When did your family begin? When your first child arrived? When they were conceived? Nope. It was on your wedding day! On the day of your wedding, a new family was formed because marriage is the foundation of the family. God’s plan for salvation started with a marriage in the Garden of Eden. Marriage is one of the fruits preserved from the Garden and has always been a part of God’s grand scheme! Because marriage is God’s plan for man’s happiness, Satan hates it and wants to attack it. We must be very intentional and fight for our marriages at all times. Don’t get distracted or allow yourself to just drift away from your spouse. Cracks can form in your relationship in very small ways and couples can slowly grow distant from one another. We have to keep our love alive! How can we do this? Five places to start:
1. Act like you are in love.
Some days you may have to put on a “Fake it ‘till you make it” attitude. There may not be warm, cuddly feelings and that’s okay. The reality is that marriage is work and it is okay to struggle. When you embrace that fact, you realize that all marriages go through cycles of ups and downs, and sometimes you must decide to work through the down. Begin by simply acting like you are in love, and your feelings will follow.
2. Develop and have common loves, or shared loves.
Every shared love that you have with your spouse is like another strand of a chord. The more strands you have, the stronger that cord binds you together. Shared love means finding things that you like which you have in common. Always remember that people change. What they didn’t enjoy last time they may enjoy now—and vice versa! No matter how long you’ve been married, you want to continue to find out new things about your spouse. Before you are a parent, you are a spouse and you need to nourish that relationship.
3. You must leave the children.
Children come from the fruit of our love. Our love was so amazing that nine months later we had to give it a name! More than time with you, children need parents who are united and in love. Leave your kids from time to time in order to replenish and renew your marriage. It may seem counterintuitive, but the reality is that the greatest way you can love your children is to have a passionate, stable marriage, and that means having time together alone.
4. Take time to connect daily
This might sound like it is an overlap with the shared love, but the shared loves can be ongoing, every week or every month. There is something about connecting with your spouse every day and realizing your lives are completely intertwined. You need to know what is going on in the other person’s life and for that to happen, spouses need to take time to spend together and to listen to each other.
5. Appreciate the gift of the physical relationship
God gave us sex as a powerful gift. It is by God’s design that men and women are drawn to each other in this physical way. We are not spiritual beings devoid of a body. We’re incarnational–a body-soul composite. We have hormones and desires which are all good and God-given! The marital act is a renewal of your marriage sacrament, a renewal of that bond. Plus, sex and physical affection smooth out a lot of rough edges. It helps you forget things such as the last time they didn’t pick up their clothes or take out the trash!
6. If you need it, seek help now, not later.
Humans are created as natural and supernatural beings at the same time. We need to cooperate with grace, but grace builds on nature. If you are having problems, early counseling is important. If you are struggling, seek help from a mentor, spiritual director, family member to resolve those issues. Your marriage is too important to just put to the side. Be intentional about keeping your love alive.