Woman to Woman: Keeping your Marriage Alive

"Whether you've been married for 38 years, 8 years or are a newlywed, you've probably picked up a few of the keys to a happy marriage, one which is nurturing and continues to grow. Maybe your marriage has struggled, but you've found a road back to each other and have insights for those in similar situations. What would you say are the three most key elements in your marriage that keep the romance alive and the heart aflutter? "

I remember back to a Bridal Shower thrown in my honor. The hostess handed out pretty papers and pens to each woman who came, and asked them to write down their best advice for me. The advice was witty, funny, clever, sweet, endearing, and practical. Each woman had her own key to keeping a marriage strong, and the romance alive. What a treat to have so many share their "secrets" with me as a new bride. As with all advice, I have taken it all to heart, and tried and tested many of them, tweaking them to fit me. So, it is will the wisdom of many women before me, and my tested experiences that I give you the three key elements to my marriage.

1. You cannot change each other - and your marriage doesn't consist of just the two of you! Don't try to change the other person. It is against nature! If you find yourself wanting change, take a walk down memory lane, and remember the little things that made your heart flutter in the beginning. Don't change that! If you are still having trouble, remember that your relationship is a triangle - there are three points - You, your spouse, and Our Heavenly Father. If you work to become closer to your Heavenly Father, you will become closer to your spouse. Since we can not change our spouse, the best choice is to be to remember WHY you fell in love, then draw closer to God. Remember to keep God in your relationship and love.

2. Find excuses to be together. Whether it's a regular date, dessert after the kids are in bed, or just snuggling as you read your separate books, Be together on that intimate level. Don't get so comfortable in marriage that you don't need to be together often. Make time for being together. Some of my favorite times with DH have been reading a book out loud together ... Harry Potter, Walk to Remember, and now we are reading the Nanny Diaries. My favorite escape was in our own home --- relatives took the kids, and we slept in, talked while the sunlight hit our bed, went to Barnes & Noble and browsed for a couple hours with no children, then went on a nature drive to find photography opportunities. We didn't spend anything, but loved every minute of it, and I can't wait to do it again.

3. There is no such thing as coasting through marriage - Marriage is WORK! You are either putting hard work into it, or you are loosing the connection in marriage. Even the "most perfect" couples work to have that wonderful relationship. Love isn't a description, it's an action - you have to put forth the love every day so it can continue and grow. You can "fall in love" over and over again as you work at loving your spouse. There is not a finish line - Love is not a destination, it's a path choice.

I've been married 7 years to my best friend and eternal companion. And that's with many, many more years of blossoming love ahead. I love you DH!


SingForHim 94 @ Real Life said...

Great advice! #1 seems very easy to understand, but it is the hardest to practice.

PS I loved the Nanny Diaries! It was heart-warming and heart-breaking at the same time. I hosted a book club meeting for it, and I made tortelini and kale for dinner.

Montserrat said...

Great points! I particularly like the last one. It is work but so worth it in the end.

Lei said...

Love is not a destination, it is a path... I lvoe that, Sunny! And I am so glad you could join us!

Morning Glory said...

You definitely received good advice at the bridal shower. These are very good points to emphasize and it looks like things work well for you. Thank you for joining in today.

Michelle said...

Really good points. "Love isn't a description, it's an action." That is beautiful. That gives me a new perspective, thank you. :)

Karen said...

Being head over feet in love after any years is a treasure. I'm totally encouraged to see many couples cherishing their relationship and making it a priority.

I'm happy for you :)

mumple said...

Feeling that you miss someone when they're right across the room is something that we struggle with occasionally. It's good to have a reminder that *being together* can be just snuggled up next to each other!

The Mathews Four said...

#2 is something that dh and I constantly work toward in our marriage. We decided early on that the quantity of time spent together wasn't as important as the quality of time we spend together. We always try to make our time together worthwhile. Thanks for the post!
P.S. One of my favorites is reading books together, too. We read all of the Chronicles of Narnia books just before I had my oldest. To this day I crave pink lemonade when I'm watching/reading Narnia because of our late night pregnancy reading sessions!