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When the honeymoon is over…

Showing love after the honeymoon can keep the spark alive

My husband and I got married in December, and boy, everyone was right. The engagement is the hardest part! We focused so much on our wedding plans–food, guest list, venue, dress, bridesmaids, groomsmen…. the list went on and on!

We spent so much time talking about our wedding day, that we didn’t talk as much about what our marriage would be like.

I remember when my husband and I held hands for the first time. We were walking through the snow on a path that led to a waterfall, and he reached over to touch my fingers… it was like electricity! It was magic.

Just a year later, we were running through a flurry of rice paper as our family sent us off to our honeymoon! I remember just praying that it would never end.

But it did. We came back to school, we started our jobs, and we meshed our lives together. Life hit us like a brick. Suddenly the lovey-dovey-stare-into-each-other’s-eyes time was limited to 2 minutes at night before I fell asleep, ready to get up at 4am the next morning.

Our time together seemed more like a business meeting. “Okay, you take the car to work. How is our budget looking? What are we making for dinner this week?”

So I asked myself, what are the little things I can do to make our relationship stronger? How can I keep that spark alive? And here’s what my wonderful husband and I came up with.   

1. Stop saying, “I’m fine”

This is something that has really hurt our relationship at times. I am CONSTANTLY working on it. I shut off at the worst times, which really hurts my husband. When I am angry or sad, it is so hard for me to talk about what is wrong. But nothing gets better unless you express what you are really feeling.

It can be so difficult to stop yourself from shutting off, but this is the one person that it’s OKAY to be vulnerable with. It’s important to make a conscious effort to be open with them.

Telling them that you are angry, or your need time to cool off, or you are feeling down on yourself…those moments are a very important time for your relationship.  

2. Keep Trying to Please Their Family

Remember how you felt the first time you met their mother? You tried so hard to impress their family and be your best self. Before we got married, my church leader gave me this advice, “Your husband’s family is the most important thing in his life right now. You should never forget to make them important in your life too.”

I know my sister-in-law, Tara, is amazing at keeping my mom in the loop by sending pictures of her children and making her feel important. Some ways you can make your in-laws a priority is offering to call them, sending them pictures, and sending them gifts.3

3. Dates

Date. Date. Date. This cannot be emphasized enough! The hardest part (besides finding time) is definitely thinking of new ideas. My sisters have written some awesome lists of date ideas. Check them out here and here.

Show love to your new spouse with these loving ideas

4. Every Two weeks, Two months, and Two Years

I heard a wonderful suggestion for how often to “get away”. This is great for everyone’s budget, but especially for couples with children. Every two weeks, go on a date. Every two months, stay somewhere overnight. Every two years, go on a week-long vacation together. This is a great rule of thumb to make sure you are continually cultivating your relationship!

5. Talk About Your Love Languages

One day, my husband said, “I know that your love language is gift-giving, because you’re always trying to think of things to bring home for me or surprise me with.”

I was shocked! I had never considered that to be my love language because I could never think of gifts for major holidays. But as we talked about it, I realized he had always expressed so much gratitude when I made a fancy dinner or surprised him with his favorite candy.

He knew that’s how I communicated my love to him, so he was extra grateful. Talking about your love languages can help you know how to best give love and help you recognize when they are trying to show you love in return.6

6. Surprise Them

This is one of my favorite things to do! I love surprising my husband with anything. “SURPRISE! I did the dishes. SURPRISE! I got that treat you wanted from the store.” It can be a candybar at the end of a long day, or a surprise trip that has already been planned. Big or small, surprises are a great way to add some sparks!

7. Write a Note

Especially for those that identify most with the “Words of Affirmation” language, I think notes are a simple way to express your love for your partner.

Once while making flashcards for a class, my husband wrote “Makayla” on one side, and on the other wrote, “The prettiest girl I know”. I found it later that week when I was studying and man, that made me cry! Since then, we’ve left notes for each other hidden in unexpected places.

Strengthen your marriage with these loving ideas, like speaking their love language

8. Light the Candles

Having a candlelit dinner, or even lighting candles just before bed has been a way of “setting the mood”. Even if we aren’t planning a super romantic night, it just makes you feel closer to one another. We’ve talked late into the night by candlelight, and it doesn’t hurt that it makes the house smell WAY better.

9. Say It Out Loud

I still think about my husband pretty much 24/7, and it surprises me how little situations can make me so grateful for him! But all of those thoughts mean nothing if I don’t tell him.

So I like to hug him and tell him every day something I love about him. “Jesse, I love that you are so willing to serve other people”  or “I love how good you look in those jeans” or “Honey, you are my hero!” A simple compliment can go a long way.

10. Do Something THEY Love To Do

My husband likes to play… Magic the Gathering. *Groans* It’s super nerdy, but he loves it when I play with him and his friends. In fact, nothing makes him happier than when I suggest we play a round after dinner.

Showing them that we care about what is important in their lives is the best way to show them how important they are to us! If he likes playing basketball, find a nearby court to play 1-on-1. If she likes to cook, plan a night you can make a new recipe together.

The reason there were so many butterflies in your stomach at the beginning is because you constantly made an effort to see them, talk to them, and put your best foot forward.

The honeymoon, unfortunately, has to end because otherwise, you would probably run out of money. But the marriage is by far the best part anyway.

-Makayla