On the night my husband proposed, I saw fireworks. Literally. It was July 3rd and we had gone out for a nice dinner. We drove home at dusk and in the distance, we could see the fireworks displays from several towns around the Quad Cities. It was so romantic. Just the two of us on a warm summer night, the car’s T-top off and most likely some sappy REO Speedwagon song serenading us from the cassette player. Those were the days …
A few years later we had children. Instead of the two of us, we were a family of five. And our Independence Day celebrations changed significantly, though they were still quite memorable. It usually went something like this:
Girl #1 would watch the entire fireworks display with her fingers jammed inside her ears, always fearful of that inevitable “BOOM.” Girl #2 would require a trip to that awful port-a-potty. I’d attempt to hold her in mid-air as she struggled to keep her nose plugged and successfully complete her business. And girl #3? Well, she just had fun trying to squirt her sisters with bug spray.
As a busy wife and mother, sometimes I wonder, where’s the romance? What happened to the fireworks? With all the daily pressures married couples face, I know I can’t expect to have the same spark we had during our dating days. Real life happens. We have pressures at work, mortgages to pay, chaotic schedules – and then there’s the awesome responsibility of raising decent, respectable kids. In the midst of it all, it’s easy to drift away from your spouse. That’s when we need to put a little spark back into our marriage. Here are a few ideas:
Schedule Regular Date Nights.
Weekly date nights may seem like a no-brainer, but unfortunately, we often put our marriage on the backburner. When the pressures of life try to pull you apart, you need to take time to reconnect. Pencil a date on your calendar – and do whatever it takes to make it happen. Hire a babysitter. Take Grandma up on her offer to keep the kids. Swap babysitting with another couple. If all else fails, put the kids to bed early, clear the laundry and legos off the couch, and have a date night in your living room.
Foster Your Friendship.
Okay, I’ll admit it. I was much more adventurous when we were dating. I rode wild and crazy roller coasters. I went snorkeling in the middle of the ocean – even though I wasn’t a great swimmer. I went skiing when I had no clue how to ski. (I wrote about my skiing experience in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dating Game. You’re welcome to check out our story, Head Over Heels.)
But sometimes we need to get out of the daily rut of life. You don’t have to go sky-diving. Just do something you both enjoy. Or try a new hobby. Whatever it is, have fun together! Be your husband’s best friend.
Remember the Fine art of Flirting.
It’s funny. Before we were married, my husband and I came up with all kinds of creative ways to woo and pursue one another. For example, during our engagement he gave me one long-stemmed rose (with a sweet little note attached) every month leading up to our wedding day.
So what is it about marriage that seems to dull our romantic creativity? Even small romantic gestures can make a big difference. Send him a fun and flirty text. Instead of a peck on the cheek, surprise him with a ten second lip lock. Flirting is the perfect way to remind each other you’re still in love and attracted to one another.
Do Some Preventive Maintenance on your Marriage.
There are some great books that can help you strengthen your marriage and rekindle your romance. If your husband is willing, read one together. A couple of my favorites are The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman and Love & Respect by Emerson Eggerichs.
If you’re able to get away for a day or two, consider attending a marriage conference. A few years ago, my husband and I attended an “I Still Do” Marriage Event. It was awesome! We heard engaging speakers, enjoyed talented musicians and spent a fun day focusing on our relationship. Another “I Still Do” event will be held in Chicago next month on August 2nd. If interested, check out www.istilldo.com for more information.
Adjust your Perspective.
Yes, I know. He has flaws and annoying little habits. But rather than dwelling on what he does wrong, how about focusing on what he does right? It’ll make you both happier. After all, you can’t change your spouse, but you can change your attitude. Make a list of the top ten qualities you love most about your husband. When you’re finished, give him the list.
Re-igniting the spark in your marriage doesn’t require a lot of money, and it often doesn’t even take much time. What you need is the commitment to do it. Celebrate this Independence Day by fanning the flame in your marriage!