Relationships

6 ways to keep the spark in your marriage alive

©iStockphoto.com/maridav Image by: ©iStockphoto.com/maridav Author: Canadian Living

Relationships

6 ways to keep the spark in your marriage alive

The start of a new season is a great time to refresh your relationship. We all have more energy in the warmer months and after a long winter it's important to refocus on improving yourself and your marriage.

We spoke with real women about how they channel their renewed energy back into their relationships. Not surprisingly, their efforts yield very positive results.

1. Make small changes
Even the smallest effort to change a routine can have a big impact. "We spent the winter eating fatty comfort foods, staying in most nights and hitting the snooze button way too many times on weekday mornings," says Erin from Ottawa, who has been married for four years.

"But as soon as the sun started coming up earlier and the days got warmer we were inspired to get up earlier, make coffee and have an actual sit-down breakfast together before going to work," she says. "Even that extra little half-hour has made such a difference in how much closer we are and how much energy we both have during the day."

2. Add some playfulness into your marriage
If you approach your relationship with a focus on fun and playfulness this season you might just learn something new about your partner and break out of a set routine.

"I feel like I have more energy in the warmer seasons," says Rose from St. John's, who has been married for three years. "I feel more like being imaginative in the bedroom, rather than sticking to the same routine. For instance, sneaking in a quickie right when we get home from work before making dinner. That kind of trial and error has been exciting and definitely brings us closer together."


3. Talk to your partner
"It's amazing that when there are more daylight hours, my husband and I actually talk more," says Heather from Toronto, who has been married for eight years. "We dawdle more over dinner and are more likely to sit out and enjoy the weather in the evenings after the kids are in bed. It often leads to really good talks and sharing, the kind of discussions that just don't happen when we're planted in front of the TV in the winter."

Rather than wishing for change in your relationship and hoping your spouse will guess what's on your mind, try finding opportunities for those genuine organic conversations to occur.

Page 1 of 2 -- Discover three more ways to keep the spark in your marriage alive on page 2
4. Make time for each other
"In the spring and summer we both have fewer evening committee meetings and after-work client functions. It's mostly about the kids' sports on weeknights. I find that this shift actually makes it easier to prioritize sex and time alone together," says Sarah from Calgary. "And that old saying is true -- that if you don't schedule it in, then it just won't happen. So we take advantage of opportunities like nights when other parents offer to carpool and grab some time to ourselves."

5. Surprise your spouse
Adding more spontaneity into your marriage is a great way to keep things fresh and interesting.

"Warmer weather makes travel so much easier," says Helen from Ottawa, who has been married for 11 years. "I like planning spontaneous weekends away and not having to factor in snow squalls or road closures. We both enjoy golf and hiking, so it's fun to get away just the two of us -- away from the city and off the grid, as they say!"

6. Make it a habit
Maintaining a strong bond is a habit that's easy to form if you commit to it, the same way you would commit to an exercise routine.

"My husband and I often give up sweets for Lent, and after the overindulgences of the winter it can be pretty difficult," says Cathy from Thunder Bay, Ontario, who has been married for four years. "The nice thing is that we do it together, so the misery is shared. But we also try to sub in an activity to take our minds off of the desserts and treats we're missing. After 40 days of walking in the evenings instead of snacking, it's no longer a chore and actually something we look forward to. It also has the added benefit of helping us lose a little around the middle!"

Improving your marriage doesn't have to involve a complete overhaul of your relationship. It doesn't have to be painful and doesn't even require a lot of time or effort. As these real women have shared, making small changes, seizing opportunities, and refocusing and reprioritizing your relationship can all reap positive rewards.

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6 ways to keep the spark in your marriage alive

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