When you are about to get married, it feels like all the world is filled with love and nothing can ever happen to shake the strength of your romantic union -- or your faith in the relationship.
During wedding planning, even when there is stress, love feels exciting and new, and it makes couples feel invincible. On the wedding day and honeymoon, you feel enveloped in a bubble of love and enchanted by happiness and sex hormones.
And then... life happens.
You may argue, disagree, be exhausted from work or childcare, or experience difficulties and losses that get in the way of your loving feelings and intimate connection.
It's completely normal to begin to lose the"'wedding glow" as you set out to build a life together.
In fact, there are those moments in every relationship when two people are so far removed from their wedding day that they kind of forget what brought them together in the first place. Whether you are an old pro at living together and married life, or just got hitched again for the second time around, over time, your marriage needs a tune up here and there.
Your marriage will hopefully be a long and fruitful journey, but it will need some help along the way.
You can keep your marriage vows alive and keep your relationship fresh by finding ways to renew your commitment to each other every day and to continually acknowledge the sacred promises you made.
It is a good idea to check in every once and a while and make sure you are both still aligned with your wedding vows. In addition, your vows themselves may need some enhancement. As time goes on, you will both change and grow and your married life will evolve.
Here are some loving strategies for calling forth those happy feelings again and remembering and honoring the love between you.
1. Sweetly Keeping Your Promises Alive. We are all pretty high on love and life after the wedding -- that's why they call it the honeymoon period! Anniversaries can also stimulate a lot of those love hormones -- even if you don't think you have any hormones left! They are a good time to reignite the kind of love. Remembering the promises made at the altar can help you both maintain the happy feelings of your very special day. I learned this from one of my deans in seminary school, Rev. Diane Berke, who married for the second time and repeated her wedding vows with her new husband on her honeymoon. They enjoyed it so much they kept going for two years! Why not try it for two weeks or a month? Find your wedding vows or write new ones. Starting on your anniversary or some special occasion, each night before you go to bed, take some time to look deeply into each others eyes and repeat them to one another.
2. Surround yourself with reminders of your wedding day. Have you packed up the wedding photos? Bring them out again. And get some beautiful paper, print your vows out and frame them. Keep them in your boudoir, next to your favorite wedding photo, and any other mementos from your wedding that fill your senses with happy memories.
3. Expand your vows. The vows you speak at your wedding may be on the short side, or tend to be romantic. There may have been some things you felt were too personal, or too practical to add in. And once you have a little experience with marriage under your belt (or a lot!), you may find there are additional sentiments you would like to add to your vows. These are very personal statements the two of you can come up with together. You can add them to your existing vows and repeat them to each other, and frame them, or just keep them in a sacred place -- such as a holy book or even in a frame behind your wedding photo, symbolically making them the foundation beneath your marriage. Over time, you can add in anything that you desire as you learn more about what you both hold dear in married life.
4. Regularly recommit to your marriage. Remember, you can celebrate and recommit to your marriage at any time. Your legal marriage is a one time deal, yet there is no law that says you cannot renew your commitment at any stage. Consider a re-commitment ceremony every few years. Every time you experience a ritual that declares your love, it's like giving your love, your life and your marriage a new infusion of energy or, even, a fresh start.
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