Everyone enjoys the excitement of a brand new relationship. Thoughts of your special someone consumed you. As you sit close to each other and she lays her head on your shoulder and the sweater you’re wearing picks up her perfume, you hurry home after dropping her off at her house so you can take that sweater off and smell her perfume as you close your eyes and relive the moment. Remember how she hung on your every word as you told adventurous stories about yourself that contained a thread of truth woven into strand upon strand of embellishments.
Ladies, remember how you smiled simply at the thought of your man. Remember how he was “perfect” and “the one!” Remember how you just gushed over him to your friends. He was the most handsome and attractive man out there. Remember the butterflies you would get as the time neared for him to pick you up and how the butterflies turned to playful anxiety as you heard his car in your driveway. He could do no wrong because those “little things” were “cute” back then…remember?
Now you’re married. Now the new stories are old and have been told numerous times…only now…they contain less embellishments and the truth reveals a less than exciting story. The two of you barely ever get out anymore, and now, even when your wife puts her head on your shoulder, there is no scent left behind because there is no more perfume worn these days. The gushing that used to be done is now turned into a small bit of discontent that you share with only your best friend. Your man is still attractive, but you can see some areas where he’s letting himself go. As for those “little things” that were “cute” back then…now they’re hard to live with! Besides that, now that you’re married and live together, you’ve noticed “bigger things” that aren’t “cute” at all.
As the years roll on and the feelings of euphoria with your spouse seem to be waning for longer periods of time and coming back for what seem to be shorter periods each time, people focus on the relationship in the “here and now” and not on the “way back when.” Things were, more than likely, easier in the beginning. There were no children. There was little debt. It was all about the both of you. But now, it’s come to the two of you working to support your family and the bulk of the time is spent doing things for the children…buying things for the children…schooling the children…whatever. By the end of the day, there is little time left for just the two of you to reconnect, and even if there is enough time, there usually isn’t enough energy.
Years ago, before I was even married, I wrote an article for a local newspaper that serves as a true-life example of the euphoria felt during the early stages of a new relationship. What struck me, as I read this again, years later, is that I was writing it to people who had lost that feeling of “newness” in there relationship, and how to resurrect it and keep it alive. What I found interesting as I read it is that these suggestions I gave years ago are simple little things that don’t take much time or energy. Perfect for the busy states we find our lives in these days.
So, I have included that article in this week’s Faithful Families Ministries blog for you to take a look at from a suggestion stand point and get some ideas to rekindle some happiness and euphoria into your relationship again. It’s about taking the focus of Valentine’s Day and carrying it on throughout the year…here it is as it appeared over fifteen years ago:
“Ah yes…Valentines Day. Here it is again. The one day of the year when sappy greeting cards abound. The day when chocolates are given to loved ones who gratefully accept the gesture, but deep down inside are cursing you for the extra calories. It is also the time of year when you can get a dozen long-stem roses for the bargain basement price of only $60. Not me! No way!
Now you’re probably thinking ‘He’s been jilted by past girls and he mustn’t have anyone special in his life right now. Why else would he say such nonsense?’ Sure it’s true that I have been jilted in the past, and that I would rather see Valentines Day celebrated on February 29th(once every four years), but it’s also true that I so have someone special in my life right now, and she’s the reason I’m not going out of my way to celebrate Valentines Day. Let me explain.
My girl and I were sitting down one night having a casual conversation about Valentines Day. Much to my surprise, she told me that the day didn’t really mean that much to her. We continued to talk and by the end of our conversation, I realized we both actually had the same thoughts on the subject. Here’s why I’m a Valentine Scrooge…
There is nothing she could do or say that could make me love her anymore than I already do. On any given day she does so many little things without even realizing it. When I’m down, she says all the right things. When she’s with me, she’s always smiling and always in a good mood. If I leave her house at night and I’m tired or it’s bad weather, she asks me to call her when I get home so she knows I made it home safely.
There’s nothing better than getting a card for no reason on any given day. I have as much of a good time going to a hockey game with her as I do going over to her house and cooking dinner with her. Everyday is Valentines Day for me.
Now, I’m not going to turn this into a ‘brag-about-my-girl’ story, but rather I have a more general point to put a new spin on Valentines Day. The point is this…there are 364 other days in the year that can be just as special as Valentines Day. Do something unexpected for your significant other. Develop a secret code that is only between the two of you and text one another at least once during the day to say, “Hi.”
In this busy life we all lead, we all get sidetracked and time for each other can get scarce. Set aside time that is only for the two of you. My girl and I have busy lives and sometimes conflicting schedules, but we decided that Sunday mornings would be for us to go to church together and then sit and have a quiet breakfast…just the two of us. Knowing we have a guaranteed date each week gives us each something to look forward to, as well as opportunities to stay close and get closer to each other.
All you have to do is look at the first fifteen minutes of any local news broadcast to realize that the old saying ‘Here today, gone tomorrow” is true. Every day, people rush off to work from a hectic morning at home totally taking for granted that they will be home later on. Every day there are husbands and wives who will never see their spouse again. Boyfriends and girlfriends will have to learn to adjust to life without their best friend. Nowhere are we ever guaranteed a tomorrow. This brings me to my point.
I don’t know how much time God has put her in my life for, but whether it’s for five months, five years, or fifty years, or even seventy-five years, I can’t ever take for granted she’ll always be around. Every day I spend with her, every conversation we have, I consider to be gifts I don’t deserve. So because anything could happen at anytime, I tell her what she means to me, and how I feel about her.
We all need to do that. We need to make February 13th as important as February 14th and so on. Don’t leave any doubt about how you feel about your loved ones. Let them know everyday.”
That was written about my current wife nearly fifteen years ago, before we were married. As I review that article, I can see that there are some things that I still do, and other things we have abandoned. I can obviously do better in many areas of that article. But aside from the suggestions I give, you can also read how much I “gushed” about my wife back then. You can tell I loved her. I’m sure if you still have some of the love letters and notes you wrote to each other early on in your relationship, it would do you good to give them back to each other to reread.
Some of you may have a similar reaction to reading old notes that I had. I read that and said, “I wrote THAT!” As I was writing my book, I read other notes I had written that showed a progression of feelings and emotions that bubbled and churned beneath the surface until they erupted. I’m the same person and she’s the same woman as we were over fifteen years ago, and those feelings are still there, but they can get choked and smothered by the many other responsibilities we have as parents. The trick is to purposefully decide to find those buried emotions and feelings and cultivate them using the aforementioned suggestions or develop your own. The key is to allow those emotions and feelings an environment that allows them to grow.
Sadly, it’s during these times that couples can’t find those feelings and emotions they once had and they begin believing there is something wrong with their relationship. They don’t get along anymore. They see each other as the enemy. They believe they are two different people moving in opposite directions, and that may be so, and the next thing you know, they are filing for divorce because of irreconcilable differences. It can be prevented. Recently I wrote about steps that can be taken in what is called “Hope Focused Marriage Counseling.” Because the truth is that marital conflict is often reversible and couples, through this type of counseling, can once again be happily married for years to come.