Tuesday, January 28, 2014

27 Ways to Re-Juvinate Your Marriage

Saying ‘I do’ again!!
Saying ‘I do’ again!!
Saying ‘I do’ again!!
In a few days, my hubby and I will be celebrating our 27th wedding anniversary. Every year, we say the same thing...where does the time go? Yet, 27 years is a LONG time to be married, in this day and age. As we add another year of marriage experience to our lives, there are many things we have learned(and we are still learning). I want to share a  bit of my "marriage wisdom" with you today.

One of the guarantees of marriage is that we will experience days, months, seasons of staleness.  It’s unavoidable because no couple is a perfect couple. Anyone who says they have never been in a marital rut is either in denial or hasn’t been married long enough to know what they are talking about. Every marriage experiences dry seasons.

The seasons should not shock a couple. We should understand they will happen, but when they do happen we should not take them lightly. We should proactively respond to these moments to ensure they are only seasons and do not become the defining characteristic of our marriages. Here are a 27 ideas to keep that spark alive! (Yes, that's for 27 years of marriage!)

1.  Start working out together.      If you have let yourself go a bit, get into shape and stay fit by working out with your partner. If you haven't exercised in a while, you can start out slowly with walks around the neighborhood or jogs at the park. Enjoy working up a sweat together as you improve your health.

2.  Take a class together. Stimulate your creativity and your relationship by taking a class together. Choose an unusual topic that interests you both -- anything from an Italian cooking course to guitar lessons to a tai chi class. Spending time together in an out-of-the-ordinary setting can rejuvenate your relationship and allow you to explore a different side to your partner. 
3.  Get fit—spiritually.  Have you let your spiritual practices slide over the past couple months? Rather than become discouraged, make a resolution to improve. Schedule time for prayer and spiritual reading, even if it’s only a few minutes. Consider setting aside time to pray with your spouse 
4.  Make over your bedroom.  Want to freshen up your romance?  Consider a bedroom makeover.  This is an easy way to add some new dimension and excitement to your relationship.  Add elements that bring in the romance and make this your couple’s sanctuary.

5.  Plan fun adventurous date nights.  If you really want to spice things up, go out of your way to plan fun and adventurous date nights.  Think about things either you or your spouse have always wanted to try and find a way to make them happen.  Even a night away together away from the responsibilities of your normal routine can be a great way to add adventure and romance back into your relationship.  Here are some unique ideas for dating Your mate:

1. The Memory Date
The Memory Date is doing something that evokes special memories of the past. For example, we have gone back to places that were special to us when we were dating and reminisced about those times.
2. The Park It Date
This can be an inexpensive date that makes you feel young again. Go to a park, pack a picnic, and enjoy yourself. You might want to try out the swings, go on a nature hike, or feed the ducks.
3. The Take Out and Make Out Date
Take the kids to the babysitter's house and drop them off. Then get take out, go home and enjoy making out without any interruptions. This can remind you of what lovemaking was like before the children came along.
4. The Restaurant Date (With a twist)
You are probably saying "Well duh! Of course eating at a restaurant is an obvious choice. I did not have to read this to know it." However, if you are like we are, then you tend to eat at the same restaurants over and over.
So change it up. When we were dating, we were constantly looking for unique and special dining experiences. Be creative with your restaurant choices.
5. The His Date, Her Date
Hopefully, you and your mate share many common interests. However, we all have unique interests as well. With the His Date/ Her Date, you make plans for two different dates. You each get to pick an activity that you enjoy doing.
6. The Surprise Date
With The Surprise Date, the surprise is more important than where you go. You make all the plans (just make make sure your mate is available). Then show up and take them out.
7. The After Hours Date
The ideal date is to get a babysitter and get away from where the kids. However, there are times when this is not possible. If that happens, make stay-at-home plans after the kids go to bed. Be creative and enjoy each other.

6.  Surprise each other with meaningful gifts.  The story has been told of the wife who gently, yet assertively, told her husband “it’s nice to receive flowers and/or a card from you from time to time. And, please don’t give these to me tomorrow, but sometime soon would be nice.” Now, it wasn’t that the husband had never done this before; but evidently, it had been a while since he had made her feel special with such gifts. So, in a couple of weeks, guess what? He surprised her with a small bouquet of flowers, AND a card! She was excited, thrilled, and felt special! They talked about this later and she said she realized her husband was not a mind reader, and if she doesn’t occasionally let him know what she needs, her needs may go unmet. Of course, neither spouse should have to constantly remind the other what they need, but it’s okay to let the other know from time to time what you need to feel loved and special.

7. Be intentional about making time for each other. Most people are intentional about going to work, paying their bills, and even completing maintenance on their cars; but sometimes couples expect their marriages to be exciting and thrilling without doing the necessary maintenance to get out of them what they desire. Set aside at least a monthly date night. Make this a priority as if it were a doctor’s appointment. If you have children and finances are a challenge, barter with another couple for child-care services so you can go out. Picnics can be inexpensive, and quite romantic.

8.  Partings. Do not part in the morning without knowing one interesting thing that will happen in your spouse’s day. (2 minutes a day X 5 working days: total 10 minutes)

9. Reunions. Take 10 minutes, each, to talk about your day (the stress-reducing conversation). Partners alternate in actively listening. Rule: Support and understanding must precede advice. (20 minutes a day X 5 days: total 1 hour 40 minutes)

10. Admiration and appreciation. Find some way every day to genuinely communicate affection and appreciation toward your spouse. (5 minutes a day X 7 days: total 35 minutes)

11. Affection. Kiss, hold, touch each other. Play is good. Make sure to kiss each other before going to sleep and follow the admonition in Ephesians 4:26, “Do not let the sun set on your wrath.” (5 minutes a day X 7 days: total 35 minutes)

12.  Saying "I do" again.  This doesn't have to be a big extravagantly planned event. My hubby and I renewed our vows last year, while on vacation. We had our 21-year old son come along and "unofficially" officiate.  It can be done at home, with just the two of you or with close family and friends attending.

13.  Keep Talking. Communication is the most important factor that helps keep your relationship going. Take out a few minutes out of your busy schedule to talk to your partner. Tell him/her about your desires, wants, needs and your dreams.  Use the time to connect with your spouse as a friend or a lover; compliment and flirt freely. Always say ‘I Love You’ to make the other person feel cherished or loved.

14. Help with the Chores. Once in a while, help your spouse with the chores. It can be feeding or changing the baby or doing the dishes. These small acts show your partner that you are considerate towards his/her feelings and needs.

15. Try something new. Someone once said, “Action is where the miracle happens.” Take some risks and get out of your comfort zone. Explore new ideas and actions together.

16.  Relive Courting Days. Identify one activity that you did before you were married, but have stopped doing since the wedding, and begin doing it again. 

17. Go On A Marriage Retreat.  Everyone needs a change of scenery from time to time so retreats truly help couples to spend some quality time together. By going to a retreat center you get the chance to see things from a different angle and perhaps even realize that your problem isn’t as big as you first thought. Going to a retreat center may be a great opportunity to remember the happy times when you first fell in love and start the spark again. It is just important to stay open-minded and be willing to work on your marriage.

18. Relax and Rejuvenate: Take a hot bubble bath together, give each other a back/foot massage. If one thing leads to another, go with the flow. If it stops there, just enjoy some relaxing time together.

19. Instead of watching TV, read a story/book out loud or play a board/card game with each other. (Focus on the Family has a great variety of books that may be great reads for you and your spouse. Some are more fun reads, while others are more focused on how to work on marriage issues. Here are just a few that sounded really good!
For something a bit shorter, check out my past post series' on relationships - "Relationships Take Work" series HERE and "Ten Ways to Love" series HERE.

20. Go for a walk/bike ride together.(Of course, weather conditions may have an influence on when you do this. We are currently in a sub-freezing, snow-storm, so this may have to wait till spring for us.)

21.  Laugh together. (Lately, we have gotten into watching all the different "Youtube" pranks that are going viral...(hundreds of thousands people watching them.)

22. Use words of encouragement and gratitude every day. (Instead of complaining and criticizing, which is usually much easier to do.)

23. Do sweet things for each other – Daily (example: leave a little note of affection in his lunch; call or text her in the middle of the day just to say you are thinking of her.)

24. Keep the sparks flying’ all through the year with these new monthly LOVE calendars. (another free printable from the "Dating Divas".

25.  Make a book, slideshow, or video of memories and photos with your loved one. Then look through/watch them together.(I did this a few years ago and decided to do it again this year...I'll be posting it later this week.) The Dating Divas also have a list of other awesome anniversary celebration ideas...HERE

26. Enjoy brief times apart(visit friends/family, go shopping, or go to a Bible study or workshop, take a class), then look forward to time together, again!

27. Make time for intimacy in your life.  Yes, don't forget to make time for sex. With the busy schedules and stress of the day, this may get put on the back burner. This often leads to a less vibrant relationship. Especially to the women, make sure you don't turn this into a duty, but be a willing participant in the enjoyment of sex. Even be willing to be spontaneous, when possible. The intimacy it brings to the relationship is worth the extra effort. 
Try something new. As my friend Trey Baker often says: “Action is where the miracle happens.” Take some risks and get out of your comfort zone. Explore new ideas and actions, together. - See more at: http://fergusonvalues.com/2013/06/how-to-rejuvenate-your-marriage-with-imagination/#sthash.y8rmCDeZ.d
Saying ‘I do’ again!!

The greatest gift that you can offer yourself and your partner is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance. Offer it first to yourself and you will be better able to offer it to your partner. We also need to continually be aware of the seasons of the marriage relationship and strive to keep that candle burning brightly! 

Have a blessed week!! 

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