you offer to take the kids out of the house for an evening with the guys or play chauffeur for girls’ night out. So much time goes into being together as a family, we sometimes forget to be people outside of our marriage too. This will help keep you in touch with friends as well and these people will support you both when times get hard.
4. An Easy Touch
A touch on the neck, cheek, hand, or back communicates trust and love. Your partner has let you into their personal bubble and accepts that you won’t hurt them physically. A hug means a lot, especially when it’s given for no particular reason other than to touch your partner.
5. Listen Up
That’s all you have to do. No reply needed, no solutions offered. Sometimes all a spouse wants to do is to vent about their day. Put down the phone, shut down the computer, and leave the TV off. Tell your partner that you’re here to listen to them, and it’s their choice how they want you to respond. Sometimes a living wall is the best thing for expressing the highs and lows of a day.
6. Yours, Mine, Our… Money
Money can be one of the touchiest subjects between spouses. It leads to hiding and secrets, as well as debt which affects both persons in the relationships. It is one of the biggest causes of dishonesty. We spent a large chunk of our adult lives using our own money for items that we want, but being in a marriage means that we have collective needs and so we have to be honest together about how that money needs to be used. A mutual budget can be a proactive way to take care of this issue up front.
7. Pillow Talk
Taking time to be intimate is extremely important. It’s easy to think that there’ll be time later for time together in bed. You may even think that this part of your relationship is over once you’re married and have committed to sharing your body with only one person. However, that physical connection is important. Much like random embraces and caresses, the body responds with chemicals that make you feel good. Intimate touch also means trust between two partners and trust is a foundation for a long marriage.
Sometimes confessing to the something, even when it is shameful, can be a huge indication of trust in your partner. It also means that you are considering the impact your decision can have on your relationship. It takes courage to admit when you’re wrong or have done something which you may need help to solve. Be honest with your feelings as well instead of hiding them to spare your partner some discomfort.
9. Watch Your Mouth
Take an extra moment to think before you speak. Your words can easily come out harsher than intended, but your partner will likely remember them for a long time. Try to avoid generalizations of “you never” or “you always”. That isn’t possible, regardless of how it may feel at the moment. Much like honesty, say what you actually mean to say and consider how your words will affect your spouse.
10. Promises, Promises
Keep a promise. Not just your wedding vows, but even little promises like being somewhere on time or picking up groceries at the store. These are little things that can go by the wayside because we are sure your partner will continue to forgive us. However, these add up over time and give the impression that you cannot be trusted to put in the effort needed for your part in the family. Keep your commitments and do what you say you will.
Ways to Keep the Romance Alive
The world offers many distractions that take us away from our families and try to replace our priorities Marriage is a choice you have to make every day. It is made up of a lot of little moments like promises kept and kind words spoken. It gives you the power to lift and support your partner in a way that even lifelong friends cannot. Many of the things you can do to keep your marriage strong revolve around trust and mutual respect. By continuing the consideration you took when dating your partner, you can keep your relationship strong and long-lasting.