How “Marriage Romance” Looks Different From “Dating Romance”

Updated September 7, 2023by Regain Editorial Team

When we think of the word “romance,” our minds may go directly to the stereotypes portrayed in books or on television.  Traditional ideas of romance may include candlelight dinners, passionate embraces, and bouquets of roses, for example.

This type of romance may be common in the dating world, but once you say, “I do”, things may change. That does not necessarily mean you have to kiss romance goodbye when you get hitched, though. Romance may still be alive and well in marriage, but it can look different than it did when you were dating.

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Worried About The Romance In Your Marriage?

Talking

When dating, it can be easy to default to the usual expressions of romance like gift-giving and physical intimacy. This is natural, as you may not yet know your partner well enough to meet all their needs on a deeper level. However, a marriage may not survive on date nights and jewelry alone. Instead, genuine communication may take center stage in a marital romance.  

In marriage, communication connects us. It has been widely reported that couples who spend time communicating effectively with one another enjoy higher levels of satisfaction in their marriage. There may be many reasons for this, including fewer misunderstandings and more opportunities for trust-building, for example.  Moreover, simply knowing your spouse is on your team creates an atmosphere of support and acceptance in the marriage.

Ideally, both spouses will feel heard in the marriage and have the assurance that their feelings matter. There may be no greater way to show your spouse you love them than by keeping open, honest, and authentic communication at the core of your relationship.

Fun

Spontaneity is something that may show up often when we are dating. It can be fun to go on unexpected adventures with your partner and learn about them in new and exciting ways. In marriage, though, couples may find they settle into a routine. This can be comforting at times, but one or both spouses may eventually realize that they need more excitement in their lives. Acting on impulse can have its place in the marriage too.

You may not always be able to escape your everyday responsibilities to go on a long romantic trip together. Still, switching up even the most mundane parts of your schedule can re-energize the relationship. Small gestures like surprising your spouse with dinner at home or initiating an unplanned weekday trip to the local movie theatre, for example, might be enough to create an escape from your day-to-day obligations.

Spontaneity can be even more romantic in a marriage because it is an outward sign to your partner that you still think about them. It says you prioritize the time you spend together and want to continue making memories with them. You may not be able to pull off the grand gestures from your dating days, but with some creativity, you can rekindle the same sense of adventure that has existed since the day you met.

Closeness

Important dating milestones like the first kiss may have fueled the feelings of love you share today. Still, it’s common for couples to find themselves in a slump regarding intimacy after years of marriage. Hand-holding may become less frequent, kisses could become repetitive, and sometimes, even sex might become routine. It may be helpful to remember that there are still things to explore with your spouse after all this time together. With some effort and intention, romance in marriage can be even more meaningful than dating romance.

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It may take some conscious thought, but intimacy can be a part of everyday marriage. You may want to grab your spouse’s hand while walking in the store, for example, or opt to linger in a kiss a few moments longer than you normally would. Consider going out of your way to physically touch one another throughout the day and bring cuddling back into the relationship. This may or may not produce immediate “butterflies” the way it might have when you first met, but it can bring you closer physically and emotionally.

When it comes to the bedroom, there may be many ways to spice things up. You could try redecorating your room, lighting candles, playing music, or even splurging on lingerie. Still, intimacy may be one of those places in a relationship where communication is king. It can be beneficial to remember that both partners should feel confident speaking up for what they want (or don’t want) in their love life.

Fairness

Healthy relationships may prioritize equality, whether two people are dating or married. Married life, in particular, might come with many obligations. Each partner’s role in the relationship may look different (e.g., perhaps one spouse works, and the other stays home with children or is a student), but both partners can still maintain the same level of influence and authority in the relationship.

There may be two ways to make this dynamic romantic. The most basic way could be acknowledging and respecting equality as an important part of the relationship. You may want to ensure you’re not putting an unfair share of responsibility onto one spouse. Instead, consider dividing tasks equally.  In areas that primarily fall on your spouse’s shoulders, you could offer to be their support system.

Another way to make equality romantic may be going above and beyond for your partner from time to time. For example, you could take the kids out so your spouse can have a day to rest, do an extra load of laundry without being asked, or develop a creative way to bring some extra income into the home from time to time. A little break from individual responsibilities might be just what your spouse needs to relax into a more romantic mindset.

Growth

Some people may think a relationship starts in the dating phase and ends in marriage. It may be more beneficial, though, to see your relationship as ever-evolving.  The connection you have with your spouse can continue to grow and develop long after you’ve exchanged vows. 

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to evolve the romance in your relationship is by taking part in new hobbies or interests together. Not only will you be embarking on an adventure, but you may also find yourself learning new and interesting things to appreciate about your spouse. These new ventures do not have to be time-consuming or costly either. Try cooking a meal at home alongside a famous chef on YouTube, or spend a few hours hiking or biking. Photography, sports, and gardening might be other options. You never know what might spark the next phase of romance in your relationship.

Another way you can keep that romantic charge you had for one another while dating may be to create new goals for yourselves as a couple. When we date, there may be many milestones to look forward to. Some of these might include meeting each other’s parents for the first time, getting engaged, and finally being wed. Sometimes, that excitement for the next step intertwines with romantic feelings and makes it seem like every day is going to get better and better.

Getty/MoMo Productions
Worried About The Romance In Your Marriage?

Without new things to constantly look forward to, marriage can seem a bit dull or routine in comparison. Creating new goals together can rekindle the romance in your relationship.  Each couple may be different when it comes to their specific goals. Some may make plans for having children or buying a house, but if that phase of your marriage has passed, or if that is not a path you plan on taking with your spouse, there could be many other aspirations to consider.

Saving up for a vacation, paying off debt, or having health and fitness goals together may seem tame compared to other milestones in life, but these goals can have the same effect on your romance.  Perhaps the most important (and romantic) aspect of goal setting is working with one another to get what you want. If you find you need assistance in goal setting or any other aspect of your marriage, a relationship counselor can help. 

Benefits Of Online Counseling

Admitting that you need help rekindling the romance in your marriage can be challenging. It’s not uncommon for one or both spouses to feel embarrassed about these types of marital issues, so talking to a stranger about it can be intimidating. A clinical setting like a therapist’s office might only serve to exacerbate these negative emotions. In circumstances like these, online counseling may be a better option. Since you can access sessions from home, the environment may feel more familiar and relaxed. Plus, this form of counseling is often more convenient for couples who need to schedule appointments around two different calendars.

Online counseling has been proven to be just as effective as traditional office-based therapy. A recent study highlighted the positive outcomes associated with counseling services delivered via videoconferencing technology. The study identified benefits of this type of therapy for various populations, including individuals, couples, and families.  

Takeaway

Romance in dating and in marriage may overlap in some ways. Still, a long-lasting and fulfilling marriage may not be able to survive on cliché ideas of passion alone. Flowers, jewelry, and grand gestures may have their time and place, but as the years pass, you may need to find more practical and creative ways to keep the romance alive.  If you find you need support along the path to renewed passion in your marriage, reach out to Regain.

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