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Are there ever days when you feel like your marriage has become all business without any fun or romance? I know there are weeks when we get so caught up our every day routines and the things that we have to get done that we fall into a “business partner” mindset. I spend my days managing our household and working, Joe spends his days at work and after he gets home, we spend our nights getting dinner on the table, enjoying family time, getting the kids to bed and the house cleaned up, bills paid and discussions that need to be had about household business. That’s a lot of “adulting” and we sometimes forget that romantic and fun side of our relationship in the process.
If you ever find yourselves stuck in the same rut, whether it’s just for a short season or an extended amount of time, I hope this post and these ideas will help you. I believe that by being intentional and making your marriage and the romance between the two of you a priority, you will find your way back to that newlywed excitement and find yourselves more in love than ever. These tips will help keep the romance alive in your marriage.
Ways to Keep the Romance Alive in Your Marriage
Maybe the simplest thing you can do to find that fun and romantic side of your relationship again is to flirt with each other. And it’s so easy to sneak this into your daily interactions and the things that you’re already doing. Send flirty texts during the day, answer your phone with a flirty “hey you” or something similar, sneak a long kiss or two every so often. Whatever flirting is to you, make it happen. You might catch your spouse off guard at first, but keep it up because they’ll catch on soon enough ;)
Respond to your spouse’s bids
John Gottman has coined the term “bids for connection” and says that this is when your spouse attempts to connect with you by seeking attention, affirmation or affection. When you recognize and respond to those bids in a positive way, you are increasing the connection that you and your spouse have. When your spouse makes a bid, go above and beyond to fulfill it!
Develop a daily connecting ritual
When life gets crazy, I’ve found that the best way to keep your relationship grounded and remember where you started is to have something in your routine that helps you connect daily. Some couples choose to start their day together and sit down to connect over a big breakfast before they head into work or after the kids have gone to school. Other couples sit down with a treat or their favorite drink and connect at the end of the day, when the to do list is complete and the house is quiet. Make these moments a time to connect on a personal level and set the “business” of life aside.
Clean out your master suite
Raise your hand if your master bedroom feels cluttered with piles of things that you need to do something with but haven’t yet. Does your room become the dumping ground for anything that you don’t want cluttering up the rest of the house? Ours was the home of our storage for a while and is still cluttered with piles and laundry and kids toys on a regular basis. Make a date out of cleaning up your room together and making it a place where you can come to relax and enjoy each other’s company. Make your bedroom a sanctuary for your marriage. Those piles could find a home in the office or a central command center in your home. Make your bedroom a sanctuary for your marriage.
Shut the door
This one might seem obvious to some and silly to others, but it’s one way to bring a little romance back to your marriage. When you’re using the bathroom, getting ready for bed or getting ready for the day, shut the door. There’s a level of intimacy that doesn’t need to be reached in some areas of your relationship and some of those things could mean that you’re just a little too comfortable together and unintentionally squashing the romance. This is a simple example, but my husband can’t stand the sound of someone brushing their teeth and it drives him crazy when I wander into my room and pick out my outfit for the day or pick clutter off the floor while I’m brushing my teeth. I know that by staying in the bathroom, not being near him, and maybe even shutting the bathroom door while I brush my teeth, I’m helping to keep that romance alive.
Change up your routine
There are two things that I noticed about my routine recently. First, I noticed that I had become so worried about getting things done that I would do those first and then spend the remaining time with my kids and husband. I always made time in my day for the people I love most, but I wasn’t truly putting them first. When I started playing with my kids before I cleaned up the breakfast mess, and making sure that I took time to connect with my husband before talking to him about bills or our events for the next week, things were different.
You may also need to change up the routine for the time that you spend together. If your nightly routine involves binge watching Netflix for a few hours before you go to bed, shorten the time you spend in front of the TV and work on a project together, put together a puzzle or just sit and chat. You could also make it a priority to keep the TV off and all other technology put away for a certain number of nights a week, to give the two of you time to connect on a deeper level.
Go on an adventure
There is research that shows couples who share new experiences together increase their intimacy and are happier in the long run. Your adventures could be as simple as testing out a new restaurant or exploring a new part of your area. Or they could be as grand as going on an exciting day trip or planning an exotic vacation together.
Go on regular dates
This one is one of the most important, in my book. A date is any time you’ve set aside to spend together intentionally connecting and having fun. Dates can take place at home after the kids are in bed, out on the town for a few hours each week, or in a brief stretch of time that you have during your day. Dates don’t always have to be big, extravagant planned outing. Do what you have the time and resources for. The important piece of date night is that you are dating each other and making that time to set aside your every day responsibilities on a regular basis.
Dress up for date night
A year or two into our marriage, I realized I’d gotten lazy when it came to date night. Most date nights were spent doing the exact same thing we did every night, we just replaced our homemade meals with takeout. Our dates were definitely not intentional and didn’t do much to strengthen our relationship. On top of all that, I’d become lazy when it came to dressing for date night. Most nights you’d find me in my comfiest sweatshirt with my hair pulled up in a bun and my makeup fading from a long work day.
I’ve come to realize that date night is special and it deserves my best. When I take time to put on one of my favorite outfits, style my hair and touch up my makeup, I’m at my best and better ready to connect with Joe on our date. I feel more flirty and fun and more myself when I’m at my best. Treat your married date nights the way that you did the dates you went on when you were pursuing one another in the early stages of date night. Spend time getting ready and looking your best, you won’t regret it.
Purchase something lacy
I heard something on one of Fun, Cheap or Free’s Q&A Tuesday videos this past year that I thought was an interesting idea. Jordan and her husband, Bubba had been given advice from their counselor when it comes to being open to romance and being more spontaneous with their intimacy. Jordan says that each night when they’re getting ready for bed, she changes into something lacy and her husband puts on his own something special for a predetermined amount of time before putting on whatever they were planning to wear to bed (flannel pajama, an oversized t-shirt, etc.) This way there’s not an expectation every time those special articles of clothing come out but they are always open to romance if it happens.
When I discovered Mentionables earlier this summer, I knew they were the perfect company to help me update my lacy wardrobe. Their prices are reasonable and they have a variety of styles and sizes to make any woman feel confident in what she’s wearing. Each season, Mentionables releases a new line and I have been swooning over their winter line that was just released this week! I strongly believe that purchasing something lacy is for your benefit as much as your spouse's. A woman deserves to feel good in whatever she's wearing, and Mentionables will definitely make you feel comfortable and more gorgeous than ever in your own skin. You can use discount code APM10 to receive 10% off your order.
This is one tip that always has people a little hesitant. It's not as crazy an idea as it might sound and you might actually find that it increases the romance in your marriage, rather than making it routine like you might think. I would suggest that you read this blog post and listen to this podcast, both from One Extraordinary Marriage. Tony and Alisa are the real experts on this concept and have great tips when it comes to putting intimacy on your calendar and still maintaining the spontaneity in your marriage.
Get away together
Since we started making weekend getaways a priority early in our marriage, we’ve noticed a big difference in our relationship. We usually only go for a night or two, but we always come back feeling refreshed and more in love than before. If you can escape your every day routines and adult responsibilities for even a day every few months, do it! Not having to focus on any of your regular responsibilities will leave you time to focus completely on each other and your relationship.
Spend time apart
It might sound counter productive, but sometimes a little time apart is just what the two of you need. We try to plan on one night a week when we do our own thing, in separate areas of our house or when one of us does something outside the house while the other stays home with the kids. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”, that’s the saying, right? I’ve always found that I’m more excited to spend time with my husband when we’ve spent a bit of time apart. Whether it’s juts a night, or an entire week while he’s been to scout camp. Being apart isn’t something we make a habit of and we try to spend more time together than not, but it’s healthy for your relationship not to spend every moment together.
No matter your stage in life or how healthy you think the romantic side of your relationship is, there is always room for improvement! Take one or two of these tips and apply them to your marriage and see what happens!
Photography by Sadie Banks Photography