In the past year we've started to replace some things we got as wedding presents. Sheets, towels, bedspread, and random kitchen appliances. This struck a huge realization for me. You know the feeling. The newlywed phase is gone. You've been married long enough that the newness is gone. Not only are the "things" starting to get worn in but it's time to make the intentional choice about your marriage.
I'm choosing a marriage that not only thrives, but keeps that newlywed feeling. That feeling where you are overwhelmed with love when he glances your way. When you can't stand to be in the same room without touching one another. You crave the company of your spouse and you are seriously better when he's next to you.
So what practical steps can you take to make sure you keep that newlywed feeling alive? Here's what we are doing, and we would love you to join us!
KIDS COME SECOND. This is tough, especially when they are little. They are needy little humans and your spouse can make their own pb&j. I always remind myself, the kids will be here for 18 years...he will be here for life. I watch too many families fall apart because the wife pours every ounce of energy into her kids and forgets about her man. The last thing I want to happen is to watch my husband feel neglected and go elsewhere to feel loved and appreciated. He comes before my kids. Not in a call DHS kind of way of course, but there's a healthy balance for that.
HAVE FUN. It's easy to get into a routine and get comfortable. What were the things you enjoyed doing before you were married and had kids? Maybe you're not 22 anymore and don't have the energy to go play paintball on a saturday morning, but do it anyway! Make a list of fun activities you want to do together this year and go do them!
HOLD HANDS. Flirt. Sneak into a corner for a mini make out sesh. And do other stuff too. Even if you need to put it in your busy schedule, go for it. Designate Friday nights as clothing optional nights. Get back to the honeymoon stage and it will rock your marriage. Yup, you get it.
COMMUNICATE. It doesn't take a marriage counselor with years of training to tell you this one. Communication is tough and communication is key. This is an area I really stink at. When things bother me, I would rather sit on it than bother him with what is going on in my hormonal girl head. If you don't talk, you will hurt no one but yourself. And if I've learned anything in 6 years of marriage, it's that men are clueless when it comes to understanding women. If we don't tell them, they won't know. Simple as that.
SAY THANK YOU. It's so important to respect one another and appreciate the things we each do for our family. He works hard to provide for our family. I work hard to try to remember to feed the kids three meals a day. Nothing beats a simple "thank you" every once and a while (or DAILY!).
SPEND SOME TIME APART. This one is tough for me because we are best friends and I always choose to spend time with him. Over the last year I've been more intentional about growing in community with my girlfriends, which means girls night out. I am pouring into my passions (blogging, designing, etc.) and spending time working. I'll go to blogging conferences and maybe even a trip away with my friends. Time away means something huge for me: I can't WAIT to get home to him. It helps me refresh my soul and break free of the routine that a marriage can settle into. Sometimes absence really DOES make the heart grow fonder!
Our challenge for our marriage this year: 52 unique date nights
We have set out in 2014 to make dating each other a priority. It's something in the past few years that have become all too easy to rush past and put last. We don't like to hire a babysitter (I have trust issues with leaving my kids, and he doesn't like to pay). Our oldest is almost 4 and we've NEVER hired a babysitter. Yes, that's right. Never. See, I have control issues. We are blessed to have family that loves to keep our kids, but that's not always easy to schedule either. This year, our date nights will be the first priority of our week, and I believe this will make a huge difference in our marriage.
It's not about fancy dates, it's about the time. Maybe a date night is just turning off the tv and playing scrabble together. Or sitting at the table with coffee and talking after the kids go to bed. It's more about creativity than anything.
I'm so excited to walk into this year of our marriage and see how God blesses our efforts to become newlyweds again!
What are you doing to see your marriage thrive this year?
Join us and use the hashtag #52dates2014 to encourage one another to strengthen our marriages!