Recently, the thought of keeping your marriage fresh has been on my mind. My twin brother recently proposed to his significant other while I, on the other hand, am looking forward to my 30-year anniversary coming up in September!
I am not sure if it is the rounded number 30 that has me thinking or just the fact that my brother is just now getting hitched. I do not believe I have ever felt like my marriage was work, but I will say that communication, respect, and subtle gestures are key ingredients to what makes ours work so well. Learn more about caring gestures including the forehead-kiss.
Without a doubt, it helps to marry your best friend. I think one of the most important things to remember is that you should never start to take the other person for granted. Whether it is in the way they look or in the little things they do that make life easier and more enjoyable.
Read more on keeping your marriage fresh and how to protect your marriage from an affair.
Love or Lust
It turns out that the excitement of new love supposedly recedes after a mere two years! Couples then enter into what is known as a companionable relationship. A companionable relationship is when you feel connected in your lives, and things seem to be relatively easy going. To me, it just sounds boring. I mean, what are you supposed to do after the first two years? Check out the New York Times article on the short shelf life of newlywed love.
Don't get me wrong. I want a marriage that is easy going, but I also want a husband that tells me I am beautiful and gorgeous and makes me believe it in the ways he shows his passion. I want to have spontaneous, fun moments that make me laugh and feel like the most special person in his world.
Tips For Keeping Your Marriage Fresh
- Pay Attention to the Little Things: This one seems so simple and yet is probably the one that gets forgotten the most. Take a few minutes and jot down all the reasons why you love your spouse. I love my husband because he still gives me a kiss before he leaves for work every day, and he always puts cucumbers on my Subway sandwich! It is easy to start to take the little things for granted, but they are there, and you only need to rediscover them.
- Get Out and Find New and Exciting Experiences: Perhaps you are not bored with your spouse, but your life has turned a bit dull. Do you find yourself doing the same things every evening? Shake it up a bit and take a walk to enjoy the sunset or go for a bike ride together. Plan to go to a summer evening concert during the week or just enjoy a drink at a fun restaurant. If you do not usually cook together, then prepare a meal together and enjoy a romantic, candlelit dinner! Of course, intimacy is a large part of keeping your marriage fresh. Find ways to keep your married sex life fresh.
- Travel to New Places, See New Things: Seeing new things and being in new places sparks the area of the brain associated with novelty and pleasure. Plan a trip you have always wanted to take together or if funds and timing are not right, plan a getaway to a local Bed and Breakfast or book a room at a nearby hotel (I promise you will feel a thousand miles away even if it is just up the street). If traveling is not in the plans, then try to move the furniture in your home, paint a wall a different color or buy a new painting. Seeing a spouse that has had a recent makeover, either with a new hairstyle or clothing change can create a spark!
- Plan Little, Thoughtful Surprises: Have some fun banter with text messages, cook his or her favorite meal, plan take out, or offer your spouse a massage. Leave a lipstick note on the bathroom mirror. Also, you can buy your spouse's favorite snack and leave it in their vehicle or pack it in their lunchbox or briefcase. Just for fun, leave a love note under his/her pillow or on the bathroom mirror. For the man in your life, plan a movie night with a film that he would like (no chick flicks allowed).
- Lessen the Distractions: I know in today's world of social media, emails, and text messages, that keeping your marriage fresh can be difficult as it is harder to focus on each other; but it can be done! I get annoyed when I go to restaurants these days and there are televisions on every wall (and people are watching them). I also think it is sad to see couples engaged with their phones rather than talking with one another.
Turn the phones off when you go out to eat, leave the television off for a while at home so you can listen to music together or talk, and show a genuine interest in your spouse by asking them about their day and feelings.
Marriage is not mundane and boring unless you allow it to become that way. However, you will need to put some thought and effort into keeping your marriage fresh. Never stop recognizing what is was about your spouse that made you fall in love with them in the first place.