A couple of months ago, my husband and I were driving to a restaurant on our monthly date night. I was super excited because, well, I got all dolled up for the occasion. I had on a shortish lacy, off-the-should dress with my hair done and a lipstick that made my mouth look all kissable. I had on perfume and heels. We got a friend of ours to baby-sit the kids and had even rented a fancy car for the occasion. I felt beautiful, unstoppable. I felt fierce.
So here we are in the car on our way to strip on the beach where the restaurant is located. I darted my eyes sideways to steal a glance at my husband. His eyes are on the road and music is playing in the car as he sings along. I scroll through my Facebook feed for a few minutes, then put my phone down and sigh a bit dramatically.
I roll my eyes and reach over to lightly place my hand over his on the gear stick. I gently roll my thumb back and forth over the back of this hand.
Finally I couldn’t take it anymore.
“When we were dating you ALWAYS used to reach for my hand when you were driving,” I exploded.
Jono glanced over at me in surprised confusion. “Matter fact, you actually used to get mad at me for not holding hands with you more often in the car. I guess now that you got access to booty any time now, there’s no need for any of that,” I went on.
You might think I was overreacting at that moment, but believe me, that conversation had happened several times before, and here we were again.
He quickly grabbed my hand, squeezing and caressing it with him thumb. He had that sheepish grin on his face that he gets when he knows he’s wrong. “I’m sorry babe, you’re right.”
I leaned back in my seat as I tried to calm myself down and decrease my rising blood pressure. His thumb started working it’s magic in seconds and I looked over at him again. “Let’s not be mad, okay mama?” he continued. He went on for a few minutes to admit that he isn’t as physically affectionate as he used to be but that he’s working on it, that it has nothing to do with me and it’s just him having a lot on his mind, etc.
Our date night continued smoothly after that exchange (can’t waste a baby-free night ya’ll!) but it got me to thinking (again) about how time impacts romance in marriage.
See, when we were dating, living several blocks away from each other, sleeping in separate beds (with separate bank accounts), we couldn’t wait to be with each other again. Whenever we were together we would hold hands, hug, and sit super close to each other because we knew that eventually we’d have to separate until the next time our schedules allowed us to spend time together. Things got even MORE intense when he left on a year-long mission trip.
But when you get married, the dynamic changes. You go to sleep together. You wake up together (hello morning breath!). You brush your teeth at the sink while your spouse does their business on the toilet, and you even wash their dirty underwear without blinking an eye. In a word, you get FAMILIAR.
That’s when it gets really easy to take your spouse for granted and stop treating them the way you did when your love still felt new. It’s like a gradual transition from making out while saying hi to just “Hey, did you remember to pick up milk at the store? ” When you see someone all the time and they become a part of the environment around you, it’s natural for some of the spark to fade.
That’s why BEING INTENTIONAL matters. You have to start reminding yourself about the things that attract you to your spouse. You have to revisit the memories you made together and recount the things you’ve gone through as a couple, the obstacles you’ve overcome. You have to move appointments around on the calendar so that you can leave work early and spend some time alone without the kids.
Being intentional about keeping the romance between you and your spouse going isn’t easy. You may have to put alerts on your phone to remind you to do the special stuff until it becomes second nature again. But that’s okay.
Every couple that’s been married for more than a couple of years eventually has to start being intentional about keeping the romance alive in the relationship. There’s no shame in that. What is wrong is when you don’t make an effort to recalibrate and get things back on track. A romance-less marriage eventually dwindles to basic cohabitation, a roommate with occasional benefits.
If you noticed that you and your spouse have lost your spark, it’s okay to get upset and voice your concern. It’s okay to fight for your marriage. That means that it still means something to you. It’s okay that I got passionate about my husband not holding my hand because it shows him that I still crave his touch and want his full attention. It reminded him that our romantic connection is still important to me.
So fight on friends! Keep that flame going.
Till next time,