A Creeping Spice...

After my latest post on marriage, I received a ton of feedback (thanks!) I also received a question from a reader which basically asked:
"These tips are good, but how do you keep a longer marriage going strong?"
.... "Hmmmm", I needed to think on that one.

It's not that I was short on ideas. I'm actually full of those. (After all, it's what I do all day!) But I wanted to think about long-term marriages, and what makes them different. After all, romance is romance... so I'm pretty sure any "romantic tips" would work for any aged couple. The difference I see, however, is that longer-term marriage requires more intentional investment to keep romance alive. So although these ideas will really work for anyone that wants to be creative in their marriage, I chose them for my longer marriages because they are intentional.

5 Ways To Keep A Longer Marriage "En Fuego"!

1. Remind yourself of the reason you fell in love.
Okay, true confession time: I am "Type-A". My husband is not. When we first fell in love, it was because of this fact. His laid-back style perfectly complimented my high energy. In that first haze of young love, he mellowed me out.

.... but guess what? (You already see this coming, don't you?) It is the single-handed biggest source of our married-couple fights. When I have to remind him "just one more time"... and he's getting nagged "yet again"... it's easy to entirely forget that these same traits used to be cute! So my direct advice on this: If your spouse has a trait that is driving you bonkers lately, think back to a time when you found it endearing (yes, there was at time!) It might not make the annoyance go away, but it will help you keep it in perspective.

2. Make love a game.
I am afraid to write this, because my husband (supportive guy that he is) is going to read it. And now he'll know my little secret. From time to time, I issue challenges to myself. (I realize this sounds weird, but wait!) The purpose of jumping these mental hoops is to shake things up in a positive way. Therefore, in a nutshell, the challenge is to do something secretly that will make your spouse happy.

Example- I'll say to myself: "This week I'm going to say something nice to him (unsolicited) every day." or "This week I will only be allowed to nag him once a day" (because lets be honest, it's going to happen!). Other ideas could include: doing a dreaded chore for your spouse, giving hugs and backrubs without sexual agendas, taking the kids off their hands (if they are the usual child-care providers), cooking a favorite meal each night, saying "I love you" every day before work... and so on.

The sky's the limit and creativity is a plus! It's especially rewarding to utilize #3 when doing this.

3. Remember their Love Language.
Gary Chapman wrote a book called "The 5 Love Languages" that is a must-read for every single married person (or parent). It's easy to understand and practical, and it's principles will change your relationship over night. (How many books can say that! And no, I don't know Gary or get any kickback from this! :) )

In an nutshell, everyone gives and receives love differently. (Duh). In this case: physical touch, gifts, acts of service, quality time, or verbal affirmation. The problems arise because we give love to others in the same way we feel loved. While we spend our time picking out the perfect birthday gift ("gifts"), they just wish you would take them somewhere and hang out ("quality time"). Or while we're constantly giving hugs and kisses (physical touch), they're wishing we would just help around the house ("service"). You get the idea.We hear love better when its spoken in our language!

So next time you feel like doing something nice for your sweetie, why not stop and consider their love language? You'll get more bang for your buck if you do!

4. Have sex.
If you read my other article, you're thinking: "Give it a REST, Krysta." But in longer relationships, I see this as sorely underrated. This doesn't mean you need to have sex as often as you once did (although, that would be great too!) It doesn't mean you have to be as flexible or athletic as you once were (ha. I'm teasing you.) But it does mean that nothing says "romantic partnership" quite as well as the classics. 

And if that doesn't motivate you, consider this: when your spouse said "I do".. .they also signed up for a lifetime of only getting to have sex with YOU. Their sexual needs, gratification, identity, feelings of sexiness- come almost entirely from you. That's an awesome responsibility. One I recommend that married couples don't take lightly. Think about it: sex is totally unique in that way. We can receive compliments from others. Others can remind us of our intelligence, charisma, talent and so on. But our sexual identities remain (mostly) hidden from the outside world and reserved only for each other. What an honor and rare connection. I think we could all do better if we cherished that a little more.

5. Re-meet your spouse.
A recent article I read proved that married couples were more likely to guess their spouses perspective wrong, than a perfect stranger! Why is that? Because after all these years together, we get used to thinking we know all about each other. And we disregard any evidence to the contrary. Think about it, we've got each other so pegged- that we figure we can throw away the file. No need to add anything new to it.

But consider this: when you run into an old friend (think high school, college) are you ever amazed at how they've changed? Amazed at what they've made of themselves? Or how they've become so much more: open minded, grounded, creative, ambitious, or conventional than you would have guessed? If so, then I recommend you give your spouse the same chance to wow you.

Next time you're out, try pretending you don't know everything about your spouse (hey, this could fulfill #2!) Try asking them questions like you would at a cocktail party- about their day, their job, their interests.... You might be surprised to find there are things still left to know. And in the process, your spouse will feel cared for. That's a win/win in my book.

Feel free to comment on ways you keep YOUR marriage spicy. I'm always looking for new ones!

Wishing you a sprinkle of Tabasco in your marriage!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment. Please note that this (being the internet) is not a confidential or secure way to contact me. If you wish to speak with me privately, please call me at 916-270-7413 or visit my site