Before I got married, I thought people were crazy when they prepared me for the altar by telling me that marriage was hard. How could being with your best friend every day be so hard? I couldn't think of anything that would make it difficult in the least.

And then I got married

While everyone faces their own tests and unique problems, there's one thing that every married couple can and will agree on.

It takes work

It takes time

It takes cooperation

And it takes a lot of date nights

While my husband and I were dating, it wasn't hard to see each other, and most couples would agree. Whether it be deep late-night conversations or ice cream runs, we soaked in every opportunity to get out and get to know each other.

But once we began to share the same closet and the same responsibilities we fell into a routine and it was harder to make time to court each other. It also felt like a lower priority since we were married and no longer in the getting to know segment of our relationship. But I couldn't have been more wrong.

Courting in a marriage is even more important than courting before tying the knot

Changes happen, whether it be babies, new jobs, or new lifestyles, and that means that your spouse is always changing as well. There is always more to learn and more to know. To keep the relationship thriving, both spouses need to keep trying.

The best advice I ever received as a new bride was to always keep pursuing him, even years and years into the marriage. And the other way around, of course. Looking my best, making him his favorite cookies every now and then, and never failing to forget the simple pleasures of hand holding or cuddling during a movie have been the simple ingredients in our marriage to keeping things fresh and alive.

He, as well, asks me on dates often, puts my favorite flowers in a vase where I can stumble across them during a hard day, and makes time to talk and listen.

It can be hard to make time to court, but without it you're wasting time

If you need to find a babysitter, do it. If you aren't the spontaneous type, then plan a date for a certain day every week or every couple of weeks. No matter what it takes, do it - and enjoy dating again.

It's a tragedy to me when we go out and see married couples sitting across from one another at a small table, and both of them have eyes down at a Blackberry or tablet. Just because she is your wife doesn't mean that you suddenly give up the chase. Pursue her, and something funny will happen -

She'll suddenly become the woman you fell for when you asked for her number for the first time.

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