By: Amy Martin
Few things are more thrilling than starting a new relationship. The first sparks of love seemingly cause us to forget all else, making nothing more important to you than that special person. Attentiveness at work tends to slacken, grades fall by the wayside, daydreaming increases, and even lunch breaks are forgotten. It’s no wonder that the first months of marriage are labeled the “Honeymoon Phase”. But, what happens during year two, ten, or even twenty? The buzz of hormones settles, careers become busy, children bless and complicate our lives, and the distractions seem to take over. Though it might take some extra effort, love doesn’t have to fade. Here are 5 simple ways to keep the flame alive:
- Pass Love Notes. Scribbling down your affections isn’t limited to grade school, writing your spouse love notes is an inexpensive but impactful way to increase the heat. Sneak a sweet message into their lunch, leave one in their car, or even surprise them with something on the bathroom mirror. Simple notes of love and gratitude not only help your spouse feel loved, but can boost their appreciation for you as well.
- Play Together. It’s not uncommon, during the initial stages of a new relationship, to adopt your significant other’s hobbies as your own. We are willing to take up dance lessons, work on an old beat up car, or even start ice fishing in order to spend time with the object of our affection. However, over time, we revert back to our natural hobbies and begin to grow apart. Now, sharing every pastime is not required for a happy marriage, but spending quality time together is. Find something you both enjoy or are interested in learning more about. Perhaps the two of you adore nightly walks, appreciate a good card game, or relish the theatre. Even with children, it’s important to make time for participating in activities together as a couple.
- Wean Money Woes. It’s not called the “Root of All Evil” for nothing. Unfortunately, a great deal of contention in a marriage can stem from money issues. Begin communicating early on in your marriage about money. Outline your expectations, your goals, and how you will handle bills. Discuss a budget regularly, readdressing it often as things change. It may lessen the tension to set aside some spending money for each spouse; this enables both parties to feel they have some freedom, even within the tightest of budgets.
- Write it Down. Negativity can creep in without us hardly noticing, leaving us feeling less than affectionate toward our spouse. Keeping a “Why I love You” journal can help retrain our thoughts, keeping us focused on the positive. Try jotting down a reason or two why you love your spouse each day for a month. You’ll be surprised how many positive things you can come up with. In addition to this, during harder days, keeping a “Why I Love You” journal can help turn feelings around and help our affection for our companion to increase.
- Don’t Give Up. Remember that every success in life requires work. Marriage isn’t any different. It takes a lot of work and effort to make it thrive and be healthy. As you try to implement something new, whether passing notes or taking up a new hobby, it may feel awkward at first. Stick with it! Remember that putting time, affection, and effort into your marriage will ensure that your “Honeymoon Phase” becomes more of a “Lifelong Phase”.