Boy meets girl. Girl gets butterflies in her stomach and has sufficiently stalked boy on Facebook. Boy has told all his friends that he has met the one. Girl and boy go on a multitude of dates. Boy gets down on one knee. Girl says yes. The end.
When it comes to love stories, they can be simple or elaborate, but each one is beautiful in it's own way. But after the stories end, we forget that real stories have another important part to them - they don't just end after she says "yes". Real love stories include the crucial part about staying in love.
Because we often forget to mention that married life isn't always perfect, many couples tend to give up when marriage gets hard. But love is not about giving up. Love is about still trying and still giving, even when your spouse isn't your most favorite person at the moment.
So what do you do when you start to feel the love of your life slipping away? Just roll up your sleeves and follow these five steps to rebuild any marriage.
1. Couple time
We are all busy. Sometimes you stop, look around and realize that you haven't talked to your spouse in weeks other than comments like "don't forget your lunch" or "thanks for taking out the trash." Although you aren't fighting (or maybe you are), spending time together will heal a lot of unspoken frustrations.
According to a recent study, "wives who reported having couple time less than once a week were nearly four times more likely to report above-average levels of divorce proneness, compared to wives who enjoyed couple time at least once a week with their husband. Husbands who reported spending less than once a week in couple time were 2.5 times more likely to be divorce prone, compared to husbands who had couple time with their wife at least once a week."
Spending time together as a couple not only allows you to remember why you fell in love in the first place, but it's also a time to see what an amazing person they are becoming. It's time to tell jokes, hear what they are concerned about and congratulate them on their accomplishments.
Couple time can be as simple as going out to dinner, snuggling on the couch or going on a walk and holding hands. Make room in your schedule for some one-on-one time with your honey.
It's easy to think about what your spouse isn't doing for you. They forgot to pick up milk, they forgot to pick up their socks or they forgot to fill the car up with gas. Instead of keeping score about what tasks they have or haven't missed, serve them without expecting anything back.
Try to serve them in the things they are stressed about. Maybe iron your husband's shirt before his big meeting. Pack her up a lunch and leave a note telling her how much you love her (and wish her good luck at her presentation). Do a load of laundry, fold it and put it away without expecting anything.
Showing your spouse that you care about what is happening in their life will help them see that you still care. It will also ease the feelings of tension that come from keeping score of who does what. They care about you and want to build a relationship with you. The best relationships happen when people feel like they can do things without it ending up being only a "payback" for what you did earlier for them.
People need to know that they are loved and that they are doing good things. So, don't hold back your compliments. Compliment your spouse on all the good they do. Thank them for the small things they do every day. See the ways they choose to serve and love you, and do the same in return. When you are building up your spouse, you are also building up your relationship.
4. Dress up
Sweats and a t-shirt are great for working around the house, coming home from the gym or Sunday nights at home. But when you find yourself wearing sweats more than not, your spouse may feel like you don't care anymore.
When you make an effort to get dressed and put forth your best, your sweetheart will see that you are trying and will return the efforts.
Like I said earlier, we all have busy lives. You may feel like you have only a couple of minutes together between work, meetings or children's soccer games to take a breath, let alone reconnect with your spouse. Make a goal that each time you see each other, be sure to give each other a kiss.
Physical affection will remind each other of the commitment you have made. It will remind both of you how much you love each other. It will remind you that you are his and that he is yours. A kiss is a simply expression of love that you can do every day to rebuild your relationship.
Love stories never have to end if you are willing to put in the effort to keep the love alive.
Christa is a part time photographer, part time writer and full time lover of life. She loves eating chocolate chip cookies and singing (but not at the same time). She has her degree in political science.