10 Tips for Keeping Marriage Fun, Fresh, and Fabulous

Self on 11.21.12
Contributing Writer bio

Photo: firemedic58/Creative Commons

When I got engaged, I was surprised at how many negative comments I heard about marriage: “Enjoy your freedom while it lasts!” or “Welcome to a life of bondage.” At work, my husband hears comments like, “The wife’s gone away for the week and, frankly, can’t stay away long enough.” Clearly a lot of people are disillusioned with marriage. Even unmarried people bash marriage, maybe because they think it’s the cool thing to do. This is very irritating because my experience with marriage has been fantastic. I’m no expert, but despite having two energetic kids creating endless chaos in our lives, our relationship is better than ever. I attribute our success to: 1) being a great match, and 2) following these ten guidelines:

1. Get the kids to bed early and stick to the routine like your life depends on it.  Both kids are in bed by 7 p.m., freeing up several hours for us to be together.

2.  Get out of the house individually. It’s important to be apart and to develop our individual interests. Since the kids go to sleep early and events usually take place in the evenings, neither parent is saddled with active babysitting.

3.  Get out of the house together.  We aim for a weekly date night. Getting a babysitter is no big deal because the kids are already asleep before she gets there.

4.  As a stay-at-home mom, I fight the urge to stay in sweats with no makeup on. I remember how much effort I put into looking good when I first met my husband and, in some ways, it’s more important now to maintain that physical attraction because the initial novelty has worn off.

5. Keep doing the little things we did before marriage and kids, like racy text messages, spontaneous gifts, surprise love notes, candles by the bed, and showers together. Our kids need to see signs of us being in love.

6. Think: “Is this action going to make me more or less attractive?” Just because we’re married and have been through a lot together doesn’t mean I want to hear or smell my husband’s burps and farts. Same, vice versa.

7. Talk. It’s frighteningly easy to forget to make eye contact for hours on end when we’re chasing kids. We force ourselves to sit down, turn off distractions, and talk, giving each other full attention.

8. Go to bed early. If not, we’re both asleep before our heads hit the pillow. Making time (and saving energy) for sex does take forethought, as unromantic as that sounds.

9. Stay in shape. I believe we owe it to each other to maintain, within reason, the appearance we both had when we first met. 

10. Have fun. He’s my best friend in the whole world and someone I’ll be with for the rest of my life, so I try to remember to tell jokes, stories, have in-depth discussions, talk about what’s on my mind, wrestle on the living room floor, and be playful.

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