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Thursday, August 13, 2009

How to Still Be Newlyweds...no matter how long it's been!

Image via yell.com

It seems like many of our friends that have gotten married around the same time we did are beginning to have some real struggles in their relationship. The proverbial honeymoon period is over, and the reality of a lifetime commitment to someone is setting in. For some, there are issues that need to be dealt with that haven't been up until now. For others, they've simply stopped doing the things that helped them fall in love in the first place. For one reason or another, these couples no longer feel like "newlyweds."
When Lover and I first began to talk about marriage, we discussed this common trend of losing that "new love" feeling shortly after getting married. We were madly in love, crazy about each other, jealous of our time together. We didn't want that to ever change. And so, we made a promise to each other that we would forever remain "newlyweds" even after being married for more years than we could count. Three years later, it seems to be working quite well, if I do say so myself.

Here is a short list of the things that we do to keep that newlywed feeling:

We still date each other.

Yes, we are married now, live together, spend 90% of our non-work time together. So why would we still go on dates? Because it is fun and exciting, and it reminds you to make the effort to have a very special night with the person you love.

When we were dating we would take the time to look nice for each other. We'd go out to dinner and talk all night long. We would take long walks on the pier and ask each other all about our day, and our future plans, and our wildest dreams.

We do the same thing now, post-marriage. About once a week we will take a few moments to look nice, pick a place to eat, and go out and spend the evening together. No cell phones, no TV, just good food and lots of conversation. Knowing we have special time set aside for us means that we can fill the rest of our week with whatever else needs to be done.

We say our marriage vows to each other on special occasions.

We wrote our vows to each other for our wedding, and later framed them and hung them on our bedroom wall. We make a point to say our vows to each other on special occasions, such as our anniversary, or on normal nights when nothing is out of the ordinary. Repeating our vows to each other instantly takes us back to our wedding day, when we said them for the first time, and it ensures that those promises we made to each other stay fresh in our mind, instead of forgotten in a scrapbook.

We are affectionate with each other, in private and in public.

We have pet names for each other, in fact we rarely call each other by our first names. We're not afraid to hold hands in public, or link arms, or even kiss! :-) If you stop being affectionate towards your partner, eventually you will stop feeling affectionate towards him or her. These little physical touches are constant reminders of the love you feel for that person.

We don't "air our dirty laundry."

Although at times Lover will do things that make me want to tear out my hair, and I will drive him to drink, we don't share this stuff with our friends. Our issues are exactly that, our own. We work hard to protect each other, and to share only the good of our spouse with our friends. We don't pretend to know it all, or to never fight. We'll share a disagreement and how it was resolved with a friend if it is pertinent, but never in the "Can you believe what an idiot he is..." kind of way. People tell me all the time that Lover worships the ground I walk on, and I know for a fact that he knows my flaws. But he doesn't go around sharing them with whomever will listen. I do the same for him.

We say "I love you."

While this may seem obvious, it is an important part of our relationship. We make a conscious effort to express our love as much as possible. No matter what is going on, we have that assurance that the other person loves us, unconditionally, and always will. We make it a point to not just write it in a card on our anniversary, but to say it on the way out the door for work, at the end of a phone call, before falling asleep at night. We'll mouth it across the room to each other, write it on the mirror, leave a note for each other. We remind each other whenever we can of the love that keeps us together.

A few months ago, we went out for lunch and while standing in line waiting to pay for our sandwiches, the cashier asked us if we were married. He was sure that we weren't because we "weren't acting like married people" (his words) We took it as a compliment that we are still acting like newlyweds who can't get enough of each other. Hopefully, some of the things we've put into practice in our relationship will work for you too!


Kim August 14, 2009 at 7:06 PM  

Awesome post.

After reading this, I realize that I probably share too much with friends about our disagreements. Not often, but enough that I think I should be more prudent. I'm just an oversharer. And, I must admit, my husband doesn't do this and I appreciate it about him.

I totally agree about the other tips.

Overall, you hit the nail on the head. Thanks!

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