You’ve been at this marriage thing for a while now. You’re well aware of your spouse’s morning breath, nervous habits, and ratty sleepwear. The oh-so-cute quirks that made your partner unique are now stomping on your last nerve. You examine your in-laws with fresh eyes, wondering is that us in thirty years?! Phones, kids, and Netflix get way more attention than your relationship. While your love and commitment are real, the honeymoon is definitely over.
How do you fall back in “like” when you feel miles apart? How do you kindle romance when you’re busy, bored, and annoyed so much of the time? It is possible to enjoy one another and celebrate your marriage year after year. Take these steps to win each other’s heart again:
Give affirmation. Look high and low for qualities to compliment in your spouse. Validate a strong work ethic. Point out a fun-loving side that’s great with kids. Name the capable skills and creative talents you admire. Notice a new haircut or attractive outfit. Tell your friends (within earshot) why you’ve got it good. Take every opportunity to build up and validate your loved one’s worth as a person.
Say ‘thank you.’ You might both feel taken for granted in the mundane work of keeping things going. Appreciate the ways your spouse helps out—filling the gas tank, mowing the grass, getting the kids to bed, dealing with bills and paperwork—that make your day easier. Express thanks for how your partner cares for the important people in your lives. If you share about your tough day, also share thanks for a listening ear. And, praise God daily in prayer for your life together. Invite gratitude into your marriage and watch it grow.
Do the little things. It doesn’t take a grand gesture to show love. If you pour yourself a cup of coffee, pour a second for your spouse. Offer a blanket on a cold night. Slip an encouraging note in tomorrow’s lunch sack. Make the bed. Unplug and give undivided attention to your conversation. Get off the couch to say hello when your partner walks in the door. Acts of thoughtfulness say I see you. I care about you. We’re in this together.
Get closer. Invite your partner to share time with you. Hire a sitter and recapture the fun of dating. Go for a walk. Hold hands. Text and call during the day, just because. Give a shoulder massage. Run errands together. Plan a weekend getaway. Dance in the kitchen. Kiss goodnight. The gifts of time and touch are priceless.
Move forward. Choose to forgive, leaving your frustration and grudges in the past. Focus on your own personal growth and change before trying to “fix” your spouse. Adopt a positive mindset by recognizing your strengths as a couple. Pray, believing God will move you closer together. Commit to love that “always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:7)
A closer, more intimate relationship is within your reach. Move closer together a step at a time, and re-discover the person you fell in love with. We pray for every blessing on your marriage as you choose to love (and like!) one another today.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people,
holy and dearly loved,
clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness,
humility, gentleness and patience.
Bear with each other and forgive one another
if any of you has a grievance against someone.
Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
And over all these virtues put on love,
which binds them all together in perfect unity.
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