My “aha” marriage moment came when my husband, James, and I were teaching a newlyweds class at church. On the first day of class, we noticed there wasn't a centimeter of space between the smiling couples. The wives were superglued to their husbands’ sides. I looked over at my James. He was sitting about a foot away from me. All of a sudden, that little space seemed like a mile away.
After 13 years of marriage and three children, maybe we were the ones who needed a refresher course on marriage. Had we lost something along the way? As the years go by, the heat of passion can turn into the warmth of companionship. But that warmth, if we don’t take time to stoke the embers, can slowly turn into a cool disengagement between husband and wife. And before you know it, you’re two roommates sharing a home, a bank account, and children.
James and I didn’t sign up to be roommates. We signed up to be lovers for life. One simple question helped us rekindle our newlywed flame: How did we treat each other when we were dating and engaged?
You can revive a flat (or even flatlined) marriage by answering this question in earnest. But you can’t just think about the answer, you have to do something! Take some time to reflect on the dating behaviors and attitudes that led you to fall in love in the first place. After reflecting, consistently practice them in your marriage.
When you were dating your spouse, you made an effort to win his favor and affection. You treated him well and didn’t take him for granted. You put your best foot forward. What tends to happen after saying “I do”? We trade in acting our best for acting “real” — and sometimes that real gets ugly.
Somehow we’ve bought the lie that unconditional love entitles us to act however we want in marriage. Yet, the Bible tells us again and again to love one another. Loving your husband means putting your best foot forward all the time, not just as newlyweds.
Don’t wait for “that lovin’ feeling” to return, or for your husband to act first. Take the initiative! Staying crazy in love takes a great deal of effort, but it’s certainly worth it. And, without work, you and your husband will grow apart — instead of together. Here's what to do:
Remember cuddling up to your man? You could spend hours in his arms. You walked hand in hand. Kissing was pure delight. Bring back the power of physical touch and affection by kissing your husband (passionately) for at least 10 seconds every day. Tell your husband you want to kiss more often. Kissing doesn’t always have to lead to the bedroom ... but it can!
Remember looking your best for date night? You watched your weight, wore your prettiest outfits, and never forgot to wear lipstick. If you apply that same effort today, it will make your husband feel valued and loved.