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Keeping the Spark Alive in Your Marriage: A Woman's Guide

Keeping the Spark Alive in Your Marriage: A Woman's Guide

Making our marriage the number one priority.


"How can I possibly keep the spark alive?" you ask. "The house is a mess, there are three kids pulling on my dress, spaghetti sauce is boiling over and I don't know how we're going to pay the electric bill. Who has time to even think about sparks?"

This common attitude evinces two serious mistakes:

1) that it's okay to ignore the need for sparks

2) that it takes significant time to generate them and keep them alive.

Of course there's no time if creating sparks involves a major effort. But it doesn't need to. It begins with not despairing, with not being resigned to a "spark-less" existence. And with being realistic about how to create them.

If you have young children (in fact, if you have any children at all living at home!) you probably won't be able to serve elaborate candlelit dinners, but that doesn't mean you can't prepare a nice meal. That doesn't mean you can't cook your husband's favorite foods. It's not either candlelight or macaroni and cheese. Although a simple act, cooking what your husband likes says "I care." It says "Your needs matter to me."

If you care about him, you care about what he does.

Being interested in your husband's day at work can also help keep your marriage vibrant. Maybe you tend to go glassy-eyed hearing about his job. Snap out of it. Sit up straighter. If you care about him, you care about what he does. I remember a number of years ago, I tried to organize a social activity for a group of wives whose husbands all worked for the same institution. When I called one woman to ask her to attend, she was very dismissive. "Why should I come? That's my husband's job. It has nothing to do with me." I beg to differ.

After a long day -- at home or elsewhere -- everyone likes to get into their most comfortable clothes. But let me make this clear: ratty old sweat suits do NOT help keep the spark alive. Our husbands deserve that we devote at least the same attention (actually more) to our appearance that we do when we join our girlfriends for lunch or another couple for dinner. While a complete change of clothes may not always be possible or practical (especially if we are cooking that nice dinner and we have infants wailing for attention in the background), straightening your hair and freshening your lipstick is.

These small actions say "I'm excited to have you home." "I've been looking forward to seeing you."

And just as we enjoy receiving compliments (see A Man's Guide), so do our husbands. They need to know how proud we are of how hard they work, of how responsible they are, of how they make time to learn and grow, of their commitment to us and the children.

While there is clearly room for romantic evenings in every marriage -- I certainly don't want to discourage that -- we shouldn't feel that we have to wait for those rare moments to work on keeping our marriage alive. Or that there aren't many varied ways of keeping the flame burning. Each couple has to find their unique road.

It doesn't have to take a lot of effort. It doesn't have to take a lot of time. It doesn't have to be expensive or elaborate. It just has to be consistent and regular. We can't let the demands of our daily existence overwhelm us to the point where we forget to connect with our husbands. That's the real secret to keeping the spark alive -- making our relationship with our husbands our number one priority.

Click here to read The Man's Guide to Keeping the Spark Alive in Your Marriage.

February 21, 2009

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Visitor Comments: 23

(20) Anonymous, November 3, 2013 3:19 AM

It is sad that these husbands will give no compliments. do the wives give compliments? there are books R. Shumly Boteach wrote t a few of them. Hubby can read them and learn. . Just have patience.some men cannot change in a few weeks. I f you think your marriage is worth it , hang it there.

(19) lett, April 21, 2013 4:09 AM

nothing else should matter

Hi everyone i know we all look for romance to keep our love in our relationships alive but really it is opposite.. You have to continue to love and the love in your heart will keep the romance alive. Think about it as long as you remind yourself of all the love you have for your spouse your heart will know what you both think is romance and you'll be able to put it together... My love and i always laugh and talk about the things we have been through which keeps us going everyday... Although I'm a sick young woman with cancer and it tears my husband up every night he sees me sick and it makes me feel like i need to try harder than most women but i don't because its not like that.. You can simply tell your husband that you love him and tell him all the reasons why you love him and let things go from there.. Remember while doing so try to avoid fighting.because truly you know what will push his buttons and what won't unless you married a man you don't know in which maybe you shouldn't have married just yet... Good luck ladies

(18) Anonymous, May 21, 2009 2:08 PM

i wish!!

to anon#6 i'm the same type of person as you,& i started off my married life doing all those type of things, but my marriage just isn't like that,& we don't feel that way about each other, as much as i wish we did. when i do feel that way at all i try to express it, but it's too uncomfortable/fake sounding since we both know that that feeling will change soon. do you have any kind of advice for me?

(17) PB, April 27, 2009 12:40 PM

May never work for some...

Nice advice, but not realistic in many marriages. Sometimes, I think I just have to be willing to say, "I married the wrong person" and get out of this empty marriage.

Anonymous, August 20, 2012 2:36 AM

And this is what planet?

Been married for 2 months and 10 days. I straighten/ or curl my hair, get all dolled up when he comes home from work. get no compliments or anything. I have dinner ready....I agree with PB what works for some people, may never work for some...

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