My husband and I have been married 15 years. We love each other, we’re committed to our marriage, and we don’t have unrealistic expectations about what marriage is about. But we recently hit a stale spot in our relationship. It was time to start fresh and what better time than now, when spring and its promise of new beginnings is right around the corner?
The idea for a fresh start came as I was sending my husband a quick email about something I can’t even remember. At the end of the email, I wrote, “I think we should both pray to fall in love more with each other this year.” He agreed.
With that simple overture on my part and his response to it, I could tell that we were relating to each other in a different way. We hugged a little longer, we smiled a little more when the other looked over, and we let things go that we usually would’ve complained about.
My first step to a fresh start was a spontaneous one, but there are other things we can do to make our marriages more fulfilling. Where are you today in your relationship? Try these 5 ways to start fresh in your marriage.
1. Work as a team.
Sometimes just knowing that our spouse wants to have a better marriage is all it takes to give us hope. So first, let your husband know you want a fresh start in your marriage. With that pronouncement, you’re letting him know that you care about your marriage, that you’re committed to your marriage, and that you’re committed to him.
Sometimes just knowing that our spouse wants to have a better marriage is all it takes to give us hope.
From that point on, remind yourself and each other of your common goal to have a more fulfilling marriage and that you’re going to achieve it together. (Look at Susan Merrill’s 4 Habits for a Happy Marriage. You can decide to make these the ground rules for your “team.”
2. Leave the baggage behind.
If your marriage is bogged down with resentments and bitterness toward your husband or what he’s done to you, drop that emotional baggage and start fresh unencumbered by the past. Here’s how! Instead of rehashing past hurts, address new ones only as they come up. (Of course, if there are big issues that you need to discuss with him before you move on, tell him that you want to talk to him so that you two can move on and start fresh.)
If you don’t feel like you can move on until you make a decision to forgive your husband, try to take that step as soon as you can.
3. Remember the past.
What made you fall in love with your husband? Look into his eyes and remember the day you were married. Think about the kind things he has done for you and your children. Look for the good he’s done and the things you can be thankful for about him.
4. Reboot affection.
What’s the affection level in your marriage, on a scale of 1 – 10? To make your way to a 10, add more of these to your day: casual physical affection—kisses, hugs, hand holding, and relational affection—smiling at each other, complimenting each other, and being kind to each other.
The more you act like you like and love each other, the better chance that you actually will. Think affectionate thoughts about your husband and push away negative thoughts or accusations you have in your mind.
5. First things first.
Make each other a priority. If you’re talking to your husband and your child interrupts, kindly say, “Just a second sweetie, I’m talking to Daddy.” Make your time with him more important than your time at the gym or with friends. Let just about everything else go by the wayside if you have to.
As you take these steps, you might falter. But the beauty of fresh starts is that you can begin again—at any time.
And, tell us, what else can we do to give our marriage a fresh start?