Jobs, Children and Marriage: 10 Ways to Keep Love Alive
by John E. Turner, LMFT and Sally Ratterman Connolly, LMFT
During the early years of marriage, couples focus on building a nest, settling into careers and having children. A priority is not to keep love alive.
It is too easy, after the knot is tied, to focus less on the relationship and more on the job or the children which is why the divorce rate is so high for this time in a couple‘s life. It is not that spouses love each other less, it is more because they find themselves drawn in other directions and away from each other.
The love can diminish or die before anyone recognizes what has happened. Neither spouse is usually the “bad one”. The distancing usually just happens as life evolves.
As couples grow apart by failing to nurture the marriage, they open themselves up for one or both to become unhappy and lonely. Problems don’t get resolved, fun dissipates and opportunities for affairs or enjoying the single life with friends and colleagues can become more interesting than what is happening at home.
We have 10 tips for ways to keep the love alive and make your marriage a priority.1. Have a technology free-zone.
Cell phones, face book, video games … all are distractions for intimacy and have their own inherent problems. Designate a period of time each day to put the technology away and enjoy each other and the relationship in order to keep the love alive.
2. Devote time to the relationship, time for just the two of you.
Fan the flames to keep the love alive. Have pillow-talk, look for one date night a week (even if you don’t leave home), find opportunities without the children, family or friends to just be with each other.
Find ways throughout the day to let each other know that you think about him or her and that you appreciate what she/he brings to your life.
Everyone enjoys being around those who notice the good in them a lot more than being around those who point out the problems.
Say “I love you. “Great dinner”. “I love the way you are with the children”. Squeeze her arm. Massage his neck. Share a loving and
non-sexual touch to keep the love alive.
4. Talk with each other about your day
Catch each other up on your lives each day. Debrief about stressful events, share news, dream together. Make sure that your spouse is your best friend and receives your news before others.
5. Learn how to resolve conflict
The lack of resolving conflict can lead to a build up of negative feelings. Find ways to lovingly talk over disagreements, resolve and heal differences helps to keep the love alive.
6. Share the load at home
When one person feels overwhelmed, it is hard to nurture loving feelings in the relationship. Fatigue may interfere with intimacy and sex. Help out the relationship by cultivating a partnership for the work at home.
7. Share secrets. Have pet names for each other
Keep the love alive with intimacies like these. Secrets bind couples to each other and set a boundary that keeps others out. Loving, special names increase a feeling of cohesiveness.
8. Keep a healthy sex life
Kissing releases endorphins that make people feel better physically as well as emotionally. Sexual intimacy releases bonding hormones, increases feelings of connection and releases tension.
9. Try new things: restaurants, activities, movies, friends
Keep the relationship interesting in order to keep the love alive. Don’t let it go stale. Even though many parts of your days and weeks may feel routine, find ways to keep your relationship alive.
10. Limit your contact with opposite sex friends if it does not include your spouse (in person, on the internet, in the neighborhood). Opportunity is often cited as the number 1 reason for an affair. Limit the chances for an affair to grow by limiting your contact with other potential partners.
The more that you think about your marriage and your partner and look for ways to make the relationship a priority, the more you divorce-proof and strengthen it.