I heard something about marriage recently that I've had a hard time grasping. I guess there are people who go into marriage with the plan that it will be their "first" or not last forever. To me, marriage is a lifelong commitment and I do everything in my power to make it last that long. I understand that things have to end in some situations, but I can't imagine going into such a serious union planning for it to end. Creating a marriage that will last a lifetime takes effort, it won't happen just because you're hoping for it.
Don't Take Date Night for Granted
When we first got married, our date nights consisted of the same thing we did every night, we just threw takeout from one of three locations into the mix. If I could go back in time and give our newlywed selves any piece of advice, it would be to make the most of our date nights. Luckily we learned just how valuable that quality date night time is and our weekly date nights are more intentional in our current stage of life.
Enjoy quality time together on a regular basis, ideally once a week, and use that time to do something out of the ordinary. Don't make "every night date night" and assume that it is part of your routine. Create your own date night bucket list. Try new restaurants and find new activities to enjoy together. Research has shown that experiencing new things together brings novelty to your relationship, helps to keep the romance alive and can help to strengthen your marriage. Date night doesn’t always have to be something new, you can enjoy old favorites as well
Create a Daily Connecting Ritual
Rituals are like traditions but on a smaller scale. They bring more meaning to part of your every day routine. An example of a ritual that you might already have in your home is singing a special song to your kids before bedtime. It’s part of your daily routine but something that they bring meaning to that action and will be something that they will look back on forever. You can do the same for your marriage and find a way to connect with each other in a deeper way throughout the day.
You might have a goodbye ritual for when one or both of you leaves for work in the morning, like a specific phrase you say or an order to your kiss and hug. Maybe you call or text each other at the same time throughout the day to check in. You could also greet each other and reconnect at the end of a time when you’ve been apart; whether it’s work, a long trip or even just a short outing during the day. Some couples have rituals at the dinner table that include the rest of the family and involve sharing the best and worst parts of their day. We love sharing a bedtime routine and ending our day connected and ready for sleep.
Take Time to Talk Daily
Most couples would say that they talk to their spouse on a daily basis, but I would go further with this tip and suggest that you talk to connect each day. It’s easy to get caught up in the monotony of every day life, (Did the bills get paid? Are the kids doing well in school? What’s the status of our current house project?) and forget to connect on a more meaningful relationship. I love phone apps and conversation starter cards because they provide ideas for taking your conversation beyond your every day tasks and truly connecting as a couple
Make Time for Each Other
Treat your marriage relationship like you did your dating relationship, don't schedule time for each other around your life, schedule your life around the time that you have to spend together. You might be able to stay together forever and live like roommates who eat meals together and sleep in the same bed, but that isn’t any fun? There's no benefit to a relationship like that!
Be sure to check in with each other during the day. There are times when our schedules are so crazy during the day that a phone call is not possible but I get the biggest smile on my face when I get a random "I hope your day is going well. I love you!" text from my husband. Our days are busy and hectic but knowing that your spouse wants to spend time with you and is willing to put other things aside to do that means a lot.
Have Fun Together Daily
Being married and an adult, you have a lot of serious things to talk about and take care of every day. There are bills to paid, jobs to do, school to attend, kids to raise and every day life crisis' to handle. But being an adult doesn't mean that there isn't any time for fun. Laugh together, watch random YouTube videos, go to the park and swing, have a snowball fight, participate in each other’s hobbies. Do something childish and forget about the adult responsibilities that you have for just a short time and your marriage will flourish!
Get Away Overnight at Least Once A Year
I credit our regular overnight getaways to a lot of success in our marriage. We have made it a priority to go somewhere for a night or two at least twice a year, three times if we’re lucky. This is something that we have been doing since we had kids and we always come home feeling refreshed and more in love than ever. Taking a day off from work together for a staycation is nice, but getting away from all of our responsibilities is even better. For those 24 hours we don’t have to think about work or household responsibilities or anything on our to do list. We use that time to go on a few dates, eat good food, relax and reconnect. It’s like going on a mini honeymoon again and again and it doesn’t always have to be somewhere exotic or a long vacation. If it’s been a while since your last overnight escape, plan one now!
The best advice I can give you is to remember what made you fall in love with your spouse in the first place. I still look at my husband and am in awe of the fact that he is mine; that I get to spend the rest of my life with him. A marriage takes work, effort, dedication, love and tears. It takes a commitment to each other and it takes strength to work through the hard times. Your marriage is the best gift you will give each other. Savor it, nurture it, appreciate it, and love each other.