Does your marriage feel flat? Studies show that after three years of marriage, many couples start complaining about their relationship being stale and boring. It’s no surprise then that most divorces occur within the first three years of marriage.
How can you beat the marital blahs and consequently beat divorce? The answer is simple: date your wife all over again.
Feeding the Flame
Remember how you felt when you were dating your wife? You couldn’t wait to spend time with her. You’d call her on the phone just to see how she was. You’d surprise her with a nice evening on the town or a small gift.
You can spark up your marriage by recapturing those same feelings you had when you first dated your wife. A marriage is like a fire. If you don’t tend to it and feed the flame, it will quickly die out. Enriching a marriage doesn’t require you to plan big getaways; small and simple activities will do the trick. Here are 4 simple ways you can revitalize your marriage by dating your wife again.
Expressions of Love
You probably told your wife “I love you” hundreds of times a day when you first dated. Yet after a few years of marriage, some men can go days without telling their wife they love them. A common excuse men give for not telling their wife they love her is, “I already show my wife I love her by working long hours to provide for the family and mowing the yard.” While it’s true that love can and should be shown through actions, women need to hear that you love them. It’s reassuring for them to hear it come from your mouth.
Also, when was the last time you told your wife she looked beautiful? This is especially important to do if your wife gets all fancied up. I’ve been in the doghouse a few times for failing to take the time to tell my wife how great she looks after she’s dolled up. Even though you might think your wife looks hot, she cannot read your mind. Open your mouth and tell her.
In addition to telling your wife you love her, try writing a note that expresses your love. My wife loves it when I leave her a short note or email saying how beautiful she is or how much I love her. It shows your wife that you were thinking about her during the day.
When you first dated your wife, you probably did your best to behave as a gentleman. You opened doors for her or gave her your coat when she was cold. You had to do these things if you wanted to win her over. But all this probably ended a few weeks after the wedding.
Chivalry is not confined just to courtship. Courtesy and consideration for your wife is just as important after the ceremony as it is before. Each day, perform little acts of kindness and courtesy with your wife. Open the car door for her, pack her lunch for work or school, and be on time with appointments with her.
When was the last time you bought an inexpensive gift as a surprise for your wife for no other reason than just to please her? Small gifts show your wife that you’ve been thinking about her during the day. Find something that you know your wife enjoys and get it for her. If she likes flowers, get her flowers every now and then. Don’t wait for an occasion like Valentine’s Day to buy flowers. She will be ten times more happy with them if you buy them just because you were thinking about her. If there’s a particular magazine she likes, pick up a copy next time you’re at the grocery store.
A gift doesn’t even have to be a tangible good. It can also be in the form of a service. Clean the house while she’s gone or give her a twenty-minute message.
A caveat with gifts: don’t give gifts only when you want sex. I read a sad story about a woman who broke down and cried every time her husband brought home flowers because it meant he just wanted sex. Your wife is not a prostitute, so don’t treat her like one by trying to buy her with stuff. Give gifts just to please her. If she’s happy, then you succeeded.
When you first dated your wife, you probably took her out somewhere every weekend. It may have been the Taco Bell, but you at least you made sure to spend an evening out with her. When was the last time you actually went on a date with your wife?
Establish a date night with your wife and treat this time with her as sacred. When you plan your week, block out an hour each week during which you’ll be taking your wife out. If a meeting comes up, reschedule the meeting. If you have kids, find a babysitter. If you can’t afford a babysitter, find another young couple with kids and offer to trade babysitting services. They take your kids while you and your wife go out and you take their’s when they go out.
Your date night doesn’t have to be fancy. A date night that my wife and I both enjoy is eating pancakes at IHOP followed by browsing magazines at Borders. Even a trip to the ice cream store can be a great date night. The idea is to just get out of the house and spend time together.
For ideas on cheap ways you can woo your wife, check out Zen Habits’ 50 Ways to Be Romantic on the Cheap.
Every now and then, surprise your wife by planning a fancy date. Women love it when men plan a night out. Pick a restaurant you know she’ll like and make reservations. Pick out the dress she should wear and lay it out for her on the bed. When she gets home from work or school, surprise her at the door with your suit on and a bouquet of flowers. Your wife will melt right there on the spot.
Listen to my podcast with Les Parrott about saving your marriage before it even starts: