Abby and I have been married for over 27 years. How do we keep the “electricity” of romance alive, especially after so many years of marriage? Many marriages started of with highly electrifying passion and feeling for each other. But often after the honeymoon period, with the arrival of children, mounting challenges of parenting, relating with in-laws and relatives, and increasing financial responsibilities, all these and more call for challenging adjustments in our marriage. Failing to adjust well put the electric sparks of romance to “cold storage.”
I believe that romantic marriage does not just consist of romantic get-away, candle light dinner or expensive gifts lavished upon our spouses. As I grow in my marriage and learning to love Abby even more deeply, I have found the “simple” everyday interchanges are much more meaningful and intimate to me.
Yes, there can be special days of celebrating birthday, wedding anniversary and valentine, but truly it is the everyday “connecting” with each other in real-life situations that will determine the continuing flow of “electricity” in our marriage. It is the home and everyday stuff that keep our marriage close. I have come to love the very things that make up my wife:
The way she collects things and then worries about me throwing them away without her noticing. Believe it or not, in our earlier years of marriage, after disposing many bags of “rubbish” outside our home, Abby would open them one by one, just to make sure that I didn’t throw away her precious stuff. You see, in our family, she collects and I throw. After almost 3 decades of adjustments, she now collects less and starts throwing, while I start to collect a little and throw less too.
I will always be the one waiting for her to get ready for any function. The same is true about packing for our overseas trip or preparing for her speaking engagements. The night before, I can expect it to be a long night till early morning.
The way she drives her car into the driveway or car park (always reverse in) and how she expects me to know whether our auto gate is closed when we are out of sight from our home. After many years, if I am in the car with her, I would check and make sure all doors and gates are closed and tell her in advance as she drives out of our home.
After each meal she would vigorously floss her teeth and then asked me, “Is there anything stuck in between my teeth?” Almost everyday, I would have the joy of picking up her used dental floss from our bathroom.
The way she would correct my “pronunciation” in English ceaselessly for more than 30 years and that was how I improve my English till this day. I have changed from being irritated by her corrections to honest appreciation of her feedback. I still have a long way to do, Abby still can’t stand some of my pronunciations – my die-hard Foo Chow roots of my mother tongue.
Abby and I learn that just by being together in the “everydayness” of our lives can be highly connected with a constant flow of electricity in our marriage. For examples:
Sitting together and resting in each other’s arms, sharing the lessons we learn from a book or a meaningful quote from the social media; after watching a movie, we would share the lessons that we can apply in our life and work.
When our kids were young, we enjoyed fetching them together to and from their schools and played an active part in the disciplining and nurturing of our three boys. Abby even did most of her post-graduate assignments in our car while waiting for our kids. Today, our actual time involvement with our children has decreased, we participate in parenting jointly more as friends and advisors to our children. We maintain the culture of weekly family meal and annual family holiday.
Now that all our boys have finished their studies and are working, we are acutely aware that soon we will be having an empty nest. Two years ago, Abby has been travelling with me in almost all my overseas assignments. Although she has been a full-time homemaker for more than 25 years, I have involved her in my work and connected her with all my associates and friends.
We practice complete openness and transparency with each other. We don’t have personal secret bank accounts. Our passwords to our mobile and social media, including emails are all known to each other.
At the end of each day, we retire to bed together; pray with and for each other. We ask forgiveness and release forgiveness, should we offend or hurt one another. We almost never fail to hold hands till we sleep.
Keeping the electric sparks of romance alive requires studying, learning, and coming to “know” whom you are married to and adoring them in spite of it! Growing love can never “depend” on money or expensive gifts. It requires daily nurturing and making necessary adjustments in different seasons of life. This does not mean we never need to give a gift or go out on a romantic date again. These things are important. What it does mean is that we must not take for granted what each day holds for our marriage. Each day of loving your spouse is the key to a lifetime of a satisfying and happy marriage. In closing, I recommend that you save and allocate your finance to do something special for your spouse from time to time.
Be creative and innovative to keep the electric current flowing in your marriage. Set aside time to join an annual marriage tune-up camp.
There is no perfect couple
but we can all become a better couple,
where our romance is kept alive.
About the Author: Dr Peter Ting
Reposted from old website 29 Nov 2016