Q: Our marriage is—well—boring. How can we bring back the fun?
A: On your wedding day, you were flooded with joy over your spouse and you gladly proclaimed your undying commitment to each other in front of family and friends. It was a moment when all the emotion of King Solomon’s love poem came fully alive: “I am my lover’s, and my lover is mine” (Song of Songs 6:3).
But maintaining the I’m-rejoicing-over-you attitude isn’t automatic once your relationship has logged some miles and picked up a few dents and dings. It’s even worse if you carry around lots of unresolved disappointments. Where did the magic go? Is there any way to get the magic back? We’re glad you asked! Read on . . .
1. Put Each Other at the Top of the List
Move each other to the top of your to-do lists, just below your love for Jesus. You must make spending time together a priority, just as you did when you were first dating. We are amazed at how many people buy into the idea that “quality time” with their spouse and children is sufficient. Quality time is a myth. You need hundreds of hours of quantity time before you can enjoy real quality time.
Let your body language demonstrate that your spouse is your priority. Make eye contact. Give undivided attention. When you walk together, hold hands.
Instead of evaluating your daily success by how many tasks you check off your to-do list, ask whether they are the right tasks, those that properly balance God time, personal time, and family time. Your attention to the Bible, prayer, and fellowship with God will give you access to the only power source that will ultimately satisfy, allowing you to properly honor your family.
2. Confess to Each Other
Unresolved offenses block all kinds of intimacy—emotional, physical, and spiritual. We know this from our own experience and from talking to countless couples whose love has grown cold. Trying to get close while those hurts remain is like trying to hurdle a hundred-foot wall. It won’t happen.
When you sense a wall between you and your spouse, something is very wrong. Husbands, why not take the lead to address the pain and restore intimacy? Become responsible for the tone of the relationship and get your marriage back on course, especially if you are guilty of contributing to the pain.
3. Get to Know Each Other Again
Most men tell us that they were far more successful at connecting with their wives before marriage or before children. And many women report to us that as family responsibilities and challenges mount, they lose track of their husband’s most heartfelt needs. Recapturing the joy in your relationship requires that you get to know your spouse all over again.
Try some of your old favorites again. What are some of the things you and your spouse did when you first met and married? You know the things we mean: hobbies, sports, shopping, cheap dates, even parking beside the lake. Your spouse’s interests don’t have to be your favorite things to do, but you can take turns participating in each other’s favorites. Honoring your spouse means sacrificing some of your own agenda to please each other.
4. Rethink Your Thinking
You probably know someone who is always negative, who always sees the dark side of everything. Whether the subject is work, church, or spouse, that person notices flaws and failures everywhere.
What tapes are you playing over and over in your mind about your spouse? Can you change the way you think about your spouse? Absolutely. We believe it is possible to learn to fall in love again; you only have to do two things:
Be willing to fall in love with your spouse again.
Control your thoughts. Change the focus of your thinking to the qualities that caused you to fall in love with your spouse in the first place.
Ask God to refresh your love for your spouse. Even if you currently complain to yourself about your spouse a hundred times a day, even if you genuinely feel your marriage has gone bad, even if many days you don’t feel in love anymore, you can change. God can still help you develop a celebrating love.
5. Rekindle Romance and Physical Intimacy
Sex is part of this, but even more important is making sure your spouse feels cherished. Even more important is the need for just plain fun time. Decide with each other what “fun time” looks like for the two of you. Then plan it. Sit down with your calendar and be serious about setting time for not being so serious. Agree that during fun time, you will be relaxed and upbeat with one another. This is not compatible with dealing with issues. Agree to solve conflicts before or after fun time.
*For more practical marriage advice, check out The Great Marriage Q&A Book. It's available in our online bookstore!