- Get Started
- Review, Refocus, and Reenergize Your Marriage
- Romancing and Pursuing Each Other
- Growing in Love — Practically and Spiritually
- Put it in Action
It’s the beginning of the year, and for most, that means that it’s time to outline the plan for the next 12 months!
Normally that can generally include things like a review of finances, planning for purchases both big and small, home projects and renovations that need to happen, and perhaps a nice vacation.
You may be thinking — that covers all the bases!
But as a married couple, we feel like there is something that often gets overlooked amidst the review and planning of all of the day-to-day, logistical items — and that is a review of the relationship.
First Things First…
We highly recommend working on your beginning of the year plan (including but not limited to the things we mentioned above) together, as a couple.
While this may seem obvious, there may be some out there who feel like they have to tackle the everyday challenges of running the household alone.
We understand that there may be dedicated “managers” of certain aspects (finances, for example), but there is a huge difference between a mutual understanding that someone may be gifted more in areas, and an attitude of, “You’re better at this, so YOU handle it.”
To clarify, one is a partnership, while the other is demanding and setting unhealthy expectations.
Roles within your marriage certainly change as time goes on, and you gain new experiences in life together. However, although as roles are defined, they should always be cooperative and complimentary with and of each other. Regardless of who is doing what, it is important to remain on the same page, and for both to have an understanding of the overall, broad objectives. Otherwise, you can become glorified roommates.
How to Review Refocus and Reenergize Your Relationship
As we mentioned before, it is absolutely important to approach the beginning of the year planning with practicality and from a bird’s eye view. Equally as important is putting your relationship under that same new year review.
Why is that important, and what does it mean?
Reviewing your relationship together at the start of the year helps to establish your roadmap, and helps to set expectations for you as a couple. This includes your romance, your family spirituality, your pursuit of each other, your intentionality to grow in your love for one another, your scheduled date nights for times of reconnecting and fun, for instance.
So let’s talk about that!
Romancing and Pursuing Each Other
Romance within marriage can often be perceived as, “the longer you are married, the less you feel ‘in love.'”
But it doesn’t actually have to be that way. In fact, according to Today, in a new national survey of married Americans, 40 percent of those who’d been married at least 10 years said they remained “very intensely” in love with their partner. So you may be asking, “how is that attainable?”
Although we never claim to have all the answers, we do have some suggestions to keep that spark alive and well.
We have all heard that real, long-term love is a choice, not a feeling. However, we believe that the more you choose to invest in the romance of your marriage, the more you begin to feel in love.
What do we mean by that?
It’s quite simple, really.
You can choose to hold your spouse’s hand when you’re in the car together or walking through the store together.
Start small. This will help to give you and your spouse a sense of connectedness and comfort — especially if either of your primary love languages is physical touch (we have more to say about love languages later in this section).
You can choose to put your phones on their chargers (in the other room, of course) when you are spending time together in your home.
Yes, in the other room — we were sure to cover that loophole! Look, we don’t make many definitive statements here, but we are fairly confident that if you constantly check your phones while you’re spending time together, you’re not actually spending time together. The act of removing that distraction from your immediate access tells your spouse that they are your priority, and they have your full attention. You then become intentional about the quality time you have with your spouse. Checking Facebook and your Cryptocurrency can wait.
You can choose to learn what your spouse’s primary love language is, and become masterfully fluent in it.
We all have a primary love language. It’s the thing that makes us feel most loved when when communicated effectively. For some, a bouquet of flowers as a “I was just thinking of you” gift is most meaningful. For others, quality time like we mentioned in the previous point fills the love tank. When those needs to feel desired are not met, husband and wife begin to feel disconnected from each other. If you haven’t checked out the Five Love Languages yet, or if it has been a while, they have an online quiz to help you determine which love language is your primary.
Growing in Love — Practically and Spiritually
It’s one thing to surprise your spouse with any of the tips mentioned above, but it has to be put into practice in order to keep the fire burning. Trust us when we say that the longer you implement those practices within your marriage, the more natural it feels. It shouldn’t get “easier” because the things worth fighting for involve effort. Hopefully you believe that your marriage is worth it.
Growing in love is how you and your spouse tread the path toward remaining “intensely in love” like we mentioned before. Growing in love is truly living out what it means to cherish your spouse. Every choice you make should have your spouse’s best interests in mind. Every word you utter to your spouse should be that of unconditional love and respect — especially in times of disagreement or conflict.
Cherishing your spouse also involves your intent to invest in your marriage. If you are experiencing difficulties, seeking council and attending couples therapy is always recommended by the leading experts. But you shouldn’t only invest in your marriage when the rough waters begin to rise. When it comes to finances, you generally invest when times are good and when money is flowing. The same goes for your marriage — invest while your marriage is hitting its high notes. If your church or parish offers marriage enrichment classes, attend them! Find programs within your community or purchase programs to do together, at home.
Growing in love also includes the spiritual health of your marriage. Are you praying with and for each other with regularity? Do you attend church together, as a family, with regularity? Do you volunteer to serve your community? Practicing any of what we mentioned helps to develop your family spirituality, bringing the two of you closer together on a tremendously deep level.
Reconnecting by Scheduling Date Nights
Schedule your date nights. Plan them out. Even if your plans include pajamas and unhealthy, delicious snacks while you binge watch The Office, plan it out! The act of planning out and scheduling your date nights will get you both excited at the prospect of spending time together.
We even have an article on Affordable Out of the Box Date Ideas to help get you started.
Your Call to Action (In Conclusion)
As you are planning your year out, have a meeting with your spouse to review your relationship. Put it on the calendar, even. Be deliberate with the meeting. It is vital to review your marriage from time to time if you both intend to be in this for the long haul.
So that’s your homework.
Be renewed by this exercise. Pray together as you meet about this, and have fun!