Have you ever sat by a fire, staring into the flames? I have, plenty of times. I mean, there’s nothing more relaxing and comforting than sitting on a couch, cuddled up with a blanket and a coffee mug in hand. And oh yes, a good book. Nothing quite like it.
As I began to reflect on today’s topic, I started to think about what I see when I look into the flames of a burning fire. It’s easy to think that you only see red and orange colors, but if you look closely, you can see some white right in the center of the flame.
The more I began to ponder this, I couldn’t help but remember that the white part of the fire is hotter than the red. In fact, the red part is actually the coolest.
Then I began to reflect on how this scientific truth can be applied to marriage. Marriage can be an awesome thing, but it takes work. If neither you nor your spouse are aligning on the amount of effort you put into your relationship, you’ll probably experience some trouble. In life, there will inevitably be ups and downs, ebbs and flows; but just as we can’t quit life, we can’t quit our marriage.
I always love it when I see an older couple walking and holding hands—you can safely assume they’ve probably been married for at least 50 years. We should be more in love with our spouse in 30 years than we were on our wedding day. In other words, we should be constantly striving to make our flame white-hot as much as possible.
I am by no means a marriage expert, but in the 10+ years my boyfriend-turned-husband and I have been married, I’ve learned a few things.
Here are a few tips to keep the marriage flame white hot:
1. Have a weekly date night, whether at home or out on the town (the kids will be fine…trust me!).
2. Take a long weekend trip or staycation—just the two of you—once a year. Oh, and by the way, a staycation doesn’t count if you and your spouse take off work to clean the garage or complete the “honey-do” list.
3. Accept your spouse as-is. Please don’t try to change them (remember: you are the one who picked them!).
4. Respect your spouse like you want to be respected. Respect your differences.
5. Give them the attention they deserve. Have a conversation looking each other in the eyes. In other words, put the cell phone down—social media can wait. Moments are better captured when you are living it, not Instagraming it.
6. Learn to make adjustments in the relationship. I’ve often heard relationships are like a fine wine—they get better with age. Go through and enjoy each phase of life with your spouse (even if the new haircut or that new friend is annoying). This lets them know you are in it with them, cheering them on.
7. Forgive. Join in with Elsa from Frozen and sing, “Let it Go, let it go…”
8. Fight fair. Avoid bringing up past arguments. Please! When this happens, it’s not only annoying, but nothing ever gets resolved. If neither of you can shake something from your past, it may be time to seek marriage counselling (Note: this is not a sign of a weak relationship. It’s the sign of a growing, strong relationship).
9. Practice saying two little magic words: Thank you. When you “catch” your spouse doing something nice, acknowledge it with a simple thank-you. This lets them know you appreciate them, versus only calling them out when they do something wrong.
10. Laugh a ton and have fun, even when you don’t want to. You’d be surprise the wonders it will do. Laughter is medicine for the soul.
11. Touch each other at least ten times a day. It doesn’t have to be anything major, but just a shoulder rub or a quick peck on the cheek lets them know you want to be close to them, and that they are wanted.
12. Lastly, pray together. Enough said for that one. You show me a husband and wife who pray together, and I’ll show a couple who’s destined for success.
Reconnect with your husband or wife today. Dream to have the marriage you’ve always wanted, and it’ll happen with prayer and a little effort.
Don’t just keep it hot, keep it white hot!