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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Keeping Your Love Alive

Maybe you are in a really good place right now with your marriage and you want to make sure it continues. Or maybe you have been feeling a little blah about it lately and need to rekindle the "spark". Whatever your reason, I'm sure we have all thought about HOW to keep a love going strong. I know for me specifically, I worry that we will get to a place again where my husband might feel vulnerable enough to draw on the attention that another woman might give him. I think it's common, being the betrayed spouse, to worry about being betrayed again.  I also think it's common thinking for people to say "that's just how marriage is" and to accept that the 'spark' has left the marriage. 
"Everything in life moves and changes, but for love relationships there is no 'way it is' anymore. We are finally learning how to 'make' and 'keep' love. And it is up to you and your spouse now to decide the way it will be in your relationship. Probably, if you don't actively care for your relationship, the gains you have fought for will fade. But love is like a language. If you speak it, it flows more and more easily. If you don't, then you start to lose it" (Dr. Sue Johnson from "Hold Me Tight")
We need to understand that love is a continual process of seeing and losing emotional connection, and reaching out to find it again.  We need to be deliberate and mindful about our love.  We need to treat it like we would a plant. If we don't attend to it, it will naturally begin to wither.
There are several things needed to Keep Your Love Alive, but today I am going to focus on the following:
"Planning rituals around the moments of separation and reunion in your daily lives. These rituals are a way of holding your relationship safe in a distracting and chaotic world.  We recognize this with our children when we habitually kiss them goodbye and hold and greet them when they return to us. Why not take the time to formally recognize our relationship with our spouse in the same way?" (Hold Me Tight)
These rituals help to show our spouse how important he or she is to you.  I would like to take a moment and brag about my husband, if that's ok with you.  For as long as I remember, he has always given me a kiss and hug before leaving for work.  I know that even if I'm not out of bed yet, that I can count on him to make the effort to come back to our room and give me kiss and say goodbye.  And it's makes me feel important to him.  I love and depend on moments like that! 
Regular small gestures that convey the message "You matter to me" go a long way in keeping a relationship safe.
1.   Give a kiss and say 'I love you' before leaving the house
2.   Cuddle for a few minutes before getting out of bed or before going to sleep
3.   When you get home, before you do anything else, give him/her a hug
4.   A quick call or text during the day to check in
5.   Saying a prayer together or as a family before separating for the day
6.   Eating breakfast together every day
7.   Having a family dinner ready at the table when one returns home from work
8.   Going to bed at the same time to cuddle and talk about what you did that day
9.   Making a lunch for him/her to take to work every day
10. Giving him/her a back rub while talking about what you did that day

While these ones might not be able to be done every day, they are still good ritual ideas:

11. Maintaining a regular date night, even if it's just once a month.
12. Recognizing special days, anniversaries, and birthdays in very personal ways
13. Read a book together and discuss it
14. Get away overnight without the kids
15. Take a class together once a year to learn something new or doing a project together

What are some of your rituals with your lover?!

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