A good marriage should get only better as the years go by.
It’s commonly (and wrongly) thought that marriage gets stale over time. After a while, you’ve heard all each other’s stories, had sex in every conceivable position a hundred times, and seen, heard, and smelled it all. How can things ever be as exciting as they were in the early days, when you were first married?
Think about it, though: back then, didn’t you still feel a little uneasy about certain things? You hadn’t been through all the ups and downs that you’ve conquered together, and you didn’t truly know each other inside and out the way you do now.
Knowing someone on a really deep level, and being truly committed – even after everything – is sweet and sexy in a way you never could have anticipated back in your newlywed days. If you’re struggling to keep the spark alive in your marriage after so many years together, here are 23 easy ways to light that fire and keep it burning.
1. It’s a date
It’s a cliché, but it’s so important to be deliberate about doing fun things together, even after you’ve been living together for a million years. Movies, plays, concerts, picnics, dinners – whatever gets the two of you out of the house.
2. I’ll meet you there
Instead of going out together, meet up at the restaurant or the theater, like you did when you were dating. Dress up a little, while you’re at it. Making an effort shows that you don’t take each other for granted.
3. For me?
See a silly little something that reminds you of your partner? Pick it up and surprise him. Small, simple presents are an easy way to say you’re thinking about him.
4. Touch base
Hold hands, rub his shoulders, put your feet in his lap, play footsie under the table. Remember when you couldn’t keep your hands off each other? He’s still that same irresistible guy.
5. Go places
Taking a trip lets you see a new side to the person you’re so used to seeing, day in and day out. Put him in a new setting and see if you don’t fall for him all over again.
6. Hit the books
Marriage isn’t easy. If it were, there wouldn’t be so many books out there about how to make it work. Read a few of them and find one that speaks to you.
7. Play around
Sex doesn’t get less important the longer you’re married. In fact, it should keep getting hotter as you get to know each other better. So buy some toys and have a little fun.
8. Do your own thing
If you don’t maintain your own interests, things can get pretty dull. Pursue your passions, and you’ll have more to talk about at the end of the day.
9. Surprise each other
When you’ve been together a long time, you start to think you know exactly what the other person will do at any given moment. So shake things up and surprise your partner by doing something they’d never expect.
10. Laugh it off
Next time you’re quarreling, ask yourself if whatever-it-is is really important enough to fight about. If possible, diffuse the situation with humor. Laughter makes everything better.
11. Say something nice
Compliments never get old. No matter how corny you might feel saying it out loud, when you have a sweet thought about your spouse, speak up.
12. Take care of yourself
Have you relaxed in your relationship to the point where you don’t feel so good about yourself anymore? Get yourself to the gym, get a haircut, buy a new dress – whatever it takes to feel like you’ve got that spring in your step.
13. Flirt shamelessly
Flirt with your spouse, sure, but flirt with other people, too – in front of your partner. It’ll remind him of how charming you are, and how lucky he is to be going home with you.
14. Take notes
You can probably rattle off six things that annoy you about your partner without even stopping for a breath. But are you equally aware of all the wonderful things about him? Keep a gratitude journal devoted just to the things that make you love him. What we focus on is what will grow – so focus on the positive.
15. Put the kids in the backseat
Many couples get wrapped up in their identities as parents. But every marriage counselor in the world will tell you not to put your kids before your marriage. You need to be each other’s first priority – and any kids (step, bio, or otherwise) can come second. It’s better for them, and better for your marriage.
16. Take a class
Learn something new, either separately or together. Ballroom dancing, mixology, learning to speak Italian – it doesn’t matter, as long as you’re into it. Stimulating your brains will stimulate the rest of you, too.
17. Sext each other
Sexting: it’s not just for people hooking up via Tinder. Need some ideas? This will get you started.
18. Speak each other’s language
Take the 5 Love Languages quiz and find out what makes your partner feel the most loved – and then act accordingly.
19. Give and get
“If you want to get something, then give something” is a very wise piece of advice. Irritated that your partner never brings home flowers or plans vacations? Instead of stewing about it, do it yourself. Model the behavior you want to see, and he’ll likely reflect it back.
20. Go away
Feeling burned out on the daily routine? Take a solo vacation. When you get back, he’ll appreciate you in a whole new way.
21. Cut the criticism
Remember when you were newlyweds and everything he did was adorable. Over time, that magic wears off and it’s easy to become critical. But criticism hurts – no matter how well-intended. Cut it out and see how much more pleasant your relationship becomes.
22. Explore new places
Chances are, if you’ve been married a while, you’re in a sexual rut. You know how to get each other off quickly and efficiently, so why bother exploring uncharted territory? Because it’s fun, that’s why.
23. Don’t give up
Relationships aren’t all cupcakes and rainbows. But when you’re in it for the long haul, you’ve got to ride out the ups and downs. If you love each other, it’s worth hanging in there.
Image via shutterstock.com.
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