We all know those couples. They giggle and hold hands and can’t seem to keep their eyes off each other.
We use words like “love sick,” “infatuated,” or “newlyweds” to describe them, and sometimes we tend to roll our eyes and wave our hands that they’re “just in a phase.” But sometimes we also sneak one more look, wishing we were still a bit more in that phase too, right?
During those early days in our romantic relationships, our bodies are pumped with hormones like dopamine and norepinephrine that fill us up with excitement, happiness, and a blindness to our other’s faults. Infatuation is a real, biological thing, friends!
When we settle into our relationship a bit more, we get some oyxtocin. This is one of the hormones released with a mother and her newborn baby, as well as during sex. It’s a bonding and love hormone that prompts longevity and commitment. As necessary, and even vital, as getting to this next stage is, it can sometimes leave us feeling a little lackluster when we remember those early stars-in-your-eyes days.
But here’s a secret.
Your relationship might settle in, but your marriage doesn’t have to be boring! And it can even still have a spark and be awesome after that initial kick of hormones and infatuation wears off! It takes lots of work and lots of effort, but friends, it’s totally doable. And it’s totally worth fighting for it!
Here are seven things you can do to keep your marriage intimate and fun when that initial infatuation starts wearing off:
Taking the time to be intentional with one another is huge. Especially after you have children and your identities as husband and wife can get lost in the shuffle of your identities as mom and dad. Laugh. Have fun together. When you were dating, you wanted to know all the things, right? Their favorite color, what stores they shopped at, who their favorite superhero was, which restaurant was their favorite, what made them tick, and on and on and on. Make the effort to continue to spend regular time together, to get to know each other more deeply, and to keep learning new things about each other.
2. Reminisce about your early days.
Over and over God told His people to remember what He had done for them. Remembering has such a huge impact on our brains! It helps us bring those things to our minds and live as if they are true. Spend evenings in bed looking through wedding pictures, talk about your first date and the “good ole days” when you were sleep-deprived and so in love that it didn’t matter, laugh about an awkward moment, set an old picture as your phone background and hang them up around your house. Remember, friends!
3. Speak highly of one another.
Our minds have such power over us. When we speak negatively, our brains think negatively and dwell on the negative. When we speak highly and positively, our brains choose to think and dwell on those things instead. We live what we dwell on. That saying about remembering what made you first fall in love with your spouse? It has weight. The quirks you used to think were cute that then became less cute? Positivity, friends. Choosing to remember the good things about your spouse is powerful. You’ll get to see them a bit more through those rose-colored glasses again. And speaking positively cements that. It conveys respect. It tells yourself and others that you love your spouse and you’re committed to them. It helps your spouse feel honored and like they hold a special place in your heart. Use your words carefully.
4. Remember it is a commitment.
Commitments are separate from feelings. Often we must choose our actions and trust that our feelings will follow. So even on days you are just not feeling it, you press on. You continue doing things to show you care, regardless of your feelings. Keep sharing the deep places of your heart with each other. Create an atmosphere of safety, commitment, and intimacy, even when you really don’t feel like it. (This might even give you a dose of oxytocin!)
5. Protect your bedroom.
Your bedroom is where such a tangible expression of intimacy and love take place. It’s worth protecting. Pray over it. Keep having sex and meeting each other’s needs in that area. Don’t bring anything in your bedroom that shouldn’t be there! If something is pulling you apart in your bedroom, get rid of it. Take the kids to their own rooms, put your phones away in the kitchen, take your arguments to the living room, get help for addictions that affect your life in the bedroom. Your bedroom should be a safe place. Fight for that!
6. Pray for your spouse.
Praying for someone draws us to them. That’s why God tells us to pray for our enemies. We begin to care about their welfare, and become more emotionally involved in their situation. Prayer is a powerful thing when used for our spouse. Pray more for the good things you want to see happen in their life, and less that they would change the things you don’t like so much. Pray that God would help you to grow as a person that fits your spouse’s needs in a divine way and that He would help you both to be selfless to meet those needs for one another. And pray for God to reignite the passion in your marriage. It’s a prayer He loves to answer. He designed marriage, and He loves it when we love each other! Prayer is such a powerful weapon. Let’s use it.
7. Be creative.
Continue to create experiences with one another! Mix things up and keep things fresh! This gives you a few doses of dopamine. Can I get an amen here, friends? Sex nights. Fun, spontaneous dates. Walks in the park. Sitting in the car watching a sunset. They can be exciting and over-the-top or simple and totally free! They just need to be memories made together. Be intentional with finding joy and love for one another in those little things again.