Marriage. It’s the most wonderful and most difficult thing ever. I remember being told that it would be difficult, but I underestimated the weight of those statements. I feel like nothing can truly prepare you for marriage… You pretty much have to rely on the grace of God to guide you through. And each time you make it over a hurdle, you are exponentially stronger. Not only are you stronger, but you come to the other side with more tools in your belt. One of the areas of our marriage in which we are actively jumping hurdles is the whole “how to keep the spark alive” thing.
Don’t get me wrong— we are crazy about each other in every single way. But life. Seriously, y’all. Life has a way of sucking us dry from time to time. And even as we draw on the strength of God to fill us up, we still find ourselves tired and empty at the end of the day. When are tired and empty, it’s all too easy to put our marriage on the back burner. Because sleep. We admittedly prioritize rest over one another from time to time. And while we do think that’s okay, we also think sometimes it’s more out of habit than true need.
So, with Valentine’s Day coming up and all things lovey floating around, I wanted to share our top 5 way to keep the spark alive in marriage.
- Do something different. Our number one tip is to break up the routine. It is so easy to just get in a routine and stay there. This is true even if you don’t have kids, but especially with children. It’s so easy to just live in “get it done, now what” mode. We often catch ourselves living our lives in such structure that there is little to no space left for excitement. I know that my life is usually a revolving to-do list and at the end of the day I just want to sink into my bed and dream about sleeping. Realizing the need to break up the monotony has been a game changer for us. While my husband and I both really thrive on structure, there’s space to break up the routine and do something different. And when we choose to do that— to break up our routine and lose some of the structure— we bring an excitement into the picture that is much needed. And you know what? We never regret it. We never look back and think that the schedule was more valuable. So choose to make space for something different. Be spontaneous. Lose the routine for a day and see what good it brings.
- Try new things together. This one is HUGE. Trying something new is actually very stimulating for the human brain. And trying something new with someone is even more stimulating. Doing new things stimulates the two biggest “feel good” chemicals— dopamine and norepinephrine. Those two chemicals also happen to be the chemicals that spark the feelings of romantic love. Basically, they are the chemicals that allow butterflies in your tummy. Trying something new with your significant other is a fast track to feeling nice and lovey. Now, what you choose to try is totally up to you. Perhaps you have always wanted to do a painting class and sip wine while attempting to be the next Van Gogh. Or maybe you have always wanted to take a pottery or ceramics class. Perhaps you have always wanted to rent a tandem bike and go on a ride Or, maybe you’re wanting to up the fun level in the bedroom. Whatever your thing is, go for it. It will bring some much needed fun (and probably lots of laughter) to your marriage.
- Surprise one another. Now, I know all you surprise haters are frowning. But seriously. Wouldn’t you love it if your husband came home and surprised you with tickets to see your favorite band? What’s not to love about that? I’m not talking about “expected surprises.” What I mean is, a lot of people that hate surprises hate the idea of getting surprises at expected times. There’s too much opportunity for disappointment in not getting what you want. But what about ordinary Tuesday evenings when you aren’t expecting a darn thing? You can’t really go wrong. And it doesn’t have to be something crazy expensive and over-the-top. It could be as simple as a bar of chocolate. It could be a note hidden inside your husbands lunch or under his pillow. Take time to surprise your loved one with something they least expect. It will remind them that you were thinking about them, and show them that you made an effort to bless them.
- Turn up the humor. It’s literally impossible to be mad while you are laughing. I mean, unless you are “laughing” because you are mad. But that’s not what we are talking about here. We are talking about the feel good laughter that literally is medicine to your soul. Laughter is something that brings us together and helps us bond. It is also something that helps us cope. Whether it’s coping with the trivial things that don’t really matter or with the tragic seasons in life, laughter is a great way to do that together in a relationship. Often times, couples forget to laugh together. Sometimes it’s just personality (some people just aren’t as funny or outgoing with their humor) but more often it’s that we get tense in life and we need a reminder to loosen up. Try turning up the humor in your marriage for an added spark. Not only will you lighten the mood, you might just realize things about one another that you didn’t before. I know that when my sense of humor comes out, my husband always tells me that he loves me even more. He gets to see a side of me that only comes out when I feel totally safe. And even that— recognizing that I feel safe with him— brings us closer together. Start being funny together and see what it does for your marriage.
- Have a “no-phone” zone. Who isn’t distracted by their phone these days? Seriously… how many of you have looked across the table at dinner to see your spouse or significant other looking down at their phone? And we’ve all been the one to do it, too. It’s so easy to check out and just passively scroll through our phones looking at a whole bunch of nothing, when our everything is sitting right in front of us. Take control of the addiction and have a “no-phone” zone in your marriage. Maybe you decide to have no phones in the bedroom or no phones at the dinner table. Maybe you simply have an hour each night where you put your phones away and do something together. Whatever it looks like for you, make it happen. Putting phones away will create space for you to be together without being distracted. It may feel weird at first, and you might even feel bored. That’s okay. Just like it’s a good idea to let kids be bored from time to time, it’s good for us as adults as well. And in marriage, it will help us get creative and find new ways to connect and have fun.
There you have it! Five ways to keep the spark alive in your marriage. This marriage stuff is hard, but hopefully we can offer a few tips to make it a little easier! And as always, feel free to drop your tips in the comments below, because Lord knows we all need a little help!