Romance was so easy back when my husband and I were dating. In a time before kids, mortgages and extracurriculars, it was no problem to plan a romantic dinner or take a long walk. Nine years and three kids later, fitting in a "hello" and a "goodbye" each day takes some planning. However, there are many ways to keep romance alive in a marriage. Married life does not equate to boring life!
If you're in need of romantic inspiration, here are 10 ideas you can do tonight - even with the kids, the busy schedule and the responsibilities.
Make the kids wait
No spouse wants to feel second best, even to his own kids. Without the spouse, you wouldn't have the kids, so make time for that relationship. Hopefully, you'll stay together long after the kids leave, so take care of your marriage while you still have kids in the house.
Spruce yourself up
Make your spouse remember why he married you by looking fabulous - just because. Set the yoga pants aside, put on some makeup and get ready to wow your husband. Men, you get in on this too with a little cologne, a fresh shave and a new shirt. Taking the time to look nice shows your partner that you care about his or her perception of you.
At-home date night
Can't find time to set aside for date night? Even if you could, going out and finding a sitter is expensive. With a little imagination, you can have a great date right at home after you put the kids to bed. Snuggle in for a movie, slow dance with the lights low or bake up a delicious dessert.
Perform an act of service
While it may not seem romantic, providing practical help is a sure way to win your spouse's heart. Do some dishes, fold laundry and get dinner on the table as a surprise. Pick up a chore your spouse usually takes care of.
Physical intimacy is an important part of marriage. It's the part of yourself you reserve for your spouse alone. Of course, this doesn't just mean making love. Don't forget other forms of daily intimacy. Hold hands in the car, kiss hello and goodbye and snuggle on the couch.
Send a message
Let your spouse know you're thinking about her during the day. Send a sweet text message or e-mail. When you're apart, you can also involve your spouse in your daily life by sending pictures of what you do and where you go.
Try something completely new
Part of feeling connected is learning new things with your partner. Pick a hobby to try out together, and agree to stick it out even when you feel silly. You might sign up for a dance class, try out tennis or do something adventurous like zip-lining.
Resurrect the art of love notes
In our digital world, we often forget how thrilling it is to receive a handwritten letter or note. For the ultimate romantic gesture, plaster your bedroom with handwritten notes detailing everything you love about your spouse.
Give verbal PDA
Display your affection in public tastefully by complimenting your spouse in front of your friends. You think your spouse is wonderful, and so should everyone you know. It'll make your spouse's confidence soar to hear you declare how much you love him.
We all used to flirt so well, but then we graduated high school and got boring. Don't let that flirty attitude go away. Touch and tease a little each day to keep your relationship fresh and fun.
It's not true that relationships inevitably get boring after a few years. You can prevent the dreaded relationship decline with only a few strategically planned minutes each day. Your marriage is well worth the time investment, and you'll enjoy life a lot more when your relationship is fun and fulfilling.