It’s very easy to find yourself in a relationship rut as the years go by.

The honeymoon phase doesn’t last forever, and true relationships take work. Getting married is just the beginning, and while planning the wedding may seem like a big job, it is really the marriage that takes work. The joining of two separate lives does not typically happen seamlessly; there is a lot of give and take until you find your footing and relationship balance.

After you and your spouse have blended to work as one, it is not uncommon to fall into a “comfortable” trap where the romance has dwindled.

Keeping the flame alive also takes work, especially when the demands of daily life take over. Whether you both work full-time jobs, have kids running around or are simply bogged down with keeping a house, making time for one another has to be a priority for a happy marriage.

Keep God First

Every marriage needs God. Keep Him first in your individual and married life. He is the one who brought you and your spouse together, and you joined your lives under His name. Your passion for God and His teachings brings about a natural passion for everything else in your life. That light shines on all aspects, including your marriage.

But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female. For this cause a man will leave his father and mother, and will join to his wife, and the two will become one flesh,so that they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate. —Mark 10:6-9

May I Have This Dance?

The busier our lives get, the more we have to make time for friends and family, especially spouses. Create a “date night” once a week and do something you wouldn’t ordinarily do any other night of the week. While going out to dinner can be an intimate evening together, mix it up and try something new.

Sign up for dance classes and waltz your way back to romance or keep the flame alive with samba or salsa dancing. Have a hobby you both share? Turn it into a night or day out together and just have fun. Clear your schedule for a day, get in the car and just drive. Don’t make plans on where you are going; just see where the road takes you.

Surprise, Surprise!

Surprise your spouse with love notes. Write little post-it notes professing your love and respect for your spouse, and leave them all over the house.

Plan an unplanned candlelit dinner for an evening that might otherwise be ordinary. Cook or bake your spouse’s favorite dish and wordlessly do all the clean-up. Surprise your loved one with tickets to his or her favorite movie, concert or sporting event. Just because you have been together for a long time doesn’t mean you can’t surprise your spouse from time to time.

Forgive and Forget

Keeping the flame alive has a lot to do with your daily relationship, not just sporadically throwing in surprises and special time together. Often it’s the little things that can drive a wedge between two people. And even if it won’t ruin your marriage, it can make the passion fizzle fast.

When small annoyances, such as not cleaning up, forgetting to turn off the lights, coming home late, snoring or leaving used towels on the bathroom floor, begin to get under your skin, forgive them and move on. Concentrate instead on all the wonderful qualities your spouse possesses. By focusing on the positive, you’ll remember why you fell in love in the first place.

I Do

Renew your vows. Set a date, get dressed up, throw a party or intimate gathering and rewrite your vows. Stand before God and declare your unfailing love for one another. Look through your past at the wonderful memories you have shared together, see the present for the gift it is and peak into the future as you promise to love and cherish one another as you did on your wedding day.

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