Valentine’s Day is coming up and you are likely making plans for how you will celebrate with your spouse. Perhaps you planned a dinner out for the two of you or maybe a special evening at home. Holidays are always a reminder that we should be investing in our relationship throughout the whole year, not just on special occasions. After all, a healthy relationship takes consistent effort, creativity, and a servant heart.
Back when you dated your spouse, there was plenty of time to be intentional. You wanted to earn their love, prove your worth, and show that you could be the person to bring happiness into their life. It was fun, exciting, and creative ideas for pursuing may have seemed effortless. After the wedding day, many couples relax in the security of the commitment and pursuing each other’s heart feels less necessary. Over time, the busyness of life moves your relationship to a shoulder-to-shoulder marriage instead of face-to-face. Working together to maintain the grocery list becomes your pillow talk. Eating a to-go dinner while at the children’s extracurricular activities replaces romantic picnics in the park. Even more challenging is the stress and disconnect after years of spontaneous military separations and uncertainty. Valentine’s Day is a great reminder of how much we enjoy the focused attention of our spouse and how much they need it too!
The great news is that bringing back the spark in your marriage is possible, even after years of shoulder-to-shoulder. Sometimes it is as simple as looking into your spouse’s eyes and holding their hand while communicating that wakes things up again. But most of the time, practicing new habits of pursuing each other really makes a huge difference. Here are a few suggestions that can help you be more intentional today.
Date Your Spouse and Bring Back the Spark
- Put a reminder in your phone to text your spouse a kind or flirty message at the same time every day. Even though this seems “scheduled”, your spouse will appreciate the effort behind the message more than anything.
- Schedule an intentional lunch date with your spouse each week to show that your marriage is a priority over general activities.
- Stash written notes of encouragement in a place where he or she may unexpectedly find them.
- Plan a date from beginning to end including where to eat, a sitter, and how you will end the evening. You can also create a theme each year such as museum memberships or concerts and plan your date nights around that theme.
- Participate or show interest in your spouse’s hobby by listening to their excitement or giving them a “coupon” for extra time to invest in it.
- Be “datable” yourself. Remember when you dressed up or watched what you said to each other when you dated? Consider making some adjustments to habits that have made you too comfortable in the relationship.
- Set up a romantic evening with a candlelit dinner, massage, and music all centered around your spouse.
- Plan a playful and fun outing with a scavenger hunt, an amusement park, or something else you both enjoy.
The crucial point in being more intentional is centering your ideas around your spouse, not yourself. Think about their interests and what would make them feel most loved. If you are unsure, then set up a scheduled time to tell each other what the other does that makes you feel loved, pursued, and adored. Keep your conversation positive rather than complaining! If you feel it has been a while since your spouse pursued you, choose to be intentional towards them anyways. This is the life-changing power of marriage in that you vowed to love even when things are difficult or unbalanced. Continue to make efforts in your own personal growth and marriage and this will likely motivate your spouse to do the same. No spouse wants to be left behind.
Think about the power of dating your spouse again. How would it change them? More importantly, how would it change you? It is never too late to start dating again. Take five minutes to plan some face-to-face time with your spouse today and remember why you fell in love in the beginning.
The HUN wants to challenge you to date your spouse. Share with us on social media how you date by using hashtag #DateYourSpouse, go!
About the Author:
Corie Weathers is a licensed professional counselor and writer. She has written for various publications such as Insightc2, Military Spouse Magazine, MSBHC.org and many others. As part of an initiative to encourage more marriages to develop and maintain healthy, balanced marriages, Corie and her husband have written a free marriage study titled ENLIVENMarriage. Couples of all backgrounds and maturity level, from around the globe, have joined the free study and have gone on to find great improvements in their intimacy and connection. This curriculum was written during their own deployment and is perfect for military couples who face separation frequently.