My essay below was originally published on DigitalRomanceInc.com a few years ago, (to update the story, my husband Terry and I have been married 7 years now), and I’m proud to say everything I wrote here applies as much today as it did when it was first written!
When I first sat down to pen this piece, I questioned whether I have any right to write this since my hubby and I will be celebrating our 4th wedding anniversary this October. “Does someone who is barely out of newlywed territory get to tell the rest of us how she keeps the romance alive?”, you might ask. Maybe not, but I will anyway.
We don’t treat each other like brother and sister. Many couples become so comfortable with each other they begin to behave more like bratty siblings than mature lovers. She stops shaving her legs or wearing that sexy dress he loves, he laughs maniacally while passing gas in her face. She starts burping aloud at the dinner table, they start going Number 2 in front of each other. My husband and I care about remaining attractive to each other. Whenever the dynamic in a romantic relationship becomes more familial, as in more like parent/child or brother/sister, sex appeal and sex usually go out the window, because who wants to sleep with their mom or sibling?
We are more supportive and positive than critical. Many people are petrified that the one they love will take them for granted, so they don’t freely give compliments because they mistakenly assume that making their mate feel secure in the relationship will lead to a big ego and cheating. They wind up sabotaging the relationship by being more critical than loving, because who wants to make love to someone so unloving? My hubby and I are quick to verbally note when the other does or says something wonderful, but we step back and think twice before being harshly critical. I tell my husband on a regular basis how thrilled I am that he exists in the world. He often tells me I am the best thing to happen to him. We build each other up, because we want to see the other happy and successful.
We don’t let others come between us. My husband is my priority, and I am his. That means, when other people show signs of expecting to come before my spouse, it’s my job to make it clear that they don’t. If someone else tries attaching themselves to one of us, it’s our job to safeguard our relationship by keeping each other prioritized and never acting in a way that dismisses the other’s feelings.
We show each other physical affection every day. There isn’t a day that goes by without kisses and hugs, and we still have sex multiple times a week. Even when we’ve had a fight, we prioritize resolving the issue and we’re back to healing our connection. We often rub each other’s backs and feet while watching a movie. It’s one way to stay connected.
We balance time with each other and time with our son. Our 4 year-old is the light of our lives, and we truly enjoy being parents. But we discussed early on, before our son was even born, how crucial it is for parents to not let parenting and its inevitable stressors keep them from staying connected to each other as lovers. If we let our identities become lost in parenting and lose touch with what brought us together in the first place, we run the risk of weakening the ties that keep the romance alive.
There are no guarantees in life. Being married doesn’t guarantee that one of us won’t fall out of love and find someone else, and knowing this keeps us from taking each other for granted. Romantic love is a garden and we can choose to either give it water and sunshine or neglect it, and too many couples mistake their vows for a guarantee that the garden will survive without water and sunshine.