Keep your marriage hot
Do you feel that your relationship needs a romantic makeover? Or do you just need a romantic brush-up? Then, it is time for a romantic checkup, and the romantic doctor is here to help you. To have a romantic makeover or brush-up, a couple must be willing to listen and adjust and invest the time and energy to do so. I am hoping that the information in this column will help couples to start on that journey of renewal and growth.
Is your relationship what you want it to be?
Is it hot and spicy or dull and boring?
Is it vibrant or mediocre?
On a scale of one to 10 – (one being extremely bad and 10 being excellent), how would you rate the health of your marriage?
The happiest couples are not problem-free but pain-free. The happiest couples are happy because they recognize their weaknesses and vulnerability and invest time, money, and energy to enrich their relationships. They are flexible, open-minded, and do not take for granted each other’s needs. During the past 12 months, how much time did you invest in your relationship? Did you have weekly dates?
Compared to other financial investments, how much money did you spend to buy books, videos, go to seminars, dates, or even purchase gifts or cards? Did you spend time passionately kissing without sex on the agenda? Did you spend time cuddling and caressing each other? Unfortunately, too many couples are romantically starved. They have drifted apart over the years. Some couples are emotionally divorced. They live together and perhaps sleep in the same bed, but there is a thick emotional wall that separates them. Sex is sporadic, if any at all. Spontaneous, interactive conversation is nil. Voices of laughter are seldom if ever heard in the house. Some couples are only sticking together for the children, but there is no “glue” holding them.
If your marriage is hurting, you can choose to have a romantic makeover. Your marriage can move from the “parched desert” of indifference to the cool flowing waters of romantic love and caring. You can climb out of the deep valley of stubbornness and rigidity to the high mountain of passionate love where you can feel the cool breezes of mutuality, harmony, and companionship. You can learn how to feed your romantically staved relationship with the daily diet of gentle conversation, affirmation, kissing, holding hands, and prayer.
Here are more practical things you can do to better your relationship:
• Select one day of the week as your date night. Let nothing interfere with it. Be creative in your nights/dates together. By the end of the year, you should have had at least 52 dates of intense romantic times together.
• Spend 10 to 20 seconds in passionate kissing each day.
• Spend 10 to 20 minutes engaged in active conversation each day. Share what occurred in each other’s lives during the day, on the job, at home, etc.
• Sit closely together (cuddly manner) while at home for at least 10 to 15 minutes each day.
• Sit together in church each week.
• Hold hands while together in public.
• Sleep naked for one night without sex or sleep naked for seven nights without sex.
• Use romantic terms to refer to each other, even while in public. For example: “Honey,” “Dear,” “Sweetie”.
• Make sure you go to bed (at night) at the same time at least three nights a week, even if you remain awake for a while watching a movie or reading a book together. Let it be something done together.
• Take the time to pray and have devotions as a couple each day.
• Find something special or motivational to say to your spouse at least once every day.
• Barrington Brennen is a marriage and family therapist. Send your questions or comments to email@example.com, telephone 327-1980 or visit www.soencouragement.org.