Marriage is a lifetime commitment. And, as with any long journey, it will have its ups and downs. The ups are full of joy – and the downs? Not so much. But there are ways of keeping a relationship alive throughout it all. If you’re feeling like you need a reminder of just how much you love your partner, here are 6 ways to rejuvenate your marriage or long-term relationship.
Letting Things Stagnate
God brings us together in marriage, as He did right from the start with Adam and Eve.
Yahweh God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” —Genesis 2:18
Yet, even when we’re with the right partner, sometimes we let things stagnate. This can happen as early as two years into the marriage, according to a 2003 study of 1,761 couples cited in the New York Times. Fortunately, there are ways of keeping a relationship alive. in fact, if we tough it out past the early rough spots, things get better and can even return to a blissful honeymoon stage.
If the spark is fading a bit in your relationship, or if it’s strong and healthy and you want to keep it that way, try these six tips to avoid becoming a statistic:
6 Ways Of Keeping A Relationship Alive
Remind Your Spouse Of The Things You Love About Them
Fights are inevitable in marriage. Fighting can even be a good thing, although it might not feel that way when you and your spouse are engaged in heated battle. Disagreement is a normal part of life, so you may be burying issues instead of dealing with them if you never have any conflicts in your marriage.
Still, those disagreements can take a toll unless you take steps to offset the damage. One of the best ways to do this is to remind your spouse of what you love about him or her. Make it a point to share at least one thing every day, even if you’re mad at each other. Actually, that’s the best time, since it’s a great way to diffuse tension. Keeping a relationship alive can be as simple as reminding them (and you) how much you care.
Use Small, Romantic Gestures That Make A Big Impact
When people think about doing something romantic, they mistakenly think it has to be a big, grand gesture, but you don’t have to come up with a diamond ring or Super Bowl tickets. Yes, those things are nice, but small, romantic gestures are just as important because they show you’re thinking about your spouse. Better yet, you can do them more often when they don’t break the bank.
The key here is not size, scope, or expense. Make it something that shows you know your spouse, like surprising her with the latest book from her favorite author and a bubble bath where she can relax and read it, or having his car detailed and filling it with it with an air freshener of his favorite scent.
Do Something You Dislike That Your Spouse Loves
Even soul mates are bound to have some differences. That’s fine because they can complement your relationship, but they might cause some friction, too. Use this to your advantage to show your mate just how much you care.
For example, maybe you cringe when your spouse watches football or NASCAR. Imagine how excited he’d be if you bought tickets to a game or race and went with him to show your support. Perhaps you hate shopping on Black Friday with a passion, while your partner takes special pride in snagging all the best bargains. Head out to shop with her at midnight, and help her by holding a place in line or rushing for that laptop she really wants while she grabs that hot toy for the kids.
Do Something Out Of Character
Marriage can feel a bit stale if you always do the same old things and never move out of your comfort zone. So a great way of keeping a relationship alive can be to do something totally out of character with your spouse. For example, if you tend to be a serious couple, spend the day at a local theme park and let yourselves act silly.
If you’re not risk takers, go zip lining or try a hot air balloon ride. If you’ve never seen an opera, give it a whirl. At best, it will be a fun memory. At worst, even if you hate it, you can both laugh together at the misadventure.
Write New Wedding Vows And Share Them With Your Spouse
When you’re thinking about keeping a relationship alive, remember that marriages grow and change over the years. Your relationship is very different once you have children, and it changes again at empty nest time. Even if you don’t have kids, without that newlywed spark, the giddy early years give way to more sedate routines. When this happens, you might wonder if your partner would still say “I do” if given the chance to do it all over again.
Rekindle the romance and prove that you’re just as much in love now, even though the relationship has matured, by writing a new set of wedding vows. Focus on all the reasons that you’re in the marriage for the long term and read those vows to your partner with sincerity.
Say ‘Thank You’
This sounds really simple, yet gratefulness is something that we often forget after we’ve been married for a few years. We start to take those home cooked meals for granted or figure that we can always count on the other person to watch the kids when we have something to do.
In 1 Thessalonians, we’re instructed to be grateful to God: In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus toward you. —1 Thessalonians 5:18
If thankfulness pleases our Lord and Creator, imagine how much it can lift the spirits of your spouse. A heartfelt “Thank you for all you do” can be more precious than any gift because it shows your gratefulness and love.
You may also be interested in: Beating Marital Mediocrity: How to Keep A Relationship Fresh