Relationship Renewal

Give Your Marriage a Little Boost

Passionate young man and woman kissing beside the train at the railway station. The shot is executed with available natural light, and the copy space has been left.

Remember the falling? The times you couldn’t wait one more second to see each other. The conversations and hanging on to every word shared. The feeling that there’s no way you’ve known one another for just a couple of months because you feel you’ve known this person forever. Take a moment and remember.

Falling in love is exhilarating. There’s nothing else like it. Staying in love? Staying in love can sometimes feel more exhausting than exhilarating; however, it can provide an incomparable foundation to build from. A strong relationship can be the source of pushing you to reach your individual potential; it allows great joy in one another and in building a family. And, it promotes growth as you let someone into the innermost workings of your mind and heart. While falling in love may come easy, staying in love and nurturing your relationship takes resilience, trust, and vulnerability. It may not sound romantic, but like anything that’s worthwhile, staying in love takes work.

While renewing marriage vows on a tropical beach may sound like the best way to boost your relationship, the truth is that the real magic and progress lie in the daily upkeep. Many of you may have found that you had more time than ever together this last year, but time doesn’t always equate to connection and closeness. With a degree in Marriage, Family, and Human Development, here are some ideas I’ve learned along the way to reignite that spark and help your relationship be a renewed source of joy in your life.

CREATE VISION

When marriage feels mundane, sometimes all you need is renewed vision. Do you remember when you were dating and had so many dreams for the future? The dating period is such an exciting time to create goals and ideas for what the years ahead will look like. Some of those plans may include children, careers, travel, and contribution. As a relationship matures and many of those initial goals are accomplished or change, it’s easy to lose sight of what you want the future to look like. It also may feel more difficult to accomplish what you want to do. There are likely more pressures and more people counting on you. It’s important as a couple to have some future plans that excite and rejuvenate you. There are several fun ways to create vision as a couple:

Make a bucket list together. What are some trips you want to take? What are some house projects you want to work on? What are some books you want to read together? What are some financial goals you have? Make your list and hang it up where you can see it often. Take time to review it together periodically.

  • CREATE A VISION BOARD
    Maybe you aren’t the pen-to-paper type and you want more of a visual way to dream for the years ahead. Take magazine cut-outs and print off pictures to represent all of your goals and ideals. Pick a place to display it where you can both look at it regularly.
  • WORK BACKWARD
    Create a statement together of what you want to be said about you at the end of your lives. What accomplishments, traits, and relationships are the most important to you? What do you need to do now to live the life you’ve described? Revisit this statement together each year on your anniversary to see your progress and to set new goals.

START A NEW HOBBY TOGETHER

Doing something new is good for the soul and mind. Take a painting class. Arrange a weekly tee time or private golf lesson together. Become workout buddies. Write a book together. Join a bowling league. Make a list of hikes in the area that you want to do. If the first thing you try isn’t a good fit, try something different. Here are some local resources to help you get started:

  • EDUCATE
    Many continuing education courses are offered at the UVU Wasatch Campus. You can do anything from getting scuba certified to learning to garden. Explore their website to find something that interests both of you: uvu.edu/ce/discover.
  • EXPLORE
    The Heber Valley Tourism website has several hiking and biking trails listed by skill level: gohebervalley.com/Trails
  • TEE TIME
    Golf is a great sport for spending time together in a beautiful setting. You can work on your golf game year-round at the Jim McLean Golf School at Red Ledges or sign up for a clinic or lesson at our public courses.

HAVE A MEANINGFUL CONVERSATION

When you’ve been together a while, a couple of problems are likely to arise when it comes to communication. The first is that it’s easy to assume you know everything about your partner. It’s important to stay curious and to continue to learn about each other. There’s always more to learn if we ask the right questions and take time to really listen. A second problem is finding time to have a good uninterrupted conversation. I have been frustrated more than once when I’ve been trying to talk to my husband and haven’t been able to finish a conversation over the noise and interference of our kids. Finding time to talk each day is an important part of a connection. Here are some ideas:

  • USE YOUR WORDS
    Set a time aside to talk without distractions. Maybe it’s a chat over morning coffee, a phone call on your lunch break, a few minutes on the couch right after the kids are in bed, or maybe on an evening walk. The time doesn’t matter just so long as both partners are in a mental state where they can engage.
  • GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER, AGAIN
    Need something to talk about? You can find questions tied to intimacy in the New York Times article, “The 36 Questions that Lead to Love.” nytimes.com. Or pick up this great book: Questions for Couples Journal: 400 Questions to Enjoy, Reflect, and Connect with Your Partner by Maggie Reyes.
  • DEVELOP AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
    Express what you are thankful for each day to your partner. Always be on the lookout for what you appreciate in each other. It’s like the old saying goes, “Water the flowers, not the weeds.”

GET TOUCHY
You know those couples that make you cringe with their public displays of affection. Chances are you were once one of them. Thank goodness that the PDA wears off a bit, but you still need to have a physical connection with your partner, and not just in bed. There’s no need to return to making others around you uncomfortable. Small gestures go a long way.

  • HOLD HANDS
    Hold hands while you’re watching TV. Hold hands while you’re walking. Holding hands, though a small gesture, speaks volumes. It helps you know you have someone by your side to face the world with.
  • GIVE HUGS
    Coming? Going? Give a hug. And the comings and goings aren’t where it should stop. Find other opportunities throughout the day to give a hug. There’s research that claims that hugs can improve heart health, boost the immune system, and relieve stress. Spend more time hugging!
  • TREAT EACH OTHER TO A MASSAGE
    Maybe your partner loves a foot rub, head massage, or back scratch. Learn some massage techniques and spoil each other. This book is a great place to start: Massage for Couples: “Heal, Soothe, and Connect with the One You Love” by Ashley Dwyer.

Taking time to tend your marriage with small daily acts will pay great dividends. Be proactive in connecting with your spouse. Vision, hobbies, conversation, and physical touch can build your relationship and take you to the next level. Shake it up a little by trying something new. Who knows? You may find yourself falling all over again.

 

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