Relationships

Beyond “I Do”–Making Romance an Intentional Part of Marriage

May 6, 2017
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Marriage isn't just about riding into the sunset and living "happily ever after." It's a daily choice to put someone else above yourself; a choice to live out romance in our daily interactions. To do this effectively, we need a strategy to love even when it's hard so the bloom of our love continues to unfold.


“You are My Quest”–Romance as a Choice

Recently, I watched Kubo and the Two Strings because it seemed like a movie that I would typically enjoy for its style (P.S. might not be a movie for very little kiddos even though it’s a cartoon). There is a love story at its center and one of the characters explains how the man and woman met: the man, a knight, looked into her eyes, uttered four simple words, and these words changed everything. As a viewer, you definitely expect something akin to “I love you, (insert name here).” Instead, the words are, “You are my quest.” This really resonated with me.

I have always believed that spousal love is ultimately a choice; that you must choose who you wish to fight for every day for the rest of your life. Romance comes quite easily at first, but it’s not just “I do” and you ride off into the sunset. Sometimes, it’s a battle and one you’re occasionally unwilling to fight. However, pursuing one another every day is where romance can blossom.

My top five tips on staying strong in spousal love…

  1. Repeating the other’s words to show that you are both listening and trying to understand.

    This was taught to us during marriage prep by our assigned couple. When you are trying to resolve an issue or maybe the conversation gets a little tense, repeat back what you are hearing in order to solidify understanding. Usually, it begins with, “What you are saying is…” or “What you are feeling is…” More likely than not, your spouse will correct your statement or clarify the words, and a wonderful deepening will occur.Marriage isn't just about riding into the sunset and living "happily ever after." It's a daily choice to put someone else above yourself; a choice to live out romance in our daily interactions. To do this effectively, we need a strategy to love even when it's hard so the bloom of our love continues to unfold.

  2. Family meeting.

    Once a month (at the beginning of the month, actually), we have a family meeting. It’s a time for us to tackle any issues, voice concerns or needs, go over the calendar for the month, make plans, etc. I actually make a list of things to talk about beforehand so that we have an agenda, and we stick to it. Also, make sure that the conversation that takes place at a family meeting does NOT take place during date night. Date nights are for reconnecting, having fun, and being laid back, while family meetings are for household business. Imagine enjoying a moment with your spouse and you bring up finances or a habit that gets on your nerves. Now, your evening alone has become a bit dampened, and irritability could build over the course of the night—yikes! Table your concerns for another time.

  3. Be playful and have fun.

    I often hear couples (or even see it in the media) associate dating with fun and marriage with seriousness. Of course, marriage is more serious than dating, but it does not have to be completely devoid of play. Make an effort to do things that spread joy to one another! Maybe you used to do something while dating and it needs to be revived? Go through old photos or videos together and talk about those memories. Or, try being a bit more spontaneous! Instead of just watching TV together, break out a board game or some cards. Instead of the typical dinner and movie date night, search the Internet for concerts, plays, or events. One of the best date nights I’ve ever had? My husband got us tickets to an orchestra concert that played my favorite video game music while they played scenes in the background.

  4. What can I do for you today?

    Make a habit out of asking this every day, if possible. As adults, we can get burdened quickly, and imagine someone asking this to you when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Even if the answer is simple, like “unload the dishwasher,” that’s one little thing that your spouse wanted to do out of love and service to you. Try to start the day with this—maybe end your morning prayer with this question!

  5. Continually learn more about yourself and your spouse.

    Audrey mentioned the love languages in her post on marriage. I definitely recommend this, and more! I’ve known my husband for over a decade now, and we’re not the same people… at our core, yes, but we’ve matured, altered a bit in likes/dislikes, etc. It is so enlightening when we set aside time to take quizzes or discuss personality traits. We have done the love languages, apology languages, Myers-Briggs, and even just asked one another random questions. Actually, the random question game is our favorite game to play during a long car trip! Want a free sample? Subscribe to the link below and get a free Question Starter for your next date night.

 

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