Spring has always been one of my favorite times of year. There’s something about that sense of new beginnings and fresh growth that has me feeling giddy with excitement, without fail. The spring cleaning and organizing bug bites me, and the rest is history.
But this spring, as my husband and I settle into our second year of marriage, I’ve become more and more aware of how relationships require spring cleaning too — not necessarily in spring, of course, but what better time than now?
Because let’s face it: marriage and long-term relationships lose their spark with time and stress and life, and unlike the seasons that are dictated by real science, there’s nothing and no one but the two of you to ensure things stay dynamic, fresh, and sexy in the romance department.
When we first got married and moved in together, we were coming straight out of a long-distance relationship. Great relationship advice will tell you that the great thing about-long distance is that it’s easy as pie to keep things fresh when you rarely see each other.
During each reunion, both of you are on your best behavior and things may even feel vacation-like. Not so in short-distance, day-in and day-out marriage, my friends. Maybe at first, yes, but eventually routine settles in, and each and every couple has to do a little relationship spring cleaning to keep their love fresh.
Here are five great ways to do just that.
1. Out with the old activities, and in with new.
It may seem like common sense, but many couples don’t realize they’re doing the same things over and over again, and it may be negatively affecting their romance and intimacy.
For example, my husband and I love to watch movies. If given the choice between cuddling up and watching a movie or doing just about anything else, we’ll probably choose the movie every time. But the other day, I bought a board game on a whim, and instead of movie night, we had game night.
It brought out a competitive streak neither of us knew the other has, and it was downright fun. Breaking things up a bit triggers something in your brain that adds back in that sense of newness and excitement you might be missing from the early days of your relationship.
2. Become reacquainted.
While you’re dating, you may as well be playing a never-ending game of 21 questions. There’s so much you don’t know about each other, and of course you’re trying to determine whether the two of you are a good match.
The silly thing, though, is that we long-termers stop asking questions. Maybe we have our routine arsenal of “How was work today? Did the kids behave? What else has the dog destroyed?” But we forget to ask the juicier, more soul-probing questions you asked when you were first figuring each other out.
Us humans are always changing, so keep on learning about who your partner is becoming. It will make your bond stronger and the conversation a lot more interesting.
3. Change the scenery in the master bedroom.
Couples often retreat to hotels or resorts to fire up their intimacy, but what if you could achieve that same end by just changing the scenery in your own home?
I, personally, neglected our master bedroom for far too long — it wasn’t as important to me as the rest of the house, because visitors won’t be spending any time in our bedroom, right? Well, of course not, but the two most important people in the equation will be spending plenty of time there, so as cheesy as it may sound, I decided I want to make our bedroom a regular little love nest.
For you, it may mean a new coat of paint on the walls, buying that down comforter and pillows you’ve been eyeing, or maybe just rearranging furniture to make it feel like a new room. Like I said before, change triggers the brain to think new thoughts and feel new ways, and it’s a winning combination.
4. Go to marriage counseling.
Most couples view marriage counseling as something scary that symbolizes failure or impending divorce, but it really doesn’t have to mean either of those things. Marriage counseling is extremely helpful for any couple that ever argues or fights.
Counselors are trained to teach you how to recognize unhealthy patterns in your relationships and the underlying issues you may be unaware of, and me and my husband’s own experience with a counselor was incredibly eye-opening. I urge all my couple friends to forget the stereotype, and look at counseling as no different than a routine exam with your family doctor.
It’s not always fun, but it’s the healthy thing to do. Relationships are rough sometimes, so why not chat with a professional who specializes in helping you solve your problems?
5. Plan a vacation together.
Even if you don’t have the dates down yet or you’re not sure when you’ll be able to afford it, start planning out the details of that wonderful, rejuvenating vacation you’ll be taking first chance you get. It will give the two of you something to anticipate and work towards together, and having that goal in your sights will help take the edge off what can often feel like monotony in everyday life.
Go all out and plan your dream vacation, or keep it simple and plan something a little closer to home. But do it together.
Spring symbolizes so much: new birth, growth, and the promise of good things to come. But this season, while you’re cleaning out those dusty closets and airing out your laundry, don’t forget to tend to your relationship, too.
Treat it like your most precious possession, and watch it bloom just like the world outside your window.
Photo by Artem Beliaikin: https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-and-woman-sitting-near-body-of-water-918315/