Bernadyn is a writer, blogger, and social media influencer. She writes for various publications while writing for her own blog.
Build Positive Routines to Refuel Your Love
As the years go on and our priorities change, the days seem to grow shorter. The hours are not enough to really nurture our relationship. We find ourselves growing frustrated at times, arguing more frequently or being too quiet around each other, maybe not knowing what to say or afraid to say something wrong to fuel the fire that has gradually turned to resentment toward one another.
The fire that once burned strong and hot with flames that flickered vibrantly, full of life, may now have grown dull and gray. The fire seems to have run its course, left with nothing but ashes of what was once there. Rebuild that fire, feed it to light it up again!
I know firsthand from having been with my spouse in a relationship for nearly ten years (married nearly seven years) that you need to constantly find ways to keep your relationship strong and beating with enthusiasm. It's easy to let it fall through the cracks when you have kids, a career and other obligations to tend to but that's why making a point to work on it is vital to its survival.
Having routines are not always a bad thing. Instead of just comfortable, dull ones, mix in ones that specifically feed your relationship. Develop a set of routines that prioritizes your relationship instead of putting it out.
Life is Hectic But Continue to Feed Your Relationship
Plan a Daily Routine to Nurture Your Relationship
Often times, we get caught up in our daily obligations so it becomes difficult to give one another undivided attention and our relationship ends up on the back burner.
Here are some things you can do to feed your relationship daily:
- Check in with one another throughout the day. You don't have to become clingy but let your significant other know you're thinking about him/her by sending a quick text with a sweet message or a phone call during their lunch break.
- Email or text each other at least once a day with a sweet note, a romantic poem or love letter. A happy, smiling picture of yourself would be appreciated, too.
- Pray together before going to bed; you'll feel closer to one another sharing and nurturing your faith. Read a verse of the bible together. Create a couple's prayer together or find one you can use. (I included a sample of one below).
- Take a daily walk in the morning if you have time or sometime in the evening before or after dinner. Hold hands!
- Don't forget the importance of hugs and kisses whenever you leave and return to each other.
- Say "I love you" and show "I love you." Actions speak louder than words. Make an effort to be loving, kind and thoughtful everyday so your partner knows you mean it when you say it.
Take Your Relationship Back to the Beginning
Plan a Weekly Routine to Nurture Your Relationship
Make an effort to do something special for your relationship at least once a week. This can take more planning but will be worth it for your relationship to grow healthier.
Creative things you can do on a weekly basis for your relationship:
- Plan ahead and set a day once a week to cook or bake together. Create a new recipe or show your partner how to make your favorite dish. Turn on some music, dance!
- Drop by for a lunch date at one another's place of work.
- Pick one night a week to park at a romantic spot or lay down to stargaze, talking about your week, individual goals and goals as a couple.
- Drop off love notes on each other's car or stick a note somewhere your partner will find it like in her purse or in his wallet.
- Give each other massages or a spa treatment at home for that added intimacy. Pick a lazy morning or night when you have some time alone as a couple to do this.
Dating While Married
Monthly Routines to Nurture Your Relationship
Your relationship will grow if you have something to look forward to every month especially if your lives don't offer much room for quality time together. How about throwing in some surprises to keep the excitement and suspense alive in your relationship?
Monthly suggestions and some surprises to add in:
- Discover a new hobby or activity to share, maybe not a new one every month but something you can both stick to monthly like dance classes or book club (I am doing both this year with my spouse). My husband and I started our own book club which is exclusive to us so it makes it more special. We both enjoy reading but have always read different things so our goal with our book club with one another is to take turns picking a different book that we can share and discuss. It makes us feel closer and gives us more to talk about. This idea can be turned into a couples only book club, too where you can have your couple friends join. Maybe take turns hosting the book club monthly with potluck lunch or dinner.
- Go on a planned date at least once a month. This helps if you have kids so you can plan ahead for a sitter. Take turns planning and try to do something different each time. Keep it a surprise and try not to reveal the date plans to your partner when it's your turn to plan. Keep him/her in suspense!
- Make a special meal when he or she least expects it. Brunch on a lazy Sunday or dinner with some favorite dishes one night.
- Visit a new place once a month like a restaurant or event neither of you have been to.
- Visit a comedy club or go to a stand up comedy show if you enjoy that. Laughter relieves stress and is still the best medicine for us all.
- Surprise each other with small gifts. Maybe learn a new craft on your own and surprise your partner with something custom-made. Time and effort is always appreciated!
Rebuild the Fire in Your Love
Annual Dates Keep the Relationship Strong
Annual dates are important in strengthening your relationship. You can remind one another that although your daily lives may limit you from focusing on one another with undivided attention, you have that time once a year to do so.
Suggestions for yearly dates:
- Celebrate your anniversary. Never miss a date! Celebrate big or small but make the day special the best you can.
- Reflect on your relationship, the good and the bad. Discuss what can be improved in a positive, kind and constructive attitude.
- Reminisce about the beginning of your relationship. Take a walk down memory lane, literally, if possible: visit the place you went on your first date, order the same thing you did that day (if you enjoyed it) and talk about how you both felt toward one another.
- Do something exciting, spontaneous and maybe a bit scary. It doesn't have to be extreme or dangerous but can be something you wouldn't ordinarily do like sing to one another or together at a karaoke bar. It will give you something memorable to share later and you may actually enjoy it!
- Get away from the kids at least for a weekend. Go on a road trip, spa or resort. Relax and focus on each other as a couple.
- Write a love letter to each other. Read the old ones together once a year.
- Take an annual couple photo.
- Travel somewhere new to refresh your relationship and find new places to explore and share together. Sometimes, a change of scenery can help rebuild what feels boring and dull.
- Go on a marriage retreat or marriage renewal.
- Renew your wedding vows. It doesn't have to be a formal affair and it can remind you of the promises you made to each other. Get the kids involved and invite some family and friends or keep it intimate between you and your partner.
- Have an anniversary party.
Something my husband and I did a couple years ago to refuel our relationship was attend a marriage renewal. We were about to have another baby but we wanted to do something for our marriage before another addition entered our lives. We knew our time with each other would be strained even more after baby number two was born so we decided to put our marriage at the front again as much as possible.
We heard about it through our church but it was not based on religion nor do you have to be part of a certain church to attend. We didn't know what to expect but wanted to try it out to make our relationship grow closer. We were able to bond and remove ourselves from life's distractions and just focus entirely on each other and our marriage. It was only one weekend, Friday through Sunday, so we were not away from the kids for too long. It was more like a vacation for us.
Other couples were there to participate and to make presentations. We learned a lot from their experiences and were able to reflect on our own relationship. Activities were provided that encouraged us to discuss our marriage with each other in a loving, constructive and positive manner. There were also some activities in which we reflected on our relationship individually.
We could share with the group or not; it was our choice. It was a peaceful and beautiful location where everyone was friendly and helpful. The rooms you stayed in were set up like a hotel room and there was a bathroom in each room. There was a nice ceremony for each of us on the last day. The bonus was that the whole thing was affordable!
I would recommend doing something like this during your marriage occasionally and you don't have to wait until your marriage is in trouble! It would be a nice anniversary treat to share.
More Thoughtful Ideas to Do for Your Partner
Make a meal for one another or cook together
Dedicate a song on the radio to your partner
Get a personalized gift for one another
Send a romantic poem or song lyric to his/her phone or email
Pick up or make a treat/dessert for your partner
Send in something sweet about your partner or wish them happy anniversary or happy birthday in the local newpaper
Set up goals together to improve your relationship
Help with household chores
Take a walk together at a beach, park or garden
Buy a small gift for each other
Be adventurous and do something out of your comfort zone
- According to Sharon Jayson, USA Today, "The marriage rate is at its lowest point in more than a century, and the number of marriages across the USA fell more than 5% during the recession." (www.USAToday.com)
- "A woman's average age at first marriage in the United States is now nearly 27, the highest in more than a century, according to the NCFMR (National Center for Family and Marriage Research) report." (Megan Gannon, LiveScience.com)
- In the article, "Factors that Make a Difference in Marital Success," Thomas R. Lee, PhD, Department of Family and Human Development at Utah State University states, "There are many factors related to background, upbringing, or circumstances that tend to be in a couple's favor for having a successful marriage...Part of the difference lies in the extent to which couples take care of their marriage. Every marriage needs thought and effort to improve." (www.StrongerMarriage.org)
Here is a Couple Prayer provided by the marriage renewal program we attended:
Help me learn to trust my spouse with all my heart.
Help me learn to speak freely of my inner longings and needs and to listen tenderly when my spouse speaks to me.
Lord, help us find time for each other everyday, to make a place for each other in our lives.
Help us, Father, to be one - One in each other, and one in You, until You bring us both safely back to You.
Be Proactive in Your Relationship
Any relationship needs time and effort to work and flourish. It isn't something you only work on occasionally. Every small effort counts and goes a long way. Be consistent with positive routines like the ones suggested here and your relationship can start to grow and thrive again.
I have applied and continue to apply these suggestions to my own marriage and I can see the change happening; we are growing closer, rekindling our old flames to boost it back up to where it was when we first started out as an excited, energetic couple. Life is chaotic especially when you have a family to raise but being proactive to consistently nurture your relationship will help avoid the fire from dying.
A Whole New World
At our wedding, our First Dance was to "A Whole New World" by Disney's Aladdin. That's how our relationship felt, like a whole new world with different turns and thrills for us to experience. Relationships usually start out that way for many people. The difficult part is maintaining that excitement that is present at the start but it can be done if we nurture our relationships.
Spend Quality Time Together on Dates
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Bernadyn (author) from Jacksonville, Florida on June 24, 2014:
Oh thank you for that kind comment, Mona! That's good to hear about you and your husband, it doesn't matter your ages as long as you're working on staying close to each other and doing things to keep the relationship nurtured, then I believe the relationship will be livelier for all couples.
Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on June 24, 2014:
I didn't know you are such a pretty girl with a great looking husband. Although the hubbie and I are senior citizens (I will be in two months), your suggestions are very good and creative. We do some of them, but there are some on your list I'm gonna add. Thanks!
Bernadyn (author) from Jacksonville, Florida on April 28, 2014:
Thank you, Predrag, glad you found it useful and thanks for sharing and the vote!
Nikolic Predrag from Serbia, Belgrade on April 27, 2014:
Hi Nadyn, thoroughly enjoyed this hub, lots of useful and interesting advices. Voted up as useful and shared!
Best wishes Predrag.
Bernadyn (author) from Jacksonville, Florida on April 07, 2014:
Yes, definitely keeping it fresh helps a lot! Thanks for reading, have a great week ahead. :)
Tori Canonge from North Carolina on April 06, 2014:
You gave some excellent ideas! I also think that it's important to keep the relationship fresh so that you always have something to look forward to.
Bernadyn (author) from Jacksonville, Florida on April 03, 2014:
Thank you! LOL, I do believe that marriage is not for everyone and whether you are single or pinned down, as long as you're happy is what matters. Enjoy the rest of your week. :)
Bernie Ment from Syracuse, NY on April 03, 2014:
Nice Hub. I can appreciate the content even though I've been happily single now for nearly 20 years. Thanks for the tips in the event I ever feel the need to be pinned down again! Voted up!
Bernadyn (author) from Jacksonville, Florida on July 26, 2013:
Hi Eddy, thank you, our anniversary is coming up so been doing a lot of reflecting on our relationship and thought of ways to improve it. Hoping it can help others, too. Enjoy your weekend :-)
Eiddwen from Wales on July 26, 2013:
A great hub which leaves much food for thought.
Have a great day.
Bernadyn (author) from Jacksonville, Florida on July 26, 2013:
That's such a sweet gift, I love that idea, very thoughtful! Anniversary parties are great so family and friends can celebrate with you especially those big ones like you mentioned, 15 and 25. Spending it with just the two of you is a great idea every now and then, too. We try to do that since I'm with the kids all day and it gets a bit overwhelming! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience, have a good weekend :)
kidscrafts from Ottawa, Canada on July 25, 2013:
I think it can be very romantic to renew your vows but I can understand my husband as well; what is important for me is that he is a very kind man.
We had a two anniversary parties ... one at 15 years and one at 25 years, each time with our kids and some friends. Other years, we celebrated with our kids or sometimes just the two of us.
For our 25th, our eldest son gave us a tiny train in pewter. Each wagon represented something specific to our life. It's just adorable and have a great meaning.
Enjoy the rest of the day :-)
Bernadyn (author) from Jacksonville, Florida on July 25, 2013:
Hi kidscrafts, keeping it alive is so important to staying happy and in love. That's an interesting way of looking at renewing vows, I can see what he means, too. Our idea of it is more like reminding each other of our promises we made and celebrating our love. We actually plan on renewing them next year so that our kids can participate, too. It will be a short ceremony, nothing official, since we're already married, so more like an anniversary party. I know the kids will love it! That's awesome! - 37 years, congrats to you :)
kidscrafts from Ottawa, Canada on July 25, 2013:
It's so important to keep the relationship alive and to always talk. Be interested to what the other does at work or for fun.
When people started to talk about renewing vows, I asked my husband what he was thinking about that and he was totally against it. He explained to me that his feeling toward marriage is that you do it once. It's a contract for life; it doesn't make sense to renew it. If you can renew that contract, that means that you can brake it as easily. I can understand how he feels about it. So no renewing for us but we try to keep it nice and cosy and loving year after year :-) We are going to celebrate our 37 anniversary in a few days :-)))