I’m the least qualified person to give out love advice. However, I do love someone special and for the last 25 years I’ve found many ways to show him just how much he means to me. How else could we make it?
In a world where relationships are temporary or disposable…….holding it together might be an art form that we all should consider improving. This year has been the first in my marriage that time apart has existed. Never have we had to worry about going to sleep at night in a bed without the other person there. But times (and jobs) have changed. Life doesn’t come with guarantees, things happen…..circumstances change, people grow, opportunities arise.
So, how do we keep love alive?
I really don’t know. What I do know is that it takes continual work. There are NO days off in marriage relationships. Every single day is one more chance to invest in the mate you’ve chosen. This means everything I do needs to be intentional. Choosing to love someone is personal and it takes a bit of customizing to pull it off successfully.
Ever met a couple that didn’t get along, ever? Cut down’s flowed easily between them? Vengeance and paybacks were their go to habits?
That isn’t love. Ever.
While all marriages have difficult seasons, purposeful hurting is never good and only chips away at trust and companionship. Who wants to be loving to a person who is rude, hurtful or unkind? No one.
I have a few ideas on how to make love last.
1. Die to self.
The chances of you marrying someone you never disagree with are very slim. You can pretty much bank on not seeing eye to eye on something……sometime or another. Don’t live in a constant state of trying to get your way. Be smart, give in or compromise when you’re at a crossroads of disagreement. Do it with a positive attitude too. Being mad and pouty (or silently seething) doesn’t count when giving in.
2. Give more than you take.
This sounds just like I mean it! Don’t add up what you’ve done against what your spouse has done. Each of us have a great capacity for being martyrs in our own mind. That kind of game playing opens our hearts to resentment. If you’re married……you have felt resentful at some time or another. If you’re honest, you can probably admit……it didn’t feel very peaceful. Be willing to give without getting something in return.
3. Be intimate.
Hug, kiss, touch, tease…..and more as often as you can. Many of us (women mostly) forget that WE are our husband’s fantasy girl. Each of us have the power to fulfill his every dream, yet too often we ignore his biggest needs. Husband’s NEED physical touch, they need to feel desired, they long to know you are satisfied by their love and they soar or crash by how we treat them intimately. Behind every great man – is a loving and fulfilling woman.
4. Love each other’s family.
This can be challenging when a family is unhealthy. Not every person has their stuff together. Learn not to take that out on one another. Many couples spend enormous time fighting over extended family. It never stops unless you choose to protect one another from the dysfunction of those outside of your marriage. Be fair, be open, be a united team.
5. Speak honestly.
It can be very tempting to keep your real feelings to yourself. Especially when your spouse flips out over the slightest mention of an issue. Don’t be that person. Give permission to be honest and learn to appreciate when your love shares the hard stuff with you. Truth can heal.
6. Share your time.
Don’t ignore one another. Do things together, share moments, go on dates. Being together strengthens your relationship. Do fun stuff, projects or home improvement jobs as a team. When my hubby and I were dating, we would go out late at night car shopping/dreaming….it was a fun escape to our reality. We still like to sneak out at night and do fun things. One of our faves is riding our bikes.
7. Put each other ahead of children or family.
Trust me, it will never work if you get this out of order. Time passes, kids grow up and leave…..family is family and not your first priority, your spouse is. It’s scriptural.
8. Try something new.
Many couples get in ruts. While routines are somewhat necessary, don’t miss the chance to shake things up a bit. Go places you’ve never gone, learn a new skill, start an exercise or sport. Do things that make you feel better.
9. Pray together.
Openly praying together is powerful. It strengthens your personal relationship as well as your faith. Life is guaranteed to send you some struggles, fight them together with God.
10. Be dedicated, fully.
Marriage should be a forever decision. Don’t live as if it is replaceable or optional. Every day make the decision to be completely dedicated to your spouse. It gives them the confidence to be the spouse you really need. Tell them often, they are your whole world.
Maybe you’re very happily married……or just miserably skimming by. Whichever the case, you can make the love you feel for one another a top priority. It simply takes a little effort. You owe it to yourself and your spouse to make your marriage the best one in your circles.
Make the choice to make love last!