Five Surprising Ways to Increase Romance
For many couples, romance is easy before marriage. There were no kids to distract, no financial pressures, and no annoying habits. After marriage, we take each other for granted and stop courting each other. Perhaps you've grown distant in your relationship and you spend more time with friends and your children than you do each other.
I really like the advice Sabrina Beasley of Family Life gives couples to bring back the desire you enjoyed as a couple early on in your relationship:
As simple as it seems, you need to talk to each other. You may be thinking, “But I talk to my spouse all the time.” I’m not talking about discussing family business. When I say “talk” I mean dream together, share your thoughts, expose your feelings instead of keeping them to yourself. It’s important to turn off the television or put down that magazine and look into each other’s eyes while you converse. Really listen and understand. If your spouse is distracted, then ask him or her to carve out 10-15 minutes just to catch up.
2. Keep short accounts and extend forgiveness regularly.
Nothing will ruin a desire to be with your spouse faster than resentment and bitterness. In return, it also ruins your spouse’s desire to be with you. Fights are going to happen in marriage; there’s no way around it. But you can choose to handle these conflicts in the right way and build up your marriage instead of tearing it down.
In Ephesians 4:31-32, the apostle Paul exhorts, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
3. Use words of affirmation regularly.
The tongue is a powerful tool. Instead of pointing out all of the ways your spouse regularly disappoints you, start to look for the positive attributes. By giving a little praise, more of your mate’s good qualities will stand out, and in addition, you will find your spouse’s heart growing larger toward you as he or she feels more appreciated and adored.
4. Check your expectations.
If you find that your spouse is continually disappointing you, it may not be his or her actions; it may be your expectations. Everyone comes into marriage with a set of unspoken rules about life. “Husbands should always...” and “Wives should always....” These rules are based on conclusions we've made watching our own parents and other couples that we admire. But it isn't fair to create unspoken expectations for your spouse, and then get annoyed when they aren't followed.
5. Never say the word “divorce.”
Marriage is a covenant that is made to last until death. That may be hard to believe in a culture where divorce is commonplace, but the Word of God is very serious about the promise of vows between man and wife (Matthew 19:3-9).
I’ve heard many couples use the word divorce as a way to threaten and control his or her spouse, such as, “If you don’t stop...I’ll divorce you.” If you choose to handle conflict in this way, your spouse can become afraid that you’re going to leave and find it difficult to trust you. These feelings then lead to bitterness and isolation.
Instead, tell your spouse that you will never leave. Let your husband or wife know that you are willing to work things out because you made a promise to your spouse and to God–to stay in the marriage as long as you both shall live.