Do you ever look at your spouse and feel like you’re drifting apart? For my husband and I, it wasn’t that long ago that we were saying this to each other. It’s not like we didn’t love each other – we both did, very much in fact. The day to day routine was just wearing us down. I’d spend my days with the kids while he was at work, then in the evenings, we’d tag team while we tried to feed & bath the kids, after playing with them for a bit. Then I’d try to get some blog work done and he’d try to get some downtime watching TV or playing a video game. A little while later we’d collapse into bed and do it all over again. It was starting to feel more like we were roommates than lovers.
Well, one night one of us broke down. I don’t even remember which one it was at this point. We both felt the same way. We both felt awful about it. We were tired of feeling like friends and ready to be lovers again. We set out to bring our marriage back to what it once was and by investing time and energy into two areas, I’m excited to tell you that my husband and I have a stronger marriage and are happier than ever before.
The thing is, you need to be intentional about your marriage! Don’t neglect it! If you’re struggling with feeling much the same way, there are 2 areas I’d encourage you to work on to reclaim your marriage and become lovers again instead of roommates.
Quality Time For Just the Two of You
I know, it probably seems like a no-brainer, but are you doing it? Are you spending quality time with your spouse? More importantly, are you spending time with him/her in a way that THEY feel is quality? See, I felt like – “hey, we’re sitting on the couch together. You might be playing a video game and I might be on my laptop, but we’re together and this counts.” My husband on the other hand, he disagreed. He wanted more than just that. And really, to be honest, I did too. We needed interaction with each other!
Let’s be honest too – it’s SO easy to get caught in the routine of watching a television show or movie together each evening (or a few times a week) and calling that your “quality time.” Don’t get me wrong, you can use that for a portion of your quality time together if that’s something you both enjoy, but you can’t make it all about that. You aren’t really interacting while you are doing that! If you must do that, at least go a little further and give your spouse a back rub or hold hands while you watch.
Now, I asked recently on Facebook how often married couples were going out on dates. The answers were varied, but it amazed me how many of you are lucky if you have 1 or 2 dates a year. I know sometimes finances or lack of babysitting can play a huge part in that, but if that’s the case, then you MUST make it a point to schedule in-dates, as we like to call them. Ideally you should be having a date once a week (in or out) but no less than once a month. If you can’t leave your house, wait for the kids to go to sleep, and then plan something special to do together that you wouldn’t normally do. Try to make it an activity that leads to you talking to each other while you do it. You can’t neglect dating your spouse!
So, how are we spending quality time together these days? What are we doing differently? Well, I took the time to learn one of my husband’s favorite card games so we could play it together (and you know what, despite what I thought, I really LIKE it now that I gave it a chance). And he plays board games with me that I like as well. We also wait some evenings to eat dinner together once the kids are in bed. It’s quiet and we can talk without a million, “mom….mom….dad……dad” interruptions. If you are too hungry to wait that long for dinner, maybe enjoy a special dessert together once the kids are in bed! Sometimes we get takeout and have a picnic on our living room floor together. Every now and then, we even fold laundry together and use that time to talk. When possible, we also take advantage of having family close by and go out on a date to our favorite restaurant.
It’s not always easy to find the time, but the difference now is that we are making it a priority.
You’ve gotta work on your sex life. Sex is probably the biggest thing that sets your relationship with your spouse apart from your relationship with others. It’s something special that the two of you share.
I heard one pastor say that he and his wife started a tradition where one of them would light a candle in the morning before he left for work. That was their signal that they desired sex that evening. That worked for them! Maybe it would work for you too, maybe not, but the point is to resolve to make sex a bigger priority in your marriage. If you generally have it once a week, start aiming for twice a week. If your spouse is always the initiator, surprise them and YOU start to initiate it.
Remember how much you and your spouse flirted while you were dating? BRING THAT BACK! Let them know that you are still just as much attracted to them! A little while ago I collected over 40 flirty memes and compiled them in a blog post. I reference this blog post myself frequently and send my husband one on his phone, just so he knows I’m thinking of him. Along the lines of the candle, it’s another great way to let your spouse know, hey, I want you tonight!
A few years ago I read the book Sheet Music. I found it full of a lot of useful information about the topic of a healthy married sex life, from a Christian perspective. I think it would benefit all married couples, but especially those who are engaged or newlyweds.
You Need BOTH of These Things
While it’s not always the case, I think the men feel as though sex is lacking, while women feel like quality time is lacking. As women, we need quality time together which helps us desire sex, as men, they need sex which helps them desire more quality time together. These 2 things seem to feed off of each other. That’s why it’s important to work on both of these areas of your relationship at the same time! When one is lacking, it’s likely that the other is lacking too.