I honestly think that when we got married 13 years ago, I thought our love would never fade. There was so much passion, so much spark in our relationship that we must have been on some kind of love high.

Remember how sweet and passionate things were when you were dating. I’m sure they include a lot of handholding, kissing, cuddling, date nights, surprises, gifts and dreaming together. Those were the days when you couldn’t get enough and wanted to spend every waking moment in each others arms. I remember when we were dating, one night we talked all the way through til sunrise.  I think often about the times we would try to top each other with our mushy and cheesy love notes and we couldn’t keep our hands off each other.

Fast forward past our wedding day and the honeymoon, and now after years of being married, the kids, the bills, the ridiculous piles of laundry, the meetings at work, the never ending honey do list, I’m tired, period. Maybe you can see yourself in our story. Luckily we like to geek out about marriage and so we thought we would brainstorm some quick and easy ideas to renew your love. But first, let me explain why this is important.

John Gottman, the nation’s leading marriage researcher, suggests that couples wanting to spark romance need to turn towards each other even when they don’t feel like it, yes… even when they’re exhausted. He notes that friendship is an absolute essential element to thriving marriages. Friends consistently make bids in their relationships for positive connection, for moments to share. Here are 16 practical ways for you to start turning towards each other.

*Schedule your next date night and don’t tell your spouse the plans. The anticipation will spark a renewed sense of fun.

*Practice the daily 60 SECOND BLESSING. This is a daily habit of affirming the positive qualities you see in each other for 60 seconds each.

365_2015-0019*Send flirty texts to each other throughout the day. Trust me, they will appreciate it.

*Make foreplay a priority. Make more room in your calendar to make out and other stuff *wink* before sex.

*Be affectionate and playful with each other in front of others. It’s not enough to just brag to each other in private, it’s significant to compliment your spouse in public.

*Start a new hobby together. Brainstorm on some ideas and create a list of shared interests.

*Show appreciation by saying, “Thank you,” and “I appreciate all you do”. This goes a long way in showing respect to each other.

*Take a walk hand in hand. Nothing gets the blood moving and creative juices flowing like taking a walk around the block.

*Focus on the positive qualities of each other by writing them down and posting it around the house.

*Plan a vacation together…no kids allowed. It doesn’t even have to be extravagant, but time alone is so important.

*Dream together which helps build security. Have you created a dream wall where you jot down your goals or things you want to do together? Go for it!

*Pay attention to your spouse more than you pay attention to your phone & TV. Less screen time and more face time.

*Reminisce about your favorite date nights, wedding day, honeymoon, travels together by pulling out old photos of you two.

*Learn something new about your spouse. Ask open ended questions.

*Buy a new board games and have a game night together. Clothing optional.

*Join us for our monthly marriage webcasts at www.nakedconversations.org

We thrive in a community… so jot down some ideas in the comments that you use in your marriage!

7 thoughts

  • Matt

    I read your list and they all seem great but what if my wife isn’t on board? I feel like I have tried everything. If I try talking to her about how I feel it makes things worse. If I go the route of treating her how I would want to be treated it doesn’t help. I not only pitch in around the house I do the vast majority of the cleaning, laundry, dishes, etc. I work a full-time job, a part-time job, and still find time to spend with my wife and our kids. I try to be the best possible husband and father that I can be in all ways but it isn’t enough for her. And this wasn’t a drastic change I made at some point to try and win back affection. I have always been this way. She just keeps getting more and more distant. We have had sex 4 times in the past 3 months and 3 of those times came during a 2 week stretch about a month ago. We don’t really ever fight. Our marriage is basically me doing everything I can to try and win her affection/love and her seemingly going out of her way to make me feel neglected and hurt. What kind of advice would you or anyone else that sees this give me? Should I just keep plugging away hoping that things change? Do I leave her? We have two kids: a 10 year old (his dad is not in the picture and I adopted him after her and I got married) and a 3 year old. If I stay with her until the kids are out of the house I will be 56 years old! If I leave now I will end up missing out on so much of my kids lives. It feels like a lose-lose. I don’t want to get divorced but I also don’t think I can keep doing this. Thanks for whatever wisdom you can impart to me.

    • Angela

      Matt, don’t give up. go to counseling even if she won’t go. If you go to church talk to your pastor or a mature believer for advice. Encourage her to go to counseling with you. Pray for her. The Bible says for a husband to love his wife as Christ loves the church. You sound like a good husband and father, keep it up.

      • Amanda

        Don’t give up. I’m the same way right now with my husband. I notice everything he is doing and trying, but its hard for me to open up. There’s a problem there that she notices but you may not. Mine and my husbands, is when I try and open up and talk to him, instead of listening he tries and fixes the problem and give suggestions on how I should fix how I feel, when truly I just want him to listen. One thing I long for is having a best friend again, and it starts with communication. Ask her about specific things, like if she spoke about a problem at work, or ask how her siblings are, what she did today, did anything exciting happen, not just a hey how was your day. And have the convo when its time for bed, and yal are just laying there. It will give yal the chance to connect. Hopefully it will help.

    • Believe in Healing

      Matt, Have you checked out the signs for depression? This illness can quickly create distance in relationships. It takes a lot of patience ans understanding, but your love is really the difference!

  • Mitch

    I feel for you . If you have tried everything than you may want to back out .You deserve to feel loved and appreciated. This is a deal breaker..Best of luck ..Its not an easy situation

  • Greg

    I suggest going to a Christian counselor also and check out the book called sacred marriage I believe the author is Gary Thomas. That book changed my marriage and my life when I felt that I was giving it my all and she wasn’t giving anything in return. The main premise of the book is that the purpose of marriage isn’t to make us happy, it’s to make us holy. Pray thankfulness to God for this struggle and that he will strengthen your relationship with him even if it doesn’t seem to be bringing your wife closer to God or you.

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