My wife Jane tells me that she fell in love with me mostly because we had so much fun together. I'll admit, the two of us had a blast when we were dating-laughing uncontrollably and doing all kinds of crazy things. But I have to say that some of my best memories from our dating years include things like kissing Jane behind the college gym.

Believe me, I've got some good memories from those days. We kissed a lot back then.

Twenty-two years and four kids later, these days our kisses can be pretty calm compared to the ones we used to have. In thinking about this recently, I brought the subject up with my wife. "Babe," I asked, "why is it that we don't kiss like we used to do?"

Jane responded without missing a beat. "Because," she said, "your breath isn't as fresh as it used to be!"

Well.

I guess it's fair to say that I don't always put the same kind of energy into my relationship with Jane that I used to. Oh, I'm still working on things. I'm still trying to be a good husband, but it's easier now to start letting certain things slide. Things like mints, for example.

When two people have been married for a while, they begin to settle in. They stop thinking about their marriage so much, and they stop trying so hard to impress each other. They get distracted by their jobs, their kids, or their to-do lists, and the freshness of their marriage fades a little among other priorities.

Most married couples don't talk for hours like they used to. Most married couples don't hold hands as much as they used to. Most married couples don't compliment as much or dress up as much or flirt with each other as much as they used to.

Certainly, life is marked by changes, and I'm not about to suggest that married people should forever behave exactly like they did when they were dating. That would make for a pretty sappy and annoying world.

Even so, it's important to keep the sentimental stuff going in a marriage. Just because you're five or ten or twenty years into your relationship, that doesn't mean you can't have the kind of fun that you used to have.

It's the little things like kisses and smiles and laughs that will boost your relationship's energy level. These are the things that help to keep a marriage going strong. These are the things that help keep discontent and divorce at bay.

When was the last time you and your spouse stayed up late just to talk? When was the last time you got dressed up and went out on the town, just the two of you?

When was the last time you laughed really hard at one of your husband's jokes or gave your wife a kiss on her forehead? When did you last compliment your spouse? When did you last encourage him or her?

When did you last give a backrub or wink or bat your eyelashes or smile really big?

Just so you know, I went to the store a while back, walked straight to the gum aisle, and promptly picked out the biggest bag of Clorets that I could find. I keep them in the car now so I can pop a few on my ride home and greet my wife at the door with a kiss that's minty-fresh.

She loves it-and for this column, I think I'll leave it at that.

Dan Seaborn is the founder of Winning At Home Inc., a nationally-known organization designed to assist and encourage people of all ages and stages of family development. E-mail your questions or comments about this article to hometeam@winningathome.com.