It's Valentine's week. Some of us love it, some of us hate it. And some say this "Hallmark holiday" is just an opportunity for florists and chocolatiers to make a boat load in the name of love. While this may or may not be true, it's also an opportunity to step out of our crazy day-to-day lives and focus on what's really important to us. And while I don't condone only doing this on Valentine's Day, this time of year can help serve as a reminder to take a moment and appreciate the one you love.
When you're a newlywed, it's easy to remember to do unique, out-of-the-ordinary things with your significant other. But when you've been married for a little while, it's just as important to take time out of your busy schedules to do something special.
So, in the spirit of Valentine's Day, I wanted to share with you what some other real couples do to keep the love, connection and spark alive in their marriages. I enlisted some of my best friends and asked them to tell me some things they do with their husbands to keep their love alive - not just on Valentine's Day, but the very things that can (and should be) done all year 'round to make the connection you have special and everlasting.
Here are some favorites:
Make homemade fortune cookies with your own love notes inside.
Pretend the electricity is out in your house and have a candlelit dinner and good conversation. (You can use the stove.)
Have your own happy hour together (assuming you like to sample alcohol from time to time), and spill your guts to each other.
Make sure to take a vacation twice a year - once in the summer and once in the winter - even if it's only a weekend trip.
Take moments to dream realistically together. Discuss future hopes and goals for work, family, living, etc.
Make surprise CDs before going on a road trip.
Exercise together a few times a week.
Leave each other surprise love notes around the house.
Establish traditions, like homemade pancakes, on special occasions.
Get up early on weekends to get coffee (or whatever you like), and hit up some flea markets - if only to laugh together about what people are selling!
Make an effort to enjoy each other's interests, and make a list of things you've always wanted to try together.
Tell each other every day that you love them.
Have inside jokes. It makes you feel connected and special.
Make mandatory homemade gifts for each holiday and create scavenger hunts to find them. You would be surprised how creative and thoughtful it can be!
I was so impressed with how easily my friends rattled off creative and special things they love to do with their husbands. No one said marriage would be easy. But if you're on the same page and go to great lengths to keep your relationship close and connected, it ends up feeling effortless. By being present in your marriage and valuing one another, it can end up feeling like Valentine's Day all year long.