How “Marriage Romance” Looks Different From “Dating Romance”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
How can I be romantic in my marriage?
Despite what most sitcoms and romantic comedies suggest, being romantic is far less about grand gestures and enormous shows of affection or adoration and far more about day-to-day, small gestures that you can incorporate into your relationship with relative ease. While grand gestures may seem romantic—and are often portrayed as such—creating a spectacle can be more about the spectacle itself than celebrating your relationship or can even be a way to soothe or bolster your own ego. Instead of opting for periodic grand gestures, consider implementing the following:
- Schedule regular times for connection. Although a quick “How was your day?” at the end of a workday is great, it does not create a true sense of closeness, intimacy, or romance. From date nights to family meetings, scheduling time together is a must to encourage romance in your relationship. Scheduling time together is essential for all relationships, whether that relationship is celebrating its first month or a decade of marriage.
- Learn together. Learning is a wonderful tool in creating romance and fostering intimacy, as learning a new skill together requires both halves of a couple to be unstable in their skills. Showing vulnerability in front of one another by trying something new can be a great way to invite romance into your marriage without breaking the bank.
- Check-in with yourself. Being self-aware and conscious of who and where you are is incredibly important in nurturing romance in your relationship. If you are not sure why you crave romance with your partner, why you are in your relationship, or what your expectations are for yourself and your partner, you cannot fully immerse yourself in the commitment of marriage, nor can you adequately communicate with your partner. Take time to learn about and take care of yourself to encourage romance in your relationships continually.
- Put your phone away. In the hustle and bustle of life, many people turn to their phones to escape or get away from the weight of their responsibilities. While an occasional Instagram or Facebook binge might not be the most problematic thing in the world, spending every night zoned out on your phone or in front of the TV is a surefire and easy way to suck the romance out of your relationship after years of marriage.
- Keep physical affection alive. Physical affection is often one of the first things to go by the wayside in a marriage. Keep the romance alive in your marriage by keeping physical touch alive, as well. Sitting close to your spouse at meals can keep physical touch alive, as can taking a second to brush your hand against your partner’s back, arm, or shoulders as you pass by. Touch does not need to be large or extreme to help your partner feel seen and acknowledged.
Although many tv shows, articles, and even friends’ stories can make romance feel overwhelming, true romance varies from person to person. It typically just involves making your partner a priority in your daily life and conversations.
What can you do when there is no romance in your marriage?
Romance can feel impossible in a relationship, especially if that relationship is plagued by fighting, stress, or uncertainty. You may find yourself lacking romance after being in a relationship for a long time after you have children or after you’ve been married. Many couples (mistakenly) assume that romance is rooted in spontaneity, grandeur, and sweeping declarations, but this is not necessarily the case, even if you are in a marriage that has long since passed the height of its romantic sensibilities. To keep the romance alive, consider the following:
- Get to know your partner again. Marriage is a wonderful thing, but it also has a nasty habit of allowing partners to take one another for granted. Couples can grow accustomed to certain expectations or practices their partner employs and come to see once-romantic gestures or overtures as monotonous or boring and routine. To change up that routine, check-in with your partner. What differences do you see in them? Whether it is something like a new haircut or a shift in political ideals, people are constantly changing, and you can always get to know new things about your partner.
- Talk about your romantic preferences. Romance is very different for everyone. Listen to your partner’s romantic preferences and communicate your own to increase your marriage romance effectively.
- Plan for some surprises. Although romance need not be a constant whirlwind of surprises and gifts, taking some time for occasional gifts and acts of service can help bring some romance back to your union. You can bring home your partner’s favorite dinner one night, tailor a new article of clothing that does not fit quite right, or even pop by their work at lunchtime for a quick “hello” and a “thinking of you.” Small gestures like these help reawaken romance and demonstrate appreciation for your partner.
- Learn to play again. Marriages do not usually fall apart intentionally; instead, they gradually become less intimate and begin to lose their spark. Learning to play with your partner can help bring romance back into the equation. Playing can mean taking a few minutes to tease each other and laugh together every morning or can mean literally going to a park and running around together, eating together, or even playing with your children or animals together. Togetherness is the key here, as is a light-hearted interest in your partner.
Although it is harmful to marriages when they lose their romance, all is not lost if your marriage has lost its romance. With small, consistent steps, your marriage can grow its romance once more.
Is romance important in marriage?
Romance is an important part of marriage, though it does not require the over-the-top gestures so often attributed to romantic gestures. Romance is simply the efforts spouses take to make sure they make their partner a priority. Romance can be simple in marriage and can involve sending one another a loving text in the middle of the day or being more targeted and involved, such as planning a couple’s getaway once a month.
Romance is important in a marriage because it lets your partner know that you care. Romantic behavior and communication are essential to keep a marriage strong and healthy, as romance in a marriage means making your partner and your relationship a high priority.
Do you need love in a marriage?
Yes and no. For a marriage to be lasting and satisfying, there does need to be some type or amount of love, though that love may look different for every couple. Arranged marriages, marriages of convenience, and marriages that start as a result of an unexpected pregnancy or other inciting incident can certainly evolve into a happy, mutually satisfying relationship, provided that the two of you are committed to your marriage and one another. Although many a movie trope and dramatic novel would have you believe that intense, sweeping love is essential for a marriage to be happy or successful, this is certainly not the case. Many people who do not have a dramatic or intense love story—or even an auspicious beginning—go on to have joyful marriages, with plenty of love (even if that love is far more platonic or friendly than passionate).
Although you do not have to have dramatic, sweeping, or overwhelming love to have a happy marriage, you do not have to love your partner in some way. Even if your passionate love has devolved into a more friendly or distant love, you can still be in a perfectly happy marriage. Happiness is not necessarily tied to marriage—though research studies typically identify mental and physical health as higher in married couples, friendship has consistently been linked to happy marriages far more than romantic fervor. The answer, then, is this: you do need love in a marriage, but that love does not necessarily have to be erotic or romantic love, provided that it is at least based on love derived from closeness and friendship.
Is romance a need?
The answer to this can be somewhat complicated and typically warrants a (perhaps frustrating) “yes and no.” For some, romance is an indispensable part of loving relationships and is an extremely important part of life. For others, romance may not be quite as important in their relationships, and romance as a whole is not necessarily a vital need. Determining whether or not romance is a need involves determining whether or not romantic love is a need.
Romance is often considered a need for romantic relationships; an erotic relationship (or a romantic relationship) may be closer and more intimate with a healthy dose of romance. If you consider romantic love a need in your life, then romance is likely also to be considered a need. And that’s okay! Romance being a need may only become problematic if the need for romance supersedes your ability to carry on a relationship without dramatic or over-the-top behaviors. After all, romance is not only a dramatic gesture, like running to the airport to stop a long-lost love from leaving; instead, it is making time and space for your partner to attend to their wants and needs. Romance is two-sided, encompassing the behaviors and speech your partner offers you and the behaviors and speech you offer your partner.
Sometimes during a marriage, you may be curious about your spouse’s romantic curve. Sometimes your partner may be really romantic and you feel loved constantly. For example, your partner might, after a rough day, at one point your husband might give you flowers or call up a your closest friend and set up an amazing dinner with soft music. Other times, your partner’s romantic curve may dwindle and you may notice all of their annoying habits, they may ignore your emotions, or lead you to believe that the foundation or importance of your relationship is in question. A key part in healthy relationships is open and honest communication. If you would like your partner, wife, or husband to be more romantic or to have more romance in your life, be honest with your partner about it. Maybe you can start today by holding hands with them or perhaps if you don’t feel comfortable verbally communicating, you can write down your desire and give it to your partner. A clinical psychologist or a licensed professional like a couples counselor can give you a few tips and help with this.
What are the 4 types of romantic relationships?
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