Confession: I’ve long loved a good RomCom. You know, Romantic Comedy, Chick Flick. Can they be cheesy? Absolutely. Predictable? Ridiculously so. But, there’s something wonderfully reassuring about seeing love bloom in the midst of this increasingly angry world.
However...there is one common denominator I now find extremely disconcerting about these movies I’ve long loved… The camera often stops rolling with a marriage proposal or wedding. Or when real love is just getting started.
What about after the proposal and wedding? Is the good stuff all over? Are love’s best days behind us once we say “I Do”? Certainly not, but here is my best guess as to why the cameras stop recording...
Life is tough on a marriage.
Think about it. Our sinful self-centered ways, combined with the natural progression and juggling act of life, seem to act as conspirators intent to pull couples apart. But staying in love while married...oh, it is worth every ounce of fun, hard, intentional effort it requires!
Water what we’ve got
You may have heard it said, “If the grass looks greener elsewhere, somebody is probably watering it.” This is true in love and marriage, as it is in lawn care.
Here are a few ways I’ve been learning to water what I have to keep love blooming…
1. Stay Interested and Interesting
Our mates are so different from us and that can’t be a coincidence. How does he think or feel about something and why? I need to ask his opinions and carefully listen when he answers, regardless of whether or not I agree. What is he reading/watching/working on and why is it important to him? What does he still dream about?
We women also need to continually grow personally so we bring our own interesting passion to this partnership. Growing in my faith, as well as learning about and exposing myself to new people, places, hobbies, ideas, and experiences breathes life into me that I can then bring to my marriage, upping my own interestingness.
2. Keep Playtime Together a Priority
This is possibly the easiest thing to stop doing without noticing and one of the most difficult things to keep doing during certain seasons of life.In his book His Needs, Her Needs, marriage counselor Willard Harley says we associate the positive feelings we have during play with the people who we share the positive experience with. Yes, this takes some creativity and planning when finances and time are tight and life is unusually hard, but never ever EVER underestimate the impact of continuing to play together. Keep the fun in your coupledom!
3. Practice the Little Kindnesses
Love notes left on the vanity, filling his car with gas when you borrow it, making him his favorite coffee even though you don’t drink the nasty stuff...it’s easy to let things like these slip as the years go by, but they speak volumes. I am not a natural server, so It helps when I focus on what I think would be most meaningful to my man.
4. Don’t Expect Your Mate to Be God
My unrealistic expectations set him up for failure and me for dismal disappointment. Your mate will never fully understood you or have an inexhaustible capacity to selflessly meet your every desire and fulfill your dreams. He. Is. Human. Give the guy some grace.
5. Speak Positive To and Of Each Other
Nothing kills a marriage like a critical spirit. We need to put our efforts into growing in gratitude instead. Let’s look for things to be grateful for and express our appreciation often.
6. Keep Putting on Your Makeup
I mean this metaphorically. Kinda. It’s important to give our marriage our best effort, not the worn out woman who is weary from taking care of everyone and everything else, or has given up on trying. I know this isn’t easy, trust me, but taking care of yourself is good for many reasons and putting in some effort for him speaks volumes - especially when your love is not new.
7. Stay Teachable
I need to stay super close to God so He can convict me when I act stupid and need to seek my mate’s forgiveness. (Happens to us all!) We desperately need God’s conviction or we will continually justify our marriage-weakening ways.
8. Just Do It!
By “it,” I wasn’t referring to sex - I think that should be a given. (By the way, Harley says sex is like air and water to most men - a necessity.) I mean we shouldn’t just do what we want or feel is right, rather what IS right. We already know so much about how we should act and react to others, including our spouses. But all the expert advice is lost on us if we don’t actually do what we know is right to do. Regardless of what our men do or don’t do.
9. Fiercely Protect Your Coupleness
Careers, kids, parents, in-laws, personal projects, hobbies, needy friends, responsibilities, finances, ministry...these are realities that clamor for our attention. The temptation? Giving them all our limited capacity. Staying in love while married requires our focused attention. We must fight to give it that during every season of life. Time alone together to look one another in the eyes and show them they are still your person. Time to talk and listen, play and dream, plan and scheme, laugh and just enjoy one other. Regular and intentional, as well as special times away, just the two of you. If we want to stay deeply in love while married, we must fiercely protect time together.
Number 10? That one is yours to add. Whether you are married or have witnessed a marriage in love long after the newness wore off…
WHAT IS ONE THING YOU HAVE FOUND TO BE CRITICAL IN KEEPING LOVE IN BLOOM?
Meet the Author!
Bible teacher, author, inspirational speaker and disciple-maker, Vickey Banks is passionate about helping women connect the dots between God’s Word and their everyday lives. She loves serving as Women’s Ministry Director at Council Road, celebrating her people, playing with her puppy and getting lost in a good story.