Most married couples who have been together for a good number of years will probably agree that marriage isn’t exactly a “bed of roses” all the time.
Of course, when you’re just starting out as newlyweds, you’ll most likely be eager to spend every minute of every day together. But what happens when the “honeymoon stage” is over?
To help you keep your marriage exciting and joy-filled, here are a few tried-and-tested tips:
1. Feel free to go on dates and flirt — with your spouse, of course. Aileen Santos is an internationally certified Professional Coach specializing in relationships, as well as a Registered Guidance Counselor with a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology. She gives this very crucial tip to couples:
“Husbands: Continue dating your wives. Wives: Continue flirting with your husbands."
Santos says this may sound simple, but the truth is: “The longer you've known each other, the easier it is for us to get rusty in these skills — and the more challenging it is for us to be successful at it.”
She continues by giving husbands the point of a “Great Date”: “The woman you love has been swept off her feet by you, and feels giddy -- "kilig" at the fact that after your date, she's going home with you.
“This can be achieved by several things (the right ambience, the right words, the right body language), but the end goal is the same: During your date, make her forget she is a stressed out mom/overworked woman, and simply make her feel taken care of, protected, and adored.”
Santos also shares the point of “successful flirting” for the wives who may be reading this article: “He (the husband) ends ups forgetting all his other responsibilities as a father, provider, employee, businessman, leader... And instead what he feels around you is this strong surge of positive masculinity, making him remember when he was 7 years old and he wanted to be the superhero who got to save the beautiful girl, and that beautiful girl is you.”
Mari Salvilla, an online seller and mom of three, says she and her husband of 11 years usually have their “date time” at night. “We talk over a cup of coffee, about almost anything under the sun. We talk about life, politics, love and anything that we can think of,” she shares.
2. Be intimate with each other — in the bedroom and beyond. Contrary to what many people may think, a married couple’s acts of intimacy are not limited to what goes on behind closed bedroom doors.
Michele Santos Alignay, a registered counselor and family life specialist, says that aside from regular dates, couples should “talk about intimacy, not just assume that the other already knows a certain thing and feels a certain way.”
Alignay emphasizes, “I don’t think making love is just about sex and intercourse.” In fact, lovemaking can take place between married couples every day in different ways. “It depends on the ‘emotional intimacy’ that couples have, that made then connected to each other,” she expounds.
“Examples are through a massage or back rubs, or even hand rubs,” Alignay adds. “Cuddling in the bed at night or early in the morning, or preparing coffee for your partner can also be an act of intimacy.”
Alignay, who has been married for almost 12 years herself, also shares how she and her husband like “flirting with each other over text messages.” Also, aside from their weekly dates, they make sure to have special ‘us time’.
Pauline Espulgar, a freelance voice professional and mom of two who has been married for 10 years to her husband, says “a healthy sexual relationship. If one of us doesn’t feel like being intimate, we give each other space… and each time we get back together, it becomes sweeter and we become closer to each other,” she adds.
3. Live separate lives (temporarily and occasionally). Louisa Mercado, events manager for Mommy Bloggers Philippines, and mom to three kids ages 14, 13 and 4, says she and her husband of 15 years keep their marriage exciting by “giving each other space and allowing each other to grow.”
She expounds, “We have separate experiences and when we have our time together we share those experiences with each other, which in turn gets us excited about each other.
“It's sexy to see your partner growing into his own, and it gives you a little bit of a challenge to make the extra effort to be close and involved in his life.”
4. Nurture each other’s hobbies and interests. Toni Tiu, a strategist with a 5-year-old son, has been happily married for 11 years. She attributes the excitement in their marriage to “showing a genuine interest in what the other is into.”
“We realize that we have interests that we don't share, and that's okay. My husband loves running — I'd rather curl up on a couch with a good book,” Toni shares.
“I love to write — my husband prefers sharing stories in pictures. I share running quotes with him; he recommends great restaurants we can visit so I can blog about the food. Fueling each other's interests keeps the marriage exciting.”
5. Deepen your friendship. Pauline proudly shares that her husband is her best friend, which is one of the reasons why she’s still excited to be with him even after so many years (they have been a couple since 1996). “I can’t help but laugh at his jokes, even though they are super corny,” she says.
Virtual assistant Marge Aberásturi, mom to three kids ages 15, 11 and 9, has similar sentiments about her husband of 15 years.
“Both hubby and I don't have a romantic bone in our bodies, so we are not the type to go out on dates, nor is he the type to bring me flowers. We don't even wrap gifts for each other. We just buy each other what one feels the other needs,” she divulges.
“But we laugh together a lot. We are like the best of friends living together who happen to have kids. We talk about anything and everything, and in most of our talks, we ask each other the question: ‘What did you ever see in me?’ And maybe because we still have not figured it out, the mystery keeps our marriage fresh and alive and simply wonderful.“
Keeping the fire alive in your marriage can indeed be challenging, but with a bit of creativity, and a lot of communication and cuddles, it can certainly be done.
How do you spice up your marriage? Share your tips with us by leaving a comment below.