Marriage with 7 kids, 5 of them adopted with special needs hasn’t been what I would call easy. In fact, there have been entire years where it was harder than hard. There were times when it was only our commitment to the covenant we had made that held us together.
We managed to slug it through the rough years and here we are, approaching our 20 year anniversary and closer than ever. In fact, we are in the midst of planning a getaway together without our kids to celebrate making it to this milestone date.
Over the years of many little ones, sleepless nights and living in chaos most of the time, we have gotten better at working on our marriage and making it a priority.
There are some things that I’ve found that help us keep that spark or even to get it back after we had lost it.
Ways to Keep Your Marriage Spicy:
Stay out of debt.
That is probably the least romantic sounding advice you’ve ever heard, but before you dismiss it, wait for me to explain. Debt is stressful. Money issues cause conflict in marriages. Conflict and stress are about the fastest ways I know to kill libido and romance.
Working together to get out of debt or stay out of debt in the first place is also a good way to strengthen communication skills and work towards a common goal. Plus, think of all that extra money you’ll have for dates once you’re debt-free!
Plan a regular date night.
My husband and I both feel that it was really our weekly date nights that turned things around for us. I came up with a list of more than 60 inexpensive and creative date night ideas and we have tried many of them. We try to change up our date nights so that it keeps things exciting and gives us more than just the kids to talk about.
We also stick to our date night rules. I think it’s important to set rules up beforehand that you can both agree to. Unmet expectations are hard on a marriage and having these rules agreed on ahead of time lessens the chance of disappointment.
Not all of our date nights are a success, but knowing that there will be another one in a week takes the pressure off. When we can’t get a sitter, we make date nights at home on those evenings and those can be just as fun.
Make freezer meals.
This has to be the wackiest suggestion ever for keeping your marriage spicy, but trust me, it works. When you are a busy mom with kids and a house to take care of, by the end of the day, the only thing you want to do in the bedroom is go to sleep!
Once you learn how to efficiently make freezer meals, you can spend an hour a week or one day every few months making all of your dinners so that you don’t have to think about what to make each day and so that you don’t have to feel like you spend half your life in the kitchen. Not only will you be more rested and less stressed, making freezer meals will also save you a ton of money which helps with that staying out of debt thing I was mentioning earlier!
Plus, a well fed husband is a happy husband. I find that since I started to feed our family using this system, we also eat as a family more often which contributes to a feeling of closeness. I find that I have more time in the evenings now to spend with my husband because I’m not running to the grocery store as often or doing my meal planning.
Keep things interesting outside of the bedroom.
When you’ve been married for a long time, you can fall into a rut. You talk about the same topics all the time, see the same people, do the same things. That leads to boredom. Boredom is a sensuality killer.
Instead of going to a movie, go indoor rock climbing or play mini-golf. Roll down a hill or swing on the swings at the playground. Cook together. Make a Lego city in the living room after the kids are asleep. Have fun.
When you keep things interesting, it gives you more to talk about and to laugh about. Doing active things together also helps you both stay healthier and naturally increases libido.
Make a habit of kissing your spouse every day. Kiss them before one of you leaves the house and upon returning home. Make it a point to kiss in front of your kids. They may feign cringing, but seeing their parents kiss each other helps them to feel secure and sets an example for them for their own future marriage.
Set a timer and challenge yourselves weekly to set a new record! This record-breaking kiss probably isn’t the one you want to be doing in front of the kids though.
That’s my basic recipe for keeping your marriage spicy. After 20 years, I’m still discovering new things about my husband and learning to appreciate him more and more. I really believe that it’s been these small changes we’ve made that have helped us get to where we are now.
What do you do to make sure your marriage stays spicy?