I’m not sure how long you need to be married to feel like you’re in a position to offer marriage tips to anyone, but after fourteen years of marriage and four years of dating before that, Hubby and I have learned a lot on our journey together.
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We’re not perfect and we don’t claim to have it all together, but we both feel like we have a pretty amazing thing going. At the end of the day, I think what makes our marriage different from many others is that we’ve still got the spark we had when we started dating. With two kids, work, homeschooling, and running a household, keeping that spark takes work and intention. Here are some marriage tips that help us keep the spark in our relationship.
10 Ways to Keep the Spark
in Your Marriage
#1: Have Something You Always Do Together
Have something you do together regularly, something you can count on and look forward to doing. Date night, nightly Netflix time, whatever. Know your routine and stick to it so that there’s always a designated time set apart just for you two.
#2: Have Fun Together
I realize that straight up craziness isn’t appropriate in every situation, but don’t be afraid to have fun together. I recently read Jen Hatmaker’s For the Love and couldn’t agree more with this quote from it:
Laughing together is the best marriage offers … fun is so underrated. Fun is powerful glue. Fun helps us like each other, not just love each other.”
I realize that all of this is going to look different from couple to couple, but for us it’s cranking up the radio and belting out old 90s songs. It’s sending ridiculous texts to each other throughout the day. It’s laughing our butts off about the absurd number of inside jokes we share. It’s dating just like we did when we were 16 and 17 years-old. These moments of fun are important on their own, but they make all the difference in a hard season of marriage.
#3: Talk About What God is Doing
Is God showing you something? Did the scripture from your daily Bible reading grab hold of you like never before? Is there something weighing heavy on your heart? Wives, talk to your husbands about these things. Husbands, talk to your wives. Don’t compartmentalize this part of your life and only share it in your small group or with your friends. You can minister to your spouse too just by simply sharing what God is doing in your life. Don’t assume it’s common knowledge.
#4: Understand the Power of the Marriage Bed
I hate to get all Song of Solomon on you, but it’s absolutely something that can’t be ignored when you’re talking about marriage. I get it. There are just days when, ohmygosh, it seems impossible to get excited about anything but sleeping in the marriage bed. However, be aware of the potential effects of a “not tonight” statement. When you say, “not tonight, honey,” you miss a chance to connect with your husband and express love in a way that you were both specifically designed for. But that’s not all.
When Weary Wife neglects her husband sexually, she misses a beautiful opportunity to support his spiritual desire for purity.”
I was completely captivated by the entire Weary Wife chapter in The SuperMom Myth by Becky Kopitzke, but this quote left me thinking for days. Becky points out that, as wives, we are the only place our husbands can come to fulfill sexual needs and remain in a state of purity. That’s something to think about, for sure. If we want to keep that spark in our marriage, then we can’t underestimate the power of the marriage bed.
#5: Dream Together
Talk about your dreams and your goals for for the near and the distant future. What are you working towards individually? Together? Talk about these things and be cheerleaders for one another. When we talk about our individual goals, we can support each other and provide ways to make them attainable.
When we talk about our shared dreams, it helps us to remember that there’s something to look forward to. It helps us to live with intention and with the end in mind. These shared dreams also help us remember that marriage is two people working together and not just living under the same roof.
#6: Be a Cheerleader
Your words matter. Be sure that you’re using them to build your husband and encourage him as a father, an employee, and as a friend. Don’t leave them unspoken. He needs to know that you’re by his side in the good and bad.
Your words matter when your speaking about your husband too. It’s uplifting for him to hear through the grapevine how much you adore him and support him, but not so uplifting if you’re constantly ranting about him to your friends and family. Those rants may seem innocent, but they do lots of damage to your thoughts, his reputation, and eventually your relationship. Instead, focus on the positive and build him up to his face and behind his back.
Tip #7: Pray for One Another
Praying may seem like a no-brainer, but I’ve needed that reminder plenty of times before. In 15 Verses to Pray for Your Husband, Elizabeth George shares this sobering thought:
It is entirely possible that you are the only person on the face of the earth praying for him (your husband). That means if you don’t pray for him, then probably no one is!”
If that doesn’t remind you of the importance of praying for one another, I don’t know what will. These prayers matter.
#8: Spend Time with Other Couples
Mentor and be mentored. Some of our favorite memories from the early years of our marriage are from nights spend with couples a little older than us. It wasn’t complicated or fancy. Our nights usually centered around playing cards and eating dinner, but they were taking time to show us the way. They weren’t lecturing or instructing, but just providing friendship and an example of what we had to look forward to a few years down the road.
Since then, we’ve had the opportunity to be the older couple and have had that same chance to help younger couples navigate the early years of marriage. None of it seems like a big deal while it’s happening, but when I break it all down, this time spent with other couples is Titus 2 in action and it provides community in a beautiful way.
#9: PDA is Okay
Within reason, anyway. Growing up as a youth group kid in the 90s, it was ingrained in me that there was never really a time or place for “Public Displays of Affection.” That may be true for teenagers on a church trip or teenagers in general now that I’m a parent, but PDA certainly has a place in marriage. Obviously I’m not suggesting anything over the top, but holding hands, a quick kiss, and little things of that nature go a long way. When these happen in public places, it sends a message to your spouse that the same desire you had at the beginning of the relationship hasn’t faded away.
#10: Don’t Feel Guilty
About Your Good Thing
Hubby and I have always said that we don’t see a lot of people who seem to have what we’ve got when it comes to our relationship. We know plenty of married people, but they some of them don’t seem to enjoy each other all that much. Then there are those who have never married and those who experienced divorce. We know lots of people from those scenarios. Because of that, there have been times when I felt a little guilty for having this amazing man to call my very own. You know what, though? I’m over that. No guilt at all!
Instead, I’m grateful to God to have the kind of marriage that shows people it’s still worth fighting for. There are plenty of people out there who think marriage isn’t worth pursuing anymore. I’m happy to be on the side that advocates marriage and can say, not only is it worth pursuing, it’s fantastic.
When it all comes down to it, the best thing you can do to keep the spark in your marriage is to look for ways to outlove each other. This is solid advice from a precious couple we’ve been blessed to know and it sums up all of the other ways listed here.
Finding ways to out-do previous expressions of love sends a clear message. In fact, it’s the only place I can think of where being one-upped is a great thing. When you’re outloving your spouse, you show them that the desire is still there, that there’s love and appreciation for all they do. When both husband and wife are trying to outlove one another, keeping the spark in marriage comes naturally.
How do you keep the spark in your marriage? I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments below!
Looking for more tips? Stop by iHomeschool Network’s Keeping Your Marriage Alive While Homeschooling for more ideas and advice on keeping the spark in your marriage.