James and I have been married for 5 years now and recently (brought on by James recent time away in London) I've been looking into ways to keep the marriage alive and keep the spark going good and strong. What makes it hard is that James and I are TOTALLY different in terms of personality. He doesn't understand the need for romance etc whereas romance is something I love! James doesn't do romance in a way that is stereotypical... chocolate and flowers etc... his way is unique. I came up with a few things that we could do that weren't necessarily romantic... but that would keep us close and loved up. So... non-romantic ideas for keeping the spark in a non-stereotypically-romantic marriage.
1. Together Hobbies
We lead very different lives... he with his career and me with my SAHM life... and so our hobbies differ also. He loves music, anything to do with computing and technology... gaming...music. I love reading, baking, watching chick flicks etc! We came up with a few hobbies we could share including geocaching (neither of us have tried this yet but are both eager to try it out!) and watching the top 250 movies on IMDB!
2. In The Bedroom.... (family may not want to read this bit!)
We all know that S-E-X can get fairly routine and lacking in spice, when our lives are crazy full of work and kids... sometimes the last thing you want to do on a weekday is swing from the ceiling after the kids are in bed... much easier to slob in front of the tv with some junk food and have an early night. I like the idea of making things more interesting by instigating a 'no sex in the bed on weekends' rule. I'll leave that one to your imagination!
3. Married Book
This is a very new one for us. We have a little Moleskin notebook that we have decided to keep as our married book in which we can write a note to one another... draw a doodle... stick a photo... anything goes, so long as it is directed at the other person. I thought this would be a nice no pressure way of each thinking of something nice to say to the other person, without the gushiness of saying it face to face (James is not a fan of gushiness!). We have each made one entry so far and so far we both like the idea of the book.
James and I had a crazy fun date this month... dinner and a movie. The meal was amazing, the movie was average... but we had a REALLY good night out together. We haven't had a date like that in a long time and it didn't matter that the movie wasn't very good... we were out together, alone and it was lovely. We are making it a monthly thing now. Dinner and a movie/ something else at least once a month. Dates don't have to cost a fortune... I know that now. Even a hot chocolate and a pastry would suffice.
Our marriage is by no means perfect... but most of the time it runs smoothly and happily... it is evident though that a marriage really does take effort. Effort to keep things fun and interesting and to leave no doubt in a spouse's mind that they are indeed very much loved.