Happy Valentine’s Day! I don’t care what all the nay-sayers say about consumerism and wastefulness and blah blah blah… I LOVE Valentine’s Day and I think it’s the perfect time to focus on doing something special for your marriage. Need ideas? I’ve got ‘em!
In our Taking Your Marriage from Fine to Fabulous series, I was lucky to work alongside four talented bloggers who shared their insights and suggestions, too. Here’s what we’ve got for you!
Should you find yourself in a bit of a rut, never fear:
In Getting Out of the Marriage Rut, Miranda reminds us how important it is to always make an effort:
I’ve learned though trial and error what my husband finds important. He doesn’t seem to notice make-up or hair as much but if I make his favorite meal, he really appreciates it. A little effort goes a very long way!
I shared When You’re in a Rut with you to encourage you all after I dug myself out of my OWN rut:
A couple of months ago, I decided I was sick of our “rut.” We were fine. We certainly got along. We still loved each other, of course. I was happy enough to see him come home. He greeted me with a kiss and a “Hi, Hon.” Ours was certainly not a marriage “in jeopardy.” But somehow, I knew– it could be better.
Perhaps it’s time that, in order to get the big picture, you focus on the little things:
Ryan points out the importance of the little “in-between” moments in Tuning In– Building Lasting Connections Through Little Moments.
When time begins moving quicker than we’d like, we must focus on living in the present. While this might sound cliche, we’ve found that many couples can’t seem to move beyond their past, while others consume themselves with the future (“Scarlett O’Hara syndrome”). Either problem can cloud our ability to enjoy the present.
In her post on The Little Things, Melinda makes an amazing analogy between marriage and a quilt:
A good quilter knows that many small stitches hold better than a few big ones. The same is true of marriage. It’s the little things in daily life that will make a marriage strong.
Miranda writes about Cherishing the Small Moments and suggests that we can each find our OWN special little moments in our marriages:
In the mornings, my husband gets up to go to work at 7:30. I wish I could be honest and say that I get up with him but I don’t. I find that I’m a better mom if I get my sleep :). Luckily, my husband does not mind so I say do what works for you! Find what fits your marriage and lifestyle and run with it.
Date night? What’s “date night”, you say? We’ve got tips:
Melinda shares beautiful wisdom gained through the years in Making Time for Date Night:
In time I came to realize that the goal of a date was to be together. Period. The details really didn’t matter. It didn’t have to be expensive – it didn’t even have to be planned. I lowered my expectations to just one – we needed to be alone.
I bust the myth of all those “parenting magazine advice columns” in Making Time for Date Night– Once and For All:
I think society (and women’s magazines) do young couples a disservice in their constant promoting of and insistance upon “Date Nights.” I can remember reading articles that waxed eloquent on how vital it is to schedule date nights out just as soon as humanly possible after you have a baby. I pored over pages that insisted that the best, really the ONLY, way to keep your marriage in good shape was to hire a sitter and go out!
Jill and Ryan remind us, in Winter Dates, that, well– ’tis the season!
… winter is the perfect season to be intentional about scheduling date nights. What better time of year to schedule romantic dinners, movie nights, gallery showings, or other excursions to help you bond as a couple?
Wondering if marriage can be spicy in addition to sweet?
In Sex Not Fit for TV– Keeping It Sweet & Spicy, Jill and Ryan point out the beauty and richness that vulnerability can add to intimacy:
The thing that makes long term, monogamous sex so amazing is that you can be completely vulnerable with one another. You know each other in every possibly intimate way. You can be free to let each other know exactly what you like and don’t like (of course this should be done in a respectful way). You can be incredibly goofy with each other or deeply romantic.
And me? Well, in Keeping it Sweet AND Spicy, I compare marriage to… um… booze:
Have you ever heard alcohol described as a mood enhancer? Happy people often get happier. Sad people get more depressed. Mean people get meaner. Flirty people get flirtier. Angry people get angrier. Well, at the risk of making a crazy analogy, I’m going to suggest that marriage can act in the same way– it is an enhancer.
And, finally, as you seek to build and strengthen and make fabulous your own marriages, it’s important to remember that “love”… is a verb:
I share a memory from early days of dating my husband, in Love… is a Verb, and reflect on how my vision of love has changed:
There’s a real danger in believing that love is something that happens to you. Or that it is some elevated state of wonder that fills you with unspeakable joy. I think there’s a danger any time we relinquish control and responsibility. Yes, love is something you feel. Yes, love is something you experience. Yes, love is something you (hopefully) receive. But, perhaps most importantly and most often forgotten? Love is something you do.
In Love in Action, Miranda lists specific actions she can implement to enrich and deepen her marriage:
As the days go by, it’s easy for me to become complacent in my marriage. I then find that all my frustrations are directly linked to exactly that. I want to go on a mission and start making more of an effort in showing love to my husband.
I want to continue being the girl my man fell in love with it. Even though there are many qualities that I’ve gained that are better than me at 15, there are things that I want to recapture. I want to laugh more and smile more.
In Taking the Fall Out of Love, Jill and Ryan get right to the core of it by defining love as a choice:
Love isn’t a condition; it’s a commitment. Love is a choice, or more specifically, it’s a series of choices that live themselves out daily. Love simply boils down to a being committed to doing what’s best for someone else – to choose selflessness over selfishness. So when someone makes the decision to move on (often to someone other than their spouse), it may be liberating to think that it’s love’s doing, but that too is a choice.
And, in writing about how Love is a Verb, Melinda passes on two amazing suggestions that have served her well through the years:
1. Aim for unity in all conversations.
2. Aim for the good of the other.
Think about it.
So simple, yet so profound. And so very true.
I truly hope you’ve enjoyed this series. It has been an absolute joy to write these posts! I am passionate about making my own marriage stronger and better with time and I very much want the same for all of YOU. If you missed any of the articles I linked to above, I suggest you pop around and do some reading– great wisdom and tips are out there!