How can a couple keep the fires of sexual passion alive in the middle of the humdrum, day-to-day routine of the average marriage? If it's come up recently between you and your spouse, take heart. You're not alone.
The solution is fairly simple – though implementing it isn't always quite so easy. You have to keep romance alive at the center of your relationship. This is a truth that our X-rated society rarely recognises and hardly ever acknowledges: the flames of truly enjoyable and meaningful sex derive their heat not from gross sensuality, but from the gentle, human touch of tender romantic love.
This, of course, raises another problem. Maintaining the emotional excitement of "being in love" can be difficult once the logistical realities of marital life – work and chores and babies and bills – begin to assert themselves.
For example: what happens when you wake up in the morning? Instead of grunting and falling out of bed, try turning to your spouse and whispering "I love you" or "you're the best." Remember that your words can be powerful. They have the potential to build up your spouse and to add fuel to the flame that keeps your relationship vibrant.
Look for similar opportunities to connect in meaningful ways throughout the day. When you leave the house, kiss goodbye like it could be your last. Send each other intimate texts or tweets while you're apart. Get excited about seeing one another when you come home at the end of the day. Turn mealtimes into occasions for reconnecting and celebrating your shared identity as a couple. "Clean the slate," express mutual appreciation, and pray together when it's time to go to bed. These simple gestures can make a world of difference.
Over time, this kind of interaction can inspire a man to see "the wife of his youth" – his long-time familiar companion on the journey of life – through brand-new eyes. And there's no telling how a woman may respond when the guy snoring at her side suddenly wakes up and starts crooning sweet nothings in her ear. That's how you stir the flames of romance. That's how you set the stage for more intense expressions of love.
It's not about "doing more" or "doing it right." It's just a matter of blooming where you're planted. Here are some simple ways to get you started on cultivating a deeper and richer relationship with your spouse:
- Daily: Share your thoughts with each other.
This may sound like a simple task, but in reality, many couples operate on an autopilot mode, and fall into the pattern of discussing only their household to-do list on a daily basis. When was the last time you shared a joke with your spouse, or about a book you read, or your current favourite song? Decide now, that you will speak with your spouse daily on a ‘non-household’ related matter. You will be pleasantly surprised to see the conversations that blossom as a result!
- Weekly: Take time to build your spiritual intimacy as a couple.
Spiritual growth is often viewed as a deeply personal process; but growing together in your walk with God is vital for a healthy marriage. Find time on a weekly basis to share your spiritual journey with each other. This may include struggles and challenges you are facing and areas where you sense God has answered prayer. The goal here, is to develop a greater understanding of each other, even if you are not in full agreement on every point. As you encourage and uplift each other, true intimacy is built.
- Monthly: Commit to a regular date night and guard it well.
Sometimes the best laid date plans get waylaid by illness, kids’ examinations and work schedules. Once you and your spouse have agreed on a specific regular day, schedule it into your diary to ensure you keep to it. Remember – you are not just making a date, but strengthening the foundation for a closer relationship with your other half.
Adapted from Priming the Pump by Dr Greg Smalley © 2016 All rights reserved. Used by permission from Focus on the Family.
Dive deeper into the tips on building successful communication patterns and register now for a meaningful afternoon with Dr Greg & Erin Smalley at the "Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage" public seminar this July!