You know that giddy feeling in your stomach? The skip in your step and quickening of your heart? Those little smiles and involuntary laughter?
You likely felt the butterflies pretty frequently when you first started dating. They are the thrill of something new and exciting. The joy of getting to know someone and the moments of reconnecting after times apart. They caused you to check your phone one extra time or watch out the window for the car to pull up.
But butterflies aren’t love. There are many couples who have erroneously gotten married based solely upon butterflies.
Feelings alone can’t sustain a marriage. It requires a foundation of commitment, trust, communication, adoration, respect and love. It is the understanding that love is a choice. To actively choose to show admiration and respect to your spouse on a daily basis.
But we may have gone too far in the opposite direction. Once we get married, we discredit the importance of those giddy feelings, too. We fall into patterns and routines. If we’re not careful, the threat of monotony can set in.
The butterflies don’t have to die. They may not be able to sustain a marriage, but they are able to add joy to the relationship. As a married couple we are called to delight in each other as Jesus delights in the church.
1. Focus on the Positives
When we started dating our spouse, all we saw and noticed were the positives about him or her. Those positive thoughts fueled our excitement. It’s important to focus on the positives once married as well. At the end of each day thank God for the positive aspects of your spouse that you experienced that day. It would also benefit your spouse if you complimented them on the positive attributes that you appreciate.
2. Try New Activities Together
Butterflies thrive on the new and exciting, so you may have to create space for that in your marriage. Find activities that you both would like to try, or take turns picking. Create a bucket list of ideas that you would like to experience together and then celebrate when you get to cross an item off.
3. Continue Dating
Take the time to schedule outings together. While dating, there is much joy and excitement to be found in getting to go new places and experience things together. It didn’t used to have to be extravagant dates for you to enjoy each other’s company. Continue to go to movies and out to dinner. Take trips to the coffee shop. Go grocery shopping together.
4. Talk About Everything
During the dating process you wanted to tell each other everything. You told them about your interests, hobbies, and favorites. Your thoughts, ideas, and dreams. You told each other about your family and friends and your past hurts. Don’t stop talking to each other. Everyday you continue to keep bringing new information in and forming new ideas and dreams. Share with your spouse your goals and aspirations. Keep certain topics private between the two of you to create intimacy in your marriage.
5. Spend Time Apart
When dating the biggest rush of butterflies was when you hadn’t seen your boyfriend/girlfriend for a period of time. You counted down the hours until you could see each other again. That excitement goes away once you’re married, if you don’t focus on the joy of reuniting. Spending time apart doesn’t have to be for long periods of time. The workday can even be used as the time apart. Get yourself excited about coming home and being reunited with your spouse. Think about the ‘hello’ kiss and what you want to share with him/her at the end of your day.
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