How do you get that spark back in your marriage if you feel like you’ve lost it?
How do you rekindle that excitement about being together if you feel like you’ve just become roommates?
Never fear! I totally believe this can be done.
I recently received a question from a husband who said:
My wife and I have been married for almost 30 years, kids are out of the house, and we are just focused on each other. There are times that I feel our relationship has become more like friends instead of husband and wife. My wife says she is happy the way things are, and I am not. I want to make it clear, she is the women of my dreams…I wouldn’t want anyone else. I just want to get some of that spark back in our marriage.
What is that “Spark” in marriage in the first place?
That spark is when you’re excited to spend time together.When you have something important happen in your life, they’re the person you want to tell first. You want to touch them when you have the chance. You feel blessed to be with them. And you find the time you spend with them some of your favourite times in your life.
That’s honestly what I feel for Keith. It really is.
Now, here’s the thing: we tend to think that the spark is sexual in nature. But instead, I believe that sexual desire and that urge to have more fun in the bedroom and become more adventurous in bed and feel all that passion is actually a result of the spark. Even in a relationship built solely on sexual attraction, that “spark” will fade. You aren’t always going to be excited by them. No, what keeps the spark alive is an underlying and deep friendship where you feel as if you can be vulnerable, you can be yourself, and you’re drawn to one another. When we’re “truly known”, then our guard can come down. And that’s when the spark is fuelled!
Often what happens with couples is that they stop sharing the deep stuff, and that’s why desire fades. You can know everything about someone and not really know someone. When we’re becoming emotionally vulnerable and communicating about the stuff that’s going on in our hearts, there’s always more to talk about! But when you’re communicating on a surface level, you can run out of things to say pretty quickly.
I think as you find that spark again, sex is also going to become much better (and we’ll be talking about that a lot leading up to Valentine’s Day!). But let’s put first things first and figure out how to rebuild that emotional intimacy that you need to feel really connected.
10 Ways to Rekindle that Spark in Marriage
First, let’s put good habits in place so that you each feel like a priority and so that you have natural times to talk to one another.
1. Go to bed at the same time
Don’t spend all night on screens, and then come to bed when the urge strikes you. Adults need bedtimes, too! As much as possible, and as much as your work schedules allow, go to bed at the same time. There’s something about going to bed together that can be very intimate, even if sex doesn’t happen. You’re able to process your day together. You can catch up on what’s happening tomorrow. You can touch each other before you drift off. You can pray together!
And let’s be realistic–sex is far more likely to happen if you’re in the same place at the same time. Most sex is spontaneous. You don’t plan for it. But you can’t be spontaneous if you’re not together!
2. Have a morning check-in
Connect every morning, even if just for a few minutes. Let each other know what you’re planning on doing that day, and what are the big things on your list. Ask each other these two questions:
- How can I pray for you today?
- What do you need from me today?
Sometime in the evening, whether at dinner or on a walk or whenever, take a few minutes and share two things with each other: What was the time that you felt most “in the groove” today, most energized, most excited? And then what was the time when you felt most defeated, most frustrated, most like you were just slogging?
Sharing these things helps your spouse in on your emotions. And this exercise is far easier for many people, especially introverts, than asking “how was your day?” or “what did you today?” Instead of listing everything you did, you just talk about the things that affected you most, letting your spouse in, but also giving you an opportunity to process things.
4. Have dinner at a table and use candlelight and talk
Going to bed lends itself to conversation–but so does dinner time. Instead of having dinner in front of a screen, try sitting at a table together and just talking. Make it a habit. And that routine is key! If you can’t do it every night, how about just Tuesdays and Thursdays? Or Mon-Wed-Fri?
Especially when you’re empty nesters or newly married, and you’re the only two in the house, it’s easy to let these routines slide. But they matter.
5. Turn off the screens
Speaking of screen-free time, what about choosing a night of the week where you’ll have no screens? On that night you’ll play a board game as a couple, do a hobby, or exercise together. It doesn’t need to be every night, but pick one night a week and stick to it.
Rekindling the spark doesn’t require earth-shattering changes. Here are 10 little changes you can do everyday to reignite the spark in your marriage!
6. Do a hobby together
Finding something new to do together can be awfully exciting.
Keith and I enjoy birding together, but I’m not as much of a fan of it in the deep winter as he is. It’s cold here right now! But something else we enjoy doing together is tracing our family trees.
Here’s something cool that Canadians may pick up on. Remember the Battle of the Plains of Abraham–that historic battle in 1759 in Quebec City where England won over France, and New France became British?
Well, this weekend we learned that Keith has an ancestor named Abraham Martin (“The Scot” he was called). He was one of the first three settlers in New France. And the Plains of Abraham was named after him!
That’s a little thing (though it may take all my Canadian readers back to their grade 5 history), but it’s just kind of fun to learn this together. When we do new things, we have new experiences. That’s more to talk about. More to get excited about. More to share.
7. Volunteer Together
Serving together can also bring you out of a rut. When you give of yourselves, your life gets bigger. You realize that God made you for a purpose. That, in and of itself, is exciting! And when you share that with your spouse, then you each feel a part of something beyond you.
Find a ministry at church that you both are passionate about. Maybe it’s volunteering for the junior high group, or teaching Sunday School. Maybe it’s doing hospital visitation, or even serving on a worship team. Just find something that you can do together.
8. Do new things that involve moving–ballroom dancing; tennis; squash
Here’s another big reason life gets boring: We don’t move! There’s something exciting about using the bodies that God gave us and about getting our heartrate elevated. So find something new to do that involves moving, whether it’s ballroom dancing, a sport you do together, even bowling. It doesn’t have to be super hard. But doing something physical brings us out of screens and out of our heads and tends to lead to a lot more laughter.
9. Kiss or touch whenever you reunite after being apart
When you come in the door after work; when you see each other again after doing separate errands; when you arrive back inside the house after shovelling the driveway or doing the gardening–just touch each other. Better yet, give each other a kiss! Scan for opportunities to connect, and make it a habit whenever you reunite.
You’ll notice that none of these things is earth-shattering.
None is even that difficult! But all of these things start falling off the wayside when we get busy with other concerns. Kids take over and we stop connecting. They get our attention. Jobs get busy. We start wasting time and we get into bad habits.
These habits help you feel connected. They give you things to laugh about–but also opportunities to laugh together. And when you laugh, when you share, you feel more connected.
So if you want to stop the drift in your marriage, just go back to doing those small things, each and every day, that make your spouse feel like they are most important to you. Usually on Tuesdays I tell you to pick one item from my Top 10 and do it. This one I’m going to say–try to do all of them. Because they all are just part of a healthy marriage and a healthy life.
10. Try 31 Days to Great Sex!
If what you really need is to bring that spark back sexually, try the 31 Days to Great Sex challenge! It’s got all kinds of challenges in there that will also help you be more affectionate; help you flirt more with your husband; help you open up and talk more about what you want. But then there are all the challenges that will help you spice things up, try new things, and get out of that rut.
Bring that SPARK back to the bedroom!
You can find that spark in your marriage again! And it doesn’t have to be a huge change. Just start these little habits, everyday, and see how much more connected you’ll feel.
Let me know in the comments: Have you ever felt like you were in a rut? How did you break out of it?
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