We are all told the same story: that marriage has its ups and downs, and making it last takes a lot of work. But, for some reason when it's finally your time to tie the knot, you still believe your marriage is going to be a fairy tale.
Once I said "I do," I was convinced that my marriage was going to make it to the finish line. But as time went on, I realized that just "making it" was not good enough for me. There are people who are content enough in their marriages — they go through the motions, find purpose in their career or in their children, and fulfill one checklist item after the next. And they sleep well at night because they are living the life they were taught to live.
I am not one of those people.
Now, I committed for better or worse. So did my husband. But that doesn't mean just cohabitating through whatever life wants to bring our way. That means fighting for each other, for happiness, and for love every single day.
A few years ago, my husband and I got caught up in just going through the motions. We started to feel more like roommates and less like lovers. I loved my husband, believe me, but not all of my buckets were being filled. (I am sure his weren't either.)
Then I went to Vegas for a much-needed girls' trip and spent a night out dancing with some friends. The next morning, I realized that I was enjoying the attention from other men a little more than I should have. It may have looked like friendly dancing, but I knew I was looking for validation in the wrong place.
The worst thing you can do in your marriage is to ignore or excuse those feelings. If you do, next time you'll find yourself in a much worse situation.
If you are feeling like you're stuck at a red light in your marriage and are looking to bring back some spice, I have five tips for you:
1. Remember why you fell in love.
You chose to spend the rest of your life with this person. Sometimes you have to sit down and remind yourself of all of the reasons you fell in love in the first place. Remind yourself of how you love the way your partner's face squints when they laugh; how the skin on their arm seems to melt in your hand when you touch them; or how they are always the first person friends call when they are struggling in their own relationship. Too often, we forget the little things that first brought us to our significant others. Don't forget.
2. Get into therapy.
Everyone has issues, and we can all work on them. If you want to have a stronger and deeper connection with your partner, therapy is the answer. Going to therapy on my own taught me that you cannot prevent life from happening to you, but you can pick up tools to help you when it does. My husband and I decided to go to therapy so we would be equipped when tough moments arose in our marriage. It taught us to communicate in a way in which we both actually hear each other. Not to mention, it's taken our sex life to new heights.
3. Invest in your sexiness.
If you're not feeling sexy, chances are you're sending off that vibe with a big red flare. The better your feel about yourself, the more confident you become. Hit the gym for a morning sweat session and pack yourself a healthy lunch. Go see your hairstylist and have them freshen up your cut so you want to show it off. When you take the time to invest in yourself, your relationship will reap the benefits.
4. Flirt, flirt, flirt.
There is no one your partner wants to hear sexy things from more than you. Tell them how good their butt looks when they're getting ready for work. Show them how much you love every single square inch of their body. When you two are out to dinner with friends, touch the inside of their thigh under the table and make them squirm. We all need to be reminded that our partner thinks we look good. Flirt like you are two kids in high school again, and make your partner feel like the only person in the room.
5. Schedule date night.
It's easy to pack your schedule so tight that the only time you see your partner is when your head hits the pillow at night. But you should never stop dating your partner. Date night doesn't always have to be at a fancy restaurant either — head out to your favorite pub and play some pool, or go see a movie together. It is important to prioritize time alone, just the two of you. Put date night on the calendar, and don't let anything get in the way. Go to new places and get out of your comfort zone together. Have fun getting dressed up and hitting the town for the night. Everything else can wait until tomorrow.
Your marriage is going to have ups and downs; that is inevitable. What you can control is how big the gaps are in between.