21 Women Share the Ways They Keep the 'Spark' Alive

Joanna Fantozzi | Aug 15, 2018 Love & Sex
21 Women Share the Ways They Keep the 'Spark' Alive

Couple sparklers
GiorgioMagini/ iStock.com

For newlyweds or couples that first get together, it’s easy to find the time and energy to flirt, cherish each other, and be romantic. From spontaneous dates to experiencing milestones such as early dates or the first time you say “I love you," the first few years of a relationship are usually the easiest (let's face it!).

But after that initial “stars in your eyes” honeymoon phase wears off, it can be all too easy to fall into a comfortable routine ... which if not careful could lead to unhappy partners and at worst divorce. Some of this transition is normal, but sometimes the relationship can get stale or humdrum, especially when kids, tough financial decisions, and difficult in-laws are involved. But it's important to avoid turning into roommates instead of partners, even after so many years together.

We spoke with 21 everyday women who have been in long-term relationships or married for many years about how they keep the “spark” alive. From surprising their partner with romantic gestures and date ideas to remembering to laugh and reminisce together, all 21 women came up with different ways that they keep their relationship fresh so that it always feels like the day that they first said, “I do.” None of these relationship tips and ideas have anything to do with sex, proving that you don’t (necessarily) need to go for a romp in the sheets to keep things exciting.

“We go through phases of being crazy in love -- the I-can't-take-my-hands-off-you weeks to the please-don't-touch-me days,” Jade, who has been with her husband for 17 years, tells CafeMom. “The relationship ebbs and flows, and I think our key has really been learning to read the other person and knowing when they need a little more.”

Keep scrolling to learn more wise words from couples who are still going strong, from women who have been with their significant others for almost a decade to couples who are closing in on their 50th anniversary.

  • Hold Hands 

    1

    "One of the most annoying things that happens to my husband, Steve, and me is that someone will say, 'Oh, it’s clear you two are newlyweds! You still hold hands and show affection!'" says Alyssa Robishaw, who has been with her husband for nine years. "I find it legitimately insulting. At what point is our affection not just the product of some magic alchemy? At what point is it a choice? That is our secret to keeping the spark alive. We choose to see each other anew all the time!"

  • Unleash Your Inner Nerd Together

    2

    "One of the things we do is going to a nerd-style convention every year. It's our guaranteed 'us time' to enjoy our interests," says Amy W., who has been with her husband for 12 years. "Valuing our time together makes any experience that much more enjoyable and gives us something to talk about on the way home."

  • Make Your Own Spark

    3

    "I personally feel you have to sometimes create those sparks purposefully," says Stefanie, who has been with her wife for 10 years. "For me, that means being able to dance to our guilty pleasure song in the car, being able to make each other laugh, giving each other back rubs or back tickles with no sexual implication."

  • Cherish Time Apart As Well As Together

    4

    "I have realized over the past several years that it’s very important for both of us to have our ‘free’ time," says Donna Verrico, who has been married for 27 years. "He’s in a band and loves to play his guitar, and I have my girls' weekend twice a year. Giving each other space makes the times we are together even more special and romantic."

  • Watch Your Spouse Become a Great Parent

    5

    “Seeing my husband take care of my children every day solidifies my feelings for him," says Jessica A., who has been married for nine years. "During special moments like watching him blow dry my daughter’s hair, it makes me fall even harder."

  • Have Child-Free Time

    6

    “We will kick the kids to my parents and enjoy our home without them," says Kelly Cousin, who has been married to her husband for six years. "Sometimes he plans the activities, sometimes I do, but we find a way to have fun like we did when we were dating and not just parents."

  • Keep Them on Their Toes

    7

    “Keep things exciting!" advises Carol Gee, who has been married for 45 years. "My husband says we [keep our spark going] because he never knows what I’m going to do one minute from the next. This includes planning exotic trips where all he has to do is pack his suitcase."

  • See the Humor in Everything

    8

    "We have complimentary senses of humor," says Pat, who has been married to her husband for 33 years. "Even some of the more difficult parts of our relationship we handled together with humor and we lifted each other up with that humor."

  • Take Care of Each Other

    9

    "At our age, what’s important to us is just how we take care of each other on a daily basis. Since  I still work, [my husband] has taken over the cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc.," says Jay Korb, who has been married to her husband for 46 years. "He makes my breakfast every day and prepares my lunch to take to work while I work full time to help with the finances."

  • Put Extra Effort Into Little Gestures 

    10

    "My hubby loves IPA beers and I love cookies, treats, and notes, so when we are out, separately or together, I'll grab him random new flavored beers," says a military wife from Washington who has been with her husband for nine years. "He loves coming home and having a surprise in the fridge after a tough day at work. I'll also surprise him with random snacks for work or things I know he’s running low on. Small gestures mean a ton."

  • Be Silly Together

    11

    "We do silly things together -- things that make us laugh a lot," notes Hazel, who has been married to her husband for 38 years. "We'll buy an inexpensive little toy and play with it, make jokes about it. Like we will buy bird finger puppets and be completely goofy by making bird sounds or talking in silly voices."

  • Remember Why You Got Married

    12

    “It's nice to reminisce about the courtship you had when you were younger and what you did together before getting married and having kids," advises Joanne Gomez, who has been with her husband for 38 years. "Talk about the places you went and the restaurants you ate at when you fell in love."

  • Think Outside the Box for Date Night

    13

    "I found this company that sends you a 'date in a box' to do in the comfort of your home," says Kimberly Morasse, who has been with her husband for 11 years. "There have been some arts and crafts activities, drink mixes, card games and more -- each box containing activities to last at least a couple of hours. Each month we have a night in that we can look forward to -- one that isn't just watching TV!"

  • Lead Lives Outside Your Relationship 

    14

    “If it weren't for us leading somewhat independent lives, we'd have a stale connection," notes Bryce Gruber, who has been with her husband for eight years. "I credit us each having interesting careers and our own happy social circles as our way of keeping things fresh because we always having something to talk about or somewhere to go.”

  • Flirt From Afar

    15

    "Send each other texts daily, anything from just the random 'I love you' to fun dressing room pictures," advises Jade, who has been with her husband for 17 years. "We both travel a lot, so him surprising me with little notes or getting sent a bottle of wine to the hotel were perks that made me think of him and allowed me to relax too.”

  • Be Present With Your Partner

    16

    "Do something together like a walk on the beach, a stroll around the park, or just drink a glass of wine on your deck," says Alice Edgerton, who has been married for 17 years. "Whatever you do, be totally intentional and present with your partner."

  • Give In to Each Other

    17

    "If something matters to both of us enough to have conflict over it, we try to figure out who it matters to more and then give in all the way," notes Melanie Kingdon, who has been with her husband for eight years. "When we give in, it's satisfying because we are doing something for each other, and when we get our way on something that matters we have a chance to feel really fulfilled and safe in our relationship."

  • Appreciate Everyday Moments

    18

    “Whether it’s going for a nice scenic drive, taking walks or just hanging out playing video games, as long as we are by each other’s side we feel connected," says Kimberly Luby, who has been with her husband for 12 years. "It doesn’t need to be about intimacy to keep the thrill or spark of the relationship alive. For as long as we’ve been together, that’s all we have ever needed."

  • Make Candlelit Dinners

    19

    "We cook and eat together after putting the baby to bed," says Susan Pederson, who has been with her husband for 10 years. "Dinner is usually something simple accompanied by music, candlelight, and easy conversation."

  • Work on the Relationship Every Day 

    20

    “We're both children of divorce, so we know how important it is not to just stay together but really provide a happy home and stay in love," notes Renee Vitullo, who has been married for 13 years. "We work at it daily by making a point to talk on the phone every day during lunch and schedule monthly date nights.”

  • Take Walks Together

    21

    "One activity that we have always done together is morning walks alone together," says Jeaneane Maffei, who has been with her husband for 46 years. "We discuss whatever issues that we have faced or express how lucky we are to have each  other. Many times these walks have turned into heated discussions but always end in reminding each other that we are best friends."

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