Every marriage goes through cycles. Here are some tips to keeping the love alive in your marriage:
On any given day, there are a million distractions: A child wakes up with a temperature, your boss moves a deadline up a week, or you’ve gotten sucked into the black hole of Buzzfeed quizzes. At the time, you really thought the priority was finding out which “Saved by the Bell” character you are.
To make marriage work, spouses must prioritize each other above all else. Take time each day to check in and give them your full attention.
2. Anticipate — and Ride Out — the Waves
Given our obsession with reality shows that focus on the wedding day and not the years of marriage that follow, many people mistakenly think marriage is one big party. It’s not. And the sooner you realize that, and accept it and commit to staying in it during even the rough times, the sooner your marriage will benefit.
3. Schedule Time Together
Sure, that might not sound romantic, but it’s really the one way to ensure quality time. Time together could be as simple as eating together after the kids have gone to bed or scheduling a date night every couple of weeks (sans kids).
4. Give a Gift
Everyone loves getting a gift, but giving presents can be equally joyful. Even a small token, like a six pack of his favorite beer or a smoothie from her favorite café, can show appreciation.
If gift giving doesn’t come naturally to you, this gift giving guide will help steer you in the right direction.
5. Do Something Laughable
We’ve all heard that laughter is the best medicine, and it’s a salve for your marriage as well. Watching a funny movie or going to a comedy show are obvious ways to laugh together, but finding humor in everyday life is just as important.
6. Reach Out and Touch Someone
OK, don’t touch someone else, touch your spouse. Obviously, sex is an important part of any marriage. But small moments of affection are crucial as well: dance, hold hands, kiss when you get home from work. These small efforts build a strong foundation of intimacy.
7. Relive the Beginning
Sometimes the hearts and flowers kind of romance that defined your early relationship seems like a distant memory. Break out the photo album, revisit early date spots, or tell these stories to your kids. Remembering what connected you at the start can help see you through.
8. Every Interaction Counts
Grand gestures and romantic dates are special, but they are not the roots of a relationship. Daily — even hourly — kindness, communication and respect about all of the “little things” of life often means there won’t be as many “big things” to confront later.
9. Open Your Ears
Part of solid communication is active listening. You need to confirm that you’ve heard your partner and understand their point of view before you can try to work out a problem or conflict.
10. Let It Go, Say You’re Sorry, Accept Apologies
We’re all tired of hearing that ubiquitous Disney song “Let It Go.” But it’s not a bad mantra in a marriage. There are going to be conflicts and most of the time they are trivial. When you need to, say “I’m sorry.” When your spouse says he/she is sorry, say “I accept your apology.” Simple as that.
11. Create Something Together
You might be thinking, “Um, we’ve already done that, and they’re called children.” Point taken. But working together as a team will help you connect to each other as you work to accomplish a joint goal. Paint a canvas to hang in the spare bedroom, cook a new recipe together for dinner, start a two-person book club — these are all simple ways you can remind yourselves that you are a team.
12. Get Active
Sometimes getting out of your comfort zone and sweating a little is all you need to reignite the spark. A hike down a local trail or a spinning class at the local gym is a great way to have a shared experience and stay connected.
13. Be Grateful
No matter how solid you think your friend’s/neighbor’s/co-worker’s marriage is, it’s a relationship death knell to compare one to another. Be grateful that you’ve found a person to share your life with and make your marriage the best it can be.
14. Try Something New
A cooking class, a day trip to a new town, an arcade visit — having a new experience will bond you and create new memories.
None of these tips are one and done. There is no silver bullet to a love-filled marriage. Sticking to your goals of strengthening your marriage and being a true partner is a life-long endeavor. Go kiss your spouse!
Featured photo credit: Carli Jean Miller via carlijeenco.com