Marriage is a journey, a commitment, and can be the source of tremendous joy. And like anything that really matters, it demands a certain amount of care and tending to stay strong. The demands of daily family life can put a strain on married couples. Bills, work, kids, the house, all those things can be stressors that, when ignored, can drive a wedge between people who really love each other. But, the keys to keeping a marriage strong and romance thriving in your relationship are very small and easy to use. They just take commitment.
1. The Power of Touch
Remember the heady days when you first fell in love? When you thought you could never get enough of hand-holding and hugging? Marriage brings with it an opportunity for increased intimacy, a joy all its own, but too often results in a decrease of “contact comfort”, the small and simple touches that say “I love you” without leading directly to sex. Holding hands, a hug in the middle of the day for no other reason than just a statement of affection, playing “footsie” while sitting on the couch watching the evening news; these little touches can pay big dividends in romantic feelings in marriage. A great way to rekindle the romance of new love is to behave the way you did when you first fell head over heels.
2. Love is Spelled T-I-M-E
With so many other demands on the adults in a home, it can be hard to find the time to be alone together, but for romance to thrive you must do more than fall exhausted into the same bed every night. While it can be comforting to sleep next to your sweetheart, a deeper relationship requires more than just snoozing next to each other. You need time to talk, play, and nurture your feelings together. Make time, at least once a week, to go out on a date. Just the two of you, enjoying being together and recalling all the reasons you fell in love. Added responsibilities haven’t changed who you are as people, it’s just given you more opportunities to explore your strengths. Your dates don’t have to be expensive; go for a walk along a river, watch a $1 movie, go for a drive to see the city lights, or share a chocolate milkshake and fries. Whatever you decide to do, commit to leave worries behind for an hour or two, focus on the positive things in your life as a couple, and listen to your spouse.
3. Seek Out Adventure
No one likes stale bread, stale rooms, or stale relationships. In order to keep your relationship strong, it needs new growth. You’re going to grow and change over the years and your relationship needs to grow too. A great way to keep romance alive is to seek out new things to do together. Have you always wanted to try rock climbing? Invite your spouse along and turn it into a date. Are you thinking of running a marathon? Try training together. Having goals and achievements that you meet individually and together as a couple give you quantifiable markers of the efforts you are putting into your relationship. Don’t let your dates get stale by going to the same burger joint and talking about the same gossip every week. Change it up, do something new, dream big!
4. Remember Small Courtesies
Romance thrives on small gestures of kindness. A call in the middle of the day to say “I love you” or a text to remind your sweetheart that you are thinking of them at a random time. A note sent home when you are away on business or a flower delivered for no other reason than you’re glad you’re married can go a long way to nurturing love and marital happiness. Along with those gestures, don’t forget the simple courtesies like “Thank You.” Nothing will kill affection faster than taking a spouse for granted. No one likes to think that their efforts don’t matter. Remember to say thank you for the dinner, for working the long hours, for staying up with the sick child, for being patient with an in-law, or remembering a special day.
Love is a treasure worth caring for and keeping. What are your favorite ways to keep YOUR love and romance alive?