Everyone wants to have a great marriage. When dating, couples will often think “How can our relationship be anything but perfect? We are so in love and we have no problems.” So what happens? Why is the illusion of uninterrupted bliss destroyed?
There is a component in most dating relationships that is unique. While dating, we tend to be other centered. We are generally more thoughtful, kind, and considerate. We go out of our way to do special things for each other. We are less inclined to make a big problem and have a long discussion over minor disagreements. We tend to see the best in each other. We are more forgiving and less apt to hold a grudge. There is a high degree of serving and loving each other selflessly.
What happens to relationships over time? Why does the euphoria of dating disappear to be replaced by the doldrums of daily life? Quite simply, for many couples, making their spouse a priority is replaced with other priorities.
Here’s how to keep the love alive and growing. Get in the habit; yes make it a habit, of doing kind selfless acts of service for your spouse. This can be accomplished in word and deed.
Praise and compliments should be the ordinary.
“Thank you, honey. That was a wonderful dinner. You’re such a good cook.” or…
“Thanks so much for fixing that. It really helps me.”
The daily things we do for each other are often taken for granted. Verbalize your appreciation. Express your thankfulness with a hug and a kiss. Look for opportunities to verbalize your awareness that your spouse has done something for which you are thankful.
Selfless acts of service can take many forms. Never underestimate the power of a neck or foot rub. After a long day at work, if your spouse has to bring home some of that day’s work and is hunched over the computer long after dinner, sneak up behind him/her and begin a five or ten minute neck and shoulder message. Whisper something endearing about how his/her efforts every day are really appreciated.
And since I am a firm believer in reciprocity, the thoughtful selfless spouse can offer a relaxing foot massage to the wife who has been on her feet all day at work or taking care of the kids and shopping and cleaning. These simple deeds profoundly nourish the relationship. They offer daily doses of love.
You need to be the expert on your spouse. What acts of service or words of affirmation are most meaningful to them? ASK them and make a habit of making these a priority in your day. Each day, find ways to serve your spouse. Nurture your love daily and before long it will seem like your still dating.