How to Rekindle the Marriage Romance
- Cindi McMenamin Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2018 2 May
Have you been married awhile, but you feel miles apart from your husband? Maybe you’re newly married but you already feel the honeymoon is over.
Those days of butterflies in your stomach, your husband’s undivided attention, and the anticipation of spending time together don’t have to go away. And they certainly don’t have to be considered long gone. That spark between you two is still there. It’s just waiting to be fanned into a flame through some deliberate and intentional actions.
After 30 years of marriage – and nearly the same amount of time ministering to women and couples – I’ve come up with some ways that we, as wives, can change the dynamic in our marriages and get back that loving feeling no matter how long we’ve been with our husbands. Sure, it would be great if he did all of these things. But real change starts when it starts with you and me. And if I can do this, having been married to an introvert for three decades, you can do this, too.
Here are 12 ways to experience more trust, more passion, and more communication with your husband:
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1. Consider His Heart
It’s easy for wives, myself included, to begin looking at our husbands through the lens of our disappointment – what they did or didn’t do that made us feel rejected, taken for granted, or not as special as we used to feel. But those conclusions take into account how WE feel and not where our husbands are coming from.
I’ve found in my marriage that when I step back to see the whole picture and ask myself questions like What kind of day did he have? What might he be struggling with right now? and Is this the best time to bring this up?, I can begin to consider his heart and his feelings above my own.
When you apply Philippians 2:3 and “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value [your husband] above yourselves,” you will show him you truly love him for who he is, not what he does for you or how he responds.
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2. Think Like a New Bride
Sometimes it’s easy to say the first thing that comes to our minds. But through the years, I’ve learned (as have many seasoned wives) that it’s often best to think through our words before we respond or say anything at all. And here’s what we are to think through: How would a new wife who is in love respond right now?
When I began to renew my mind to respond to my husband as a new wife it completely changed the dynamic in our marriage. It wasn’t long before he began to respond like a new husband. Scripture tells “as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them” (Luke 6:31). That sometimes involves stopping in our tracks, thinking a situation through, and choosing to respond as a new bride would. If you need ideas on how a new wife responds to her husband, read the Song of Songs in Scripture. (You might even try some of her phrases from Chapter 1 in a modern translation and see how they resonate with your man!)
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3. Put His Needs First
There’s a reason husbands are told to leave their parents and hold fast to their wives after they marry (Genesis 2:24). In-laws can create problems – on both sides. There’s a reason wives are advised in Titus 2:4-5 to love their husbands and children (in that order). Our affections can easily be divided. Other responsibilities, interests, hobbies, and the tyranny of the urgent can crowd our husbands out of our list of priorities. And if your husband doesn’t believe he’s first in your heart (next to God, of course) he may very well feel last.
If you have children, prioritize your husband by realizing that your goal as a parent is to eventually launch your kids out of the home and into a life of their own, but your goal as a wife is to keep your husband at home for life. Treat him that way… as the one you want to stay. You can do that by daily asking him what he most needs from you and keeping him first on your list of priorities among all the other people and pressures in your life.
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4. Let the Little Things Go
Marriage is messy. It’s messy because people are messy. Because you and I – and our husbands – are broken people who are trying to make sense of life and trying to live together under one roof, and somewhere in all of that find a happily ever after.
The Bible says “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Not only have we sinned and piled up mistakes from our past, but we sometimes continue to operate in a wounded fashion. And our husbands do the same.
Can you let go of the little offenses so they don’t stack up in your heart and mind and become big offenses? The times my husband acts less than flattering (or downright caveman) are the times he needs my grace and kindness the most. When I let those incidents or remarks go, I can quietly thank God that just as I have chosen to overlook my husband’s offense, God has overlooked 10 million of my own. Iron out your differences as you go. And learn to let it go.
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5. Make Him a Guest
Every marriage falls into a rut at one time or another. But when you’re aware of the monotony, the routine, the complacency, and the lack of spontaneity, switch it up. You can switch it up at home by resolving to be a mystery to your husband and treating him as a guest in your own home.
First Peter 4:8-9 says, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” When I began practicing hospitality to my husband and treating him as well as I would treat guests in my home it made all the difference in the world. It meant becoming a servant, looking to his needs over my own, and making sure he was comfortable. And that switched things up so much he wanted to look to my needs and do what he could to be hospitable to me, as well. Switch it up. Keep him guessing. Make him wonder why you’re being so nice, without an agenda or something you want in return.
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6. Let Him Breathe
Your husband needs his personal space, time with other men, and perhaps even alone time now and then to recharge. Let him breathe by lightening up on the to-do lists, and refusing to mother him, smother him, or hover over him when he’s fixing something, trying to help, or just pursuing an interest in his downtime.
You can also help him breathe a little easier by removing from him your emotional expectations and leaving them with God where they belong. By looking to God to be your “spiritual husband” (Isaiah 54:5), rather than looking to your husband to meet all of your expectations and emotional needs, you are freeing him from a burden he was never meant to carry, and allowing him to love you in the best way that he can.
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7. Build Him Up
Do you remember how you looked, talked, and felt when you first fell in love? Men act a certain way when they’re in love, too. They tend to stand a little taller, talk more confidently, and walk with a swagger.
You, as your husband’s wife, have the ability to light him up more than anyone else. Your compliments and praise can go further than anyone else’s. Your pride in him is far more important to him than his mother’s or even his children’s. He truly wants to know you think the world of him. And he wants the world to know it too.
Talk him up, build him up, and light him up by practicing Ephesians 4:29: “Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them” (NLT).
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8. Recognize the Real Enemy
Because of the differences between you and your husband – your differing personalities, different upbringings, and different ways you approach life – you have enough of a gap between you to start with. But when one of you goes into your emotional cave instead of communicating and leaves the other to deal with the feeling of being shut out, that gap widens even more.
Whether it’s you who retreats emotionally or your husband (or both of you), adopt a healthy alternative to emotional withdrawal by recognizing what words or situations trigger the deeper core wounds in you (or your husband) that seem to be driving the argument or fight. Once you recognize the wounds, you can resist the urge to be defensive, accusative, or angry with one another and start rejecting the lies that get you off course. You can then receive the truth of who you are in Christ – You are His beloved, you are bought with a price, you are worth dying for. When you know who you are in God’s eyes, you can see your husband not as your enemy but as your brother in Christ and teammate in this world in which the enemy is trying to wreak havoc on our lives and marriages.
John 8:32 tells us: “Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” In this case, the truth will also help you close the gap between the two of you.
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9. Be His Supporter
Every man wants a teammate, a helper, a sense of support. My husband says it this way: “Husbands want wife support just like someone who is having difficulty breathing needs life support.”
My husband elaborated on that by saying: To offer wife support is to trust him when he wants to take a risk, and to not have to calculate the costs and other factors when he wants to live spontaneously or adventurously.
Your husband’s idea of wife support might sound differently. Ask him, “What is the best way I can be your God-appointed helper?” And then pray about how you can do that, practically, in his everyday life. Often your husband’s needs are a lot simpler than you would’ve guessed.
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10. Slow Down the Decision Making
I can tend to be driven, and while I think that might be helpful to my husband when it comes to searching out the facts, making a decision, and getting things done, there are times waiting it out and praying it out are a lot more helpful to him and to our marriage.
In addition to wanting God’s blessing on every conversation you have with your husband, you also want His blessing – and wisdom – on your decisions, investments, transitions, and so on. By waiting it out – and praying it out – instead of pressing your husband to do things your way, you are inviting God into the equation and gaining discernment, giving your husband time to get on the same page as you (or giving God time to get YOU on the same page as your husband), and making sure the two of you have peace about your chosen direction.
When you are willing to wait it out and make mutual decisions a matter of prayer, you and your husband can experience “being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind” (Philippians 2:3, ESV).
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11. Don't Give Up Easily
Aren’t you glad we have a God who doesn’t dump us when we blow it? He’s a God of a second, third, and a million chances. Does your husband know that you have cancelled the contingencies when it comes to making your forever stick?
This world pours into us the thinking that marriage is for our own happiness and if we are not being fulfilled, we need to get out and find someone else who will fulfill us. But as God works in you and me to make us more like His Son, and we have a stick-it-out mentality – for better or worse, in sickness and in health, ‘til death do us part – He can turn our marital troubles into a glory story not only for us, but to help transform the lives and marriages of others for years to come.
I realize in some cases, a spouse is unwilling to help improve the marriage or allow God to work. But if he’s willing, can you have a “stick it out” mentality and extend grace? I challenge you to stick it out by practicing 1 Corinthians 13:7-8 and be one who “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (NASB) for the glory of God and the sake of restoration. Your promise as you do this is that “(God’s) love never fails” (verse 9). Let your husband know that as long as he is willing to remain with you in an understanding way, no matter what, you will stick it out with him. That is loving your husband as God loves you.
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12. Remember What Brought You Together
Jesus’ words centuries ago to His bride (the church) can serve as a challenge to us to keep complacency out of our marriages today: “I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance… You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary… Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first” (Revelation 2:2-5).
Think back to the day you fell in love with your husband. What was it about him that stole your heart? Was it his smile, his sense of humor, the way he could make you laugh? Was it his gentleness toward you or his integrity and determination to love you as God does?
Now think back to what you were like when you fell in love with him. Was it your kind words, your constant smile, or your ability to see the best in him that drew the two of you together? No matter how much the two of you might have changed by now, you can help bring back the romance by being the woman who once captured his heart. Repent and do the things you did at first and you may rediscover “the love you had at first.”
Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and award-winning author of 16 books who has been married 30 years to Hugh, a pastor and introvert. Her newest book, 12 Ways to Experience More with Your Husband, will help you experience more joy, passion, and communication in your marriage, no matter what your husband’s personality. For more on her resources to strengthen your walk with God, your marriage, or your parenting, see Cindi’s website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.
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