Whether you’ve lost that “spark” in your marriage or you’re clinging to every happy moment in hopes that nothing bad crops up, marriage takes work.
Marriage is such a precious (and fragile) thing. It takes hard work, lots of effort, and a strong desire to make it work, but creating a strong marriage is one of the best things you can do for your family.
Both my parents and my in-laws set wonderful examples of how a strong marriage should look. My parents have been married for 40 years, and my in-laws have been married for 34 years. Like every marriage, they weren’t always perfect, happy couples, but they were able to laugh together during the good times and struggle side-by-side during the difficult times.
Between my husband’s travel schedule for work and his obligations to our farm, it would be so easy to let our marriage slip to the back burner. Even though we have been married for ten years and together for 14, our relationship still takes work.
Through both the good times and the bad, marriage can be challenging, but it’s still important to make a continuous effort to rekindle your marriage.
Simple Ways to Rekindle Your Marriage
1. Make your marriage a priority
One of the simplest, best ways to rekindle your marriage is to make it a priority. Sure, the kids need to be carted to practice and the house may be dirty, but if your marriage is failing, everything else should be pushed to the back burner.
Have you ever heard that your marriage should come before your children? I never really understood how difficult that was until I had toddlers. Potty training, snack time, and everything else is a matter of life and death to a toddler, and it can be difficult to make your marriage a priority in the midst of family drama.
Just deciding that your marriage is a priority is a great first step. Sit down with your spouse and be honest about your feelings. Sometimes, just getting your feelings out in the open is all it takes to refocus.
2. Go on regular dates
If you have young children and a tight budget, having “regular dates” may seem like a daunting task. My husband and I plan quarterly dates, which may not seem like much, but with his travel schedule, the kids’ activities, and life, that’s often all we can manage.
Make it a priority to go on a date (just the two of you) whenever you can. If your budget is tight, try one of these frugal date night ideas.
And if your idea of a creative date night is dinner and a movie, check out the Ultimate Date Night Book from The Dating Divas for some really cute (and original) date night ideas.
3. Make the most of your time together
If date night isn’t a possibility in the near future, try making the most of the time that you do spend together. Most nights, all I want to do is curl up on the couch with a good book instead of making conversation, or even veg out in front of the TV.
That’s not going to do your marriage any favors, though.
When you are together, make sure you’re spending your time wisely. Even if you decide to watch a movie, snuggle up together or spend a few minutes discussing your day first.
4. Discuss your marriage goals and dreams
Newlyweds often have lofty dreams for their marriages, but as time passes, those dreams get forgotten or pushed to the back burner.
Even if you won’t achieve some of your dreams for a long time, like buying an RV and traveling to all 50 states in retirement, continue to discuss them. Create a plan and make sure that you’re on track.
My husband and I regularly discuss our budget and our financial goals, but make sure that you’re discussing other dreams, as well. Talk about big dreams, like the number of kids you’d like to have, as well as small goals, like your next vacation or date night.
One of my favorite ways to dream is to create a marriage bucket list. I love the resources in The Marriage Builder Toolkit, which has a bucket list for your dreams as well as a date night planner and ideas for at-home dates.
5. Listen to each other
I’ve had to learn this lesson the hard way. I understand how difficult it is to listen in the middle of an argument (especially if you’re always right like I am, and your spouse just isn’t seeing your point 😉 ).
Really listening (instead of just waiting for your turn to talk) will make a huge difference in how you handle arguments, though. I recently read The Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction, and it’s really changed the way I listen (and talk). Considering that I’m an introvert, I thought that I was a good listener, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth.
The next time your spouse is talking, focus on paying attention. Try to listen to what he’s saying instead of thinking about what you’re going to say next.
6. Give compliments freely
This is easy to do in concept, but giving compliments can often feel cheesy or out of place. Try noticing little details, like the way a new shirt brings out your spouse’s eyes.
You can also start by thanking your spouse for doing something, even if it’s something that you think he ought to do anyway, like taking out the trash. Just noticing these little details will make you more grateful and appreciative, which can change the tone of your marriage.
Also, these little compliments will go a long way in bringing you closer together. 😉
7. Support each other through difficult times
Not every moment is happy in a marriage. Sometimes, we struggle as individuals, like when we have a bad day at work, but there are also the family struggles, like getting out of debt, that can tax a marriage. Supporting each other through those difficult times, even if it only means lending a listening ear, is so important.
On a side note, don’t try to provide suggestions unless your spouse asks for them. My spouse and I struggled with this issue for a long time. For example, if I had a bad day at work, he would give me advice, but all I really wanted was empathy.
Offer support by showing compassion first, and then offer advice if your spouse asks for it.
8. Keep the romance alive
To keep the romance alive, devote some time to spending quality alone time together. Snuggle on the couch or eat dinner together after the kids are in bed.
One thing that I learned in Boost Your Libido is that women and men have different libidos. Marriage doesn’t look like the movies, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy it!
And if you’re struggling to get off the couch at night? The course has tips for that, too.
9. Schedule time for passion
Scheduling time for passion may seem like the last way to rekindle your marriage, but sometimes that’s the only way to get it done. Literally.
Making time for physical connection can be a game-changer for your marriage. Planning your passionate activities doesn’t have to take the fun or excitement out of them, though. It simply means having a discussion about your schedules. For example, a typical conversation in my house might be: “You’re going out of town on Monday? What about Tuesday night?” or “I’ll be in my ugly pajamas with the holes in them by the time you get home on Friday night. What about the kids’ naptime on Saturday?”
Those types of discussions still leave room for spontaneity and creativity in the moment, but they help make sure you’re making time for your spouse. They’ll also give you the chance to look forward to something. 😉
Another idea is trying a challenge together to make more time for passion. You could try a seven-day challenge or longer (I read and recommend this book about how to plan – and do – a seven-day challenge with your spouse).
10. Try something new together
There’s a reason why The Bachelorette gives a rose to the worst guy in the house after an adrenaline-pumping day of rock climbing. New, exciting activities bond you to the people around you. Especially if the activities involve anxiety, you’ll feel more connected to your spouse.
You don’t have to scale a building or go skydiving to have this effect (although those activities would certainly boost your anxiety). Even hiking a difficult trail or doing any challenging, physical activity can have a similar effect.
In addition to the bond you’ll build with your spouse, trying a new activity may even point you toward a new hobby that you can continue to enjoy together.
These 10 ways to build your marriage can help renew your relationship at any stage. Whether you’ve been feeling like your marriage is faltering or you just want to add a little spark to your marriage, trying these tips to connect with your spouse and rekindle your marriage. Let me know in the comments which tips worked best for you.
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