During the early months of marriage it’s easy to go the extra mile to do special things for your spouse. As time passes, though, things like busyness, fatigue, distractions, and disagreements make this more difficult. I’m simply not as eager to make my husband’s favorite cookies now, nor is he as eager as he once was to rub my sore feet!
Though these little romantic gestures may happen less often in my marriage today, my love for my husband is deeper than it’s ever been. Are there things we can do to rekindle the romance of early marriage? I think so.
Rekindling romance in marriage
- Put yourself in your spouse’s shoes. Many of us have a knack for overlooking our own shortcomings while taking note of the shortcomings of others. I’ve found it useful to put myself in my husband’s shoes in order to gain a more accurate perspective. When I think about how many hours he works each day and the stress of his commute, it helps me understand why he might be tired in the evenings and lack motivation to carry out romantic gestures. I’m also able to see how he might miss the romantic gestures I was once more eager to complete.
- Learn your spouse’s love language. Have your spouse visit The 5 Love Languages website and take the love languages assessment. Understanding his or her love language will help you know what sort of gestures your spouse perceives to be romantic. While many spouses appreciate being given gifts, I know that receiving gifts isn’t one of my husband’s love languages. Thus, I could buy him gift after gift, but these will never make him feel as loved as he does when I spend quality time with him or make an effort to be physically affectionate.
- Let go of little annoyances. Few things will squelch romance as quickly as a critical spirit. If I am critical about little things my husband does (like constantly leaving his belts draped across furniture in the living room instead of returning them to the bedroom), then my criticism will impede romance. These little things are really inconsequential, so I’m learning to overlook them and focus instead on the wonderful things my husband does.
- Kiss. If your marriage is anything like mine, then you probably don’t kiss anywhere near as much now as you did when you first got married. I guess we had more time on our hands back then and physical intimacy was so new. When we take time to kiss these days, the mundane becomes exciting. See if it doesn’t have the same effect for you!
- Go on dates. Step away from the demands of everyday life and get some one-on-one quality time with your spouse. Your interactions during everyday activities likely aren’t of the highest quality and they’re probably not that romantic, so find the time to be alone as a couple and have some fun. Consider giving your spouse a gift of preplanned dates. I did this last Valentine’s Day and we’ve had so much fun on our dates! Do you have trouble coming up with date ideas? Check out this list of date ideas for every season and every budget.
- Don’t wait for your spouse to reciprocate. It’s human nature for us to expect our spouses to put as much effort into something as we’ve put into it. If I send a sweet note in my husband’s lunch and then make him his favorite meal for dinner, then it’s quite normal for me to expect him to do something nice in return. Unfortunately, this isn’t a Biblical approach. The Bible says that we shouldn’t do things out of selfish ambition or look only to our own interests. Instead, we are to be humble and look to the interests of others (Philippians 2:3-4). In order for me to be faithful, I have to work at rekindling the romance in my marriage regardless of how much effort my husband is or isn’t putting into this same endeavor.
Was there more romance in your early marriage than there is now? What strategies have helped you rekindle that romance?