I’ve never been much for the forced romance of anniversaries and holidays. It’s not that I’m a romance Scrooge or anything, rather, it’s the expectations of grandeur on specific days that I resist. Call me crazy, but I expect a bit more wooing in the day to day.
We all yearn for someone to find us utterly irresistible, don’t we? As children, many of us dreamed of finding that one person who would make us feel wanted, accepted, and safe. We all desire to be swept away by our beloved, yes?
Then we find that one…the soul mate, the knight in shining armor and it’s so intoxicating! But then what?
If you’re like me, you all too frequently allow the duties of life to derail the passionate side of your marriage. Let’s face it, being knee-deep in diapers, snot, and laundry just makes romance seem like a distant memory. And I’ll be honest ladies, it doesn’t change when the kids are older. Then you are knee-deep in algebra homework, taxiing, and hormonal histrionics. Yep. It’s easy to forget where you left your steamy vixen hat. All too easy!
And it’s not just us. Our husbands have their own stresses. Some don’t realize our need for continued pursuit. They won your heart already, right? Yet I want my man to find me captivating every day. A couple of holidays aren’t nearly enough to satisfy my longing, and I’ll wager it’s not enough for you either.
I don’t think we have to settle for a couple of forced displays of affection each year. In fact, I think we shouldn’t allow it to be this way at all! It’s not just about us and our needs, either. There is a spiritual element that our children need to see. Scripture often likens our relationship with our Father to a marriage. What sort of relationship are we reflecting to our children? Are we distant with our spouse? Hostile? Do we play the passive-aggressive martyr?
Examining it in this light, a romantic and passionate marriage model is one of the greatest gifts we can give to our children. However, it won’t happen by accident. So what are we doing to foster an atmosphere of romance in our homes?
We all need reminders and ideas to keep the ol’ engines running, don’t we? Sometimes our husbands need a reminder that we want to be wooed. Sometimes we need to be reminded to put aside duty and enjoy being pursued. So, without further ado, here are my top 5 ways to keep the fire burning in your marriage.
Have a bit of uninterrupted connect time every day. This is time where you and your man can connect after work, talk about your day, and just enjoy each other’s company without distraction. Those of you with littles will think I’m crazy, but honest, you can train your kiddos to respect your ‘mommy and daddy time’. Start with only 10 minutes and gradually up it to about a half hour. Give them something to quietly do, preferably in another room and be firm. This is grown-up time.
This is not only a time of refreshment for you and your husband, but it teaches your kids that the world doesn’t revolve around them. They will actually feel more secure, seeing mommy and daddy loving and valuing their time together. Protect this time, and you will see great benefits from it, both in your marriage and in your children’s behavior.
Leave love notes for each other. Sticky notes, lipstick on the mirror, or even text messages are all little ways of saying, “I’m thinking of you.” This shouldn’t be a duty or a burden. It doesn’t even have to be done often, but make it happen. Let your kids see that you think of daddy through the day and model those words of affirmation to them. (Love notes are great for your kiddos too!)
Go on dates. Now, I’m going to confess that my husband and I don’t do this in a traditional sense. Getting all gussied up and formally dating simply isn’t necessary for everyone. However, we do catch a meal alone sometimes, we grocery shop together, and do as much of our taxiing of the kids as we can together also. Making regular times to spend time together is what I’m talking about here. This might be a formal date, or a walk around the neighborhood. It might be as simple as running errands together or hanging out in the garage while your hubby changes the oil. Time spent, on a regular basis, is what is important.
Gross out the kids. Hug, kiss, and flirt in front of the kids. If you wait until you’re alone, it won’t happen. We are designed to need physical closeness. Don’t think that should only be done behind closed doors. Your kids may roll their eyes or make grossed-out noises, but it will only add to their emotional security to know that mom and dad are solid.
Play. We grown-ups forget the power of play. Sing opera in the car, waltz in the kitchen, or wrestle. How about Nerf wars or running races? And of course, there are always board games, video games, and cards. Just get your game on and have some good old fashioned fun together. Being an adult is hard sometimes. Don’t forget to play.
A dynamic marriage makes for better parents, more confident kids, and is a lovely picture of what our relationship with our God is supposed to look like.
While holidays may give us the motivation to express our love in unusual ways, let us be mindful to cultivate homes that are brimming with passion and fun every day!
**Your turn: Which of these things do you struggle with the most? And what tips do you have for everyday romance?
Come on over and visit me at Building Standing Stones. Hope to see you there!