Say what? These are words Hubs spoke to me tonight before we went to bed. He kissed me on the cheek after I said ‘Awww thank you baby,” big kiss and tender looks… I marveled at how five words made me feel more alive and special than I’d felt in a while.
As I marveled at how wonderful the compliment made me feel, I wondered why that word knocked me off my socks. Hubs doles out complements often; ‘you look great babe,’ ‘that’s a great shirt,’ ‘I like that lipstick.’ While I don’t take for granted these sweet words, the surprise of the word gorgeous made me feel all tingly inside – kind of like I did when we dated.
The wondering continued. Do we still date each other? We have date nights, do the dinner thing, the movie thing, the other couple thing. And those relationship care taking moments and events are essential to tending your marriage garden. But what about the tingly feeling? When does that happen?
Do Hubs and I still date each other? Sometimes. And it’s during the seasons of ‘yes’ that I realize we are more intimately connected and honest and open and not drifting through the years. It’s the surprises – the random flowers on a Wednesday night, the midday text with a heart, the use of the word gorgeous instead of great,- it’s these small things, but really they are big things, that remind me why I fell in love with him.
So how do we keep the surprises coming? How do we date our spouses? How do we ‘keep the music playing?’ (Wow I just showed my age!) I asked around, my people, my squad, my posse. And here are some acts of kindness, love and surprise that make wives and husbands feel special:
“He prints out my crossword puzzle in the morning and leaves me a note before he leaves for work.”
“He comes back from his morning run and brings me a latte in bed while I read my work emails.”
“He leaves a sweet note for me to find in my car.”
“When she talks me up to someone else, when we share a quiet moment in a crowd of people like eye contact, a wink, a kiss, something that recognizes that the two of us have an intimacy with each other that we don’t have with anyone else in that crowd.”
“Before I got married, my mom told me it was important to never stop touching my husband. She said if I stop touching him, someone else will be glad to start. That definitely stuck with me.”
“When my wife tells me she won the husband lottery.”
“Setting aside some time on a Saturday morning that we call “Pillow Talk.” I actually play the Doris Day song on YouTube while she brings in the Bloody Marys. We’re in our 60’s.”
“Little things like making me coffee, picking me up a treat at the store, showing an interest in my hobbies, supporting my marathons, encouraging me, saying thanks for doing stuff around the house, being my best friend.”
“When I make a suggestion and she responds with ‘Yeah, that sounds great!’ I like the spontaneity.”
“I don’t currently have a partner, but if I did and she said, “I’m happy,” I would feel like the king of the world”
Sounds to me like we all need to be seen, to be validated, to be touched, to be both told and shown that we matter. Surprise and newness also seem to be up there as a key piece of the ‘how to keep it fresh’ puzzle.
So just like we throw ourselves into our careers, our kids, our hobbies, we need to take the time to date our partners. Why is this so tough to do? It comes down to the difference between the excitement of something new and the stability and predictability of a long term romance.
While we all crave and need that stability, monogamy can get stale. Dating our partners means taking the time to mix in excitement with our every day lives. An easy concept to understand, one we can easily forget about and yet one of the most important ways to stay connected.
Do you still date your long term partner? What makes you feel special in your relationship? Please let me know in the comments below!