When you first fall in love, happiness comes easy and it seems so effortless to be a good partner.
Your jokes are funny, your thoughts and actions are romantic, and your time together is pretty much all rainbows and butterflies.
It turns out that there’s a good reason for this—a scientific one at that. Your first few months or even years together are shrouded in a chemical cloud of infatuation.
You’re literally high on each other and the lovin’ comes easy.
So what happens a few years down the road after you’ve decided to get married and settle down together?
Well, the chemical boost fades and you’re left with the choice to love your spouse.
This is the part of marriage that sometimes freaks a couple out.
You may start to have doubts about whether you’re still “in love” with your husband or wife. You may look at him or her and wonder when things got so… soft. You may ask yourself where the passion has gone. Trust me, the love is still there, but you can’t rely on
chemistry to make it work on autopilot.
It’s time for you to step up and practice having the marriage you desire.
Like learning to play the guitar or run a marathon, an awesome marriage is the result of practice. You can have a mediocre relationship without a lot of effort, but the dream marriage you envisioned during your engagement is going to require some good old fashioned hard work.
So, what sort of things do you need to learn and refine to enjoy a thriving marriage?
Based on our own experience and the wisdom gained from working with dozens of other couples, here are three simple steps I’d recommend practicing to keep the passion alive.
1. TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE.
As your relationship matures, and especially when children enter the picture, it’s frighteningly easy to lose your connection as a couple. Your roles as a parent, caregiver, breadwinner, housekeeper, etc. can be so overwhelming that you never give the time or energy needed to be a great spouse.
I recommend every couple spend at least 15 minutes each day simply being a couple. This is sacred time to enjoy each other and put aside those other roles for a while.
Sit, talk, laugh and be together—simple as that.
2. NEVER STOP DATING.
Do you remember when you were dating? When you’re dating, you don’t need “date nights” because every time you get together it’s all about getting to know each other better and building your relationship.
That’s not the case when you’ve been married for a while. You’re together all the time, which makes it exceedingly easy to get complacent and fail to feed the romantic side of your relationship.
Be sure to schedule a date night every week or two to spend some special time together and rekindle the intimacy between you.
While it’s great to get out of the house for a big night out, this can be as simple as a lunch date or an evening at home together after the kids are in bed.
3. TREAT MARRIAGE LIKE AN INVESTMENT PORTFOLIO.
It’s funny how easy is it to justify spending money on new gadgets, improvements to your home or even lessons to learn a new skill. Yet, when it comes to the most important relationship in your life, many of us shy away from trying to better ourselves.
I can’t recommend enough that you spend some time and money making yourself a better husband or wife. Pick up a course on communication, read a good book and don’t be too proud to sign up for a marriage retreat where you can get away and focus on each other deeply.
When you consider that you’ve devoted the rest of your life to your spouse and you spend everyday together, it’s easy to see that there’s no better return on your investment than in learning the skills you need to be as happy as possible together.
Do yourself a favor and make a commitment today to make your marriage your highest priority (right after God). Devote quality time each day to your spouse, bless your marriage with regular date nights, and do everything you can to be the best husband or wife you can be.
Building your dream marriage isn’t easy, but it’s absolutely worth it.