Presumably everyone wants to keep the spark alive in their marriage. Some people may believe it's not possible. Some people may have given up. Some people may just not know how. But everyone wants it.
So what's a well-meaning husband to do? The answer is not to whisk your wife away to a private island for a romantic weekend (although that couldn't hurt). The answer is not to follow the dictates of the advertising industry and drape her in diamonds (although that couldn't hurt either).
The answer lies in small daily actions and interactions that say "I care," "You matter to me," "Your needs and goals and important to me."
There is definitely a place for romantic gestures -- flowers, dinner out, a walk along the beach (the latter having the advantage of being both romantic and free!). But the spark is really kept alive through the ins and outs of your everyday relationship -- through easing your wife's burden, by not taking her for granted, by letting her know how special she is -- and how beautiful.
The spark is kept alive by easing your wife's burden and letting her know how special she is -- and how beautiful.
We may mistakenly think that with a houseful of kids, with carpools to drive and mortgages to pay, there is no room for sparks. But this is, fortunately, not true.
While it is true that there is no room for the spoony daydreaming of the newly infatuated (and even they usually have to spend some time working so they can pay the rent!), that is not the only evidence of sparks.
The excitement in a relationship is kept alive through caring about one another, through being interested in one another and through the actions that show it.
When a tired husband takes the time to listen to the details of his wife's day (number of diapers changed and all), the sparks are rekindled. When he patiently describes his own day just because she wants to know (and even though he'd rather forget about it), the flame is kept burning. When he takes out the garbage because it bothers her, when he watches the kids and says, "You go rest" or better yet, "You go shopping," the embers continue to glow.
Every expression of love and caring keeps the sparks alive. None are too trivial to hold back from saying, and don't be stingy with them. Every time you tell your wife you love her, the flame of your marriage burns brighter.
We get confused; we think we need a Hollywood set, designer gowns and sparkling conversation. We look for the perfect setting, the cloudless sky, the moonlit evening.
But believe it or not, sparks can be kindled in the chaos of your family room -- in the shared pleasure of your family (even sometimes in the shared frustration), in the shared sense of goals, in the shared creation.
The fire sizzles every time a man tells his wife how much he appreciates who she is, what she has done, and yes, how attractive she is to him. Don't think your wife doesn't need hear that; everyone does. No matter how "spiritual" she is.
Jewelry is beautiful but these grand gestures can only occur on rare and special occasions (which, in this economy, seem to be even rarer and more special!). But daily life offers plenty of opportunities to keep your marriage vibrant, opportunities that don't take a lot of time but may involve the effort of refocusing, of stepping outside our owns needs and desires, of ignoring everyone and everything else that clamors for your attention.
Start with the simple gestures. Every morning, every afternoon, stop what you're doing (yes, your job can wait a few minutes; no you won't lose that deal!), call your wife and say "I love you," "Thank you for everything you do for me." I promise you, the sparks will stay alive.