Caribbean style and Hawaiian aloha were the inspiration behind Cariloha – a combination of the two words. With more than 20 years vacationing, working and serving in the Caribbean and Hawaiian Islands and the cruise ship ports throughout the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexican Riviera and Bahamas, the Cariloha team became steeped in the culture and lifestyle of the islands and the beachfront shopping experience.
It's normal and natural for every couple to leave the honeymoon phase behind at some point in their relationship. After all, can you imagine being that head-over-heels in love all the time? However, relationship longevity doesn't mean you have to grow apart; you just have to find new ways of growing together.
If you're looking for a place to start, here are some ideas for how you can experience the feeling of falling in love all over again, strengthen your relationship and look forward to many more happy years of marriage together.
When was the last time you talked about something besides work or the children? Stagnation in conversation is understandable when you've been together awhile and you feel like you know most everything about your spouse.
Roland Warren, president of the National Fatherhood Initiative, suggests several questions that can help draw spouses closer together:
When you worry, what do you worry about most?
When do you feel happiest?
What one thing would make this the best year of our lives?
What do you dream for yourself?
For best results, ask these questions at a time and place when you won't be interrupted.
2. Do something physically active together
Sedentary activities, like watching TV together or reading in companionable silence, might be easy and relaxing, but they aren't likely to kindle any sparks in your relationship. Once or twice a week, try doing something active together that gets your blood pumping. They also give you something new to talk about as a couple when conversation seems thin. You might find that when you have some alone time in the evening, that boost of adrenaline from your physical activities gives you energy to do more than just fall into bed and immediately go to sleep.
3. Surprise each other
Another problem that arises in long-term relationships is a lack of spontaneity. When you both know what to expect, day after day, boredom starts to set in. Mix things up by giving each other small gifts or handwritten love notes. Plan a date night and set up babysitting, then surprise your spouse with all your prearranged plans. Anything that breaks up the monotony of the daily routine can count as a surprise. It'll make you feel like you're dating again… and that's a good thing!
When you first started dating, you might have thought your spouse had no flaws. As the years pass, however, and that initial glow fades, his weaknesses will become more and more apparent, and you might be tempted to criticize him, hoping to cure him or his shortcomings.
However, psychologist Harriet Lerner reminds that constant criticism can spell disaster for a marriage relationship. Instead, she challenges couples to limit themselves to one criticism a day.
"Practice saying that criticism in three sentences or less," Lerner said. "Do this over time and you'll see each other in a more positive light and likely rediscover why you fell in love in the first place."
5. Take a trip, just the two of you
This becomes more difficult when children enter the picture, but with careful planning, a weekend trip away with you and your spouse can be just the recharge your relationship needs. Even a single night away camping together or staying at a hotel in town can give you a chance to reconnect on a different level, and you could actually get to sleep in for once.
Feel like you don't have much in common with your husband these days? Try starting a new hobby together. Whether it's gardening, interior design, or carpentry, anything that gets you working together will help you find that common ground you've been missing. Plus, you'll get the satisfaction of completing projects together and possibly saving the family money by completing do-it-yourself projects you would have had to hire out to have done.
7. Re-enact favorite memories
Do you have fond memories of the place you first met, your first date, or where you first kissed? In those days, life was likely much simpler, and you were only focused on each other. Re-enact those days by revisiting their scenes (or similar locations if you've moved away) to help you slip back into those early feelings. Pretend it is your first date. What would you talk about? How would you treat each other? Try to capture those feelings and utilize them even in the midst of a normal day. You'll likely treat your spouse with even more love and compassion because you'll remember what it was like to first fall in love.
Besides just enjoying one another's company, there are a lot of other reasons cuddling with your spouse in bed is a good idea. For one, cuddling gets the body to release oxytocin, which psychologist Matt Hertenstein tells NPR, "is a neuropeptide, which basically promotes feelings of devotion, trust and bonding."
Couples who cuddle also tend to be happier in their relationships, according Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire in England. He told the The Telegraph that a study he conducted found,"94 percent of couples who spent the night in contact with one another were happy with their relationship, compared to just 68 percent of those that didn't touch."
So if cuddling isn't currently part of your nighttime ritual, it might be time to start as soon as you get in the sheets. Even if you aren't comfortable cuddling all night long, a few minutes of cuddling before you both roll over and go to sleep could have big long-term benefits for your relationship.
Visit Cariloha for more ideas on how to turn your home into the kind of relaxing, refreshing environment where you can reconnect as a couple and fall in love all over again.