Remember back in college, when you first began dating, or that moment when you first became a couple? You spent every waking moment together. You talked well into the wee hours of the morning, listened to every word one another said, and dreamed of your life together once you could break free of young adulthood and actually be on your own. And be honest — you couldn’t be a part from one another for more than a few hours or you might go crazy. Yeah, I remember those days.
My wife and I (before she was my wife) skipped so many classes to be together we received drop-notice warnings in our college mailboxes. We would ditch and head down into the great big city of Cincinnati to spend time together. We had a favorite park where we would walk, talk, listen, laugh, and soak up every moment together. It was in that park that we first held hands (oh my heart on that day), and I kissed her for the first time (I had fallen into a bottomless pit of love). The passion, the energy, the focus we had for one another was palpable.
Even into the first few years of marriage, when we packed up and moved to a brand new city to begin work, we carried a passion for one another. All of our times spent together felt like the first time we had ever spent time together. All of our date nights felt like our first date. Our conversations were fluid, our communication was open, and our intimacy was deep.
But then, life happened. Yes, life. It has a way of closing in on you like rising water. Jobs, kids, commitments, and more. Before you know it, you’re pulled in 25 different directions. You still occupy the same house, maybe share the same back account, and sleep in the same bed, but when you least expect it, you realize you’ve more or less become ships passing in the night. It happens to just about every married couple on planet earth. If you felt this way, you’re not alone.
Have you ever wondered how to get back to your first days together when your entire world centered around one another?
I’ll give you a hint — you can’t!
You read that right — you can’t! As much as you wish, hope, or pray to return, as a couple, to the glory days when you had not a care in the world, could spend hours upon hours talking, dreaming, and living life footloose and fancy-free, you can’t return to that place or time. The laws of life will not allow it. That period is forever frozen in time, only to be conjured up in memories and occasional “remember-whens.”
And that’s okay. It’s supposed to be this way. The laws of life are in place for a reason. You’ve grown up over all these years. You’re not the same person as you were back then, and neither is your spouse. You’ve grown together as a couple and so has your love for one another.
You don’t want to return to those days of old when you were young, starry-eyed, and immature. I know that intimacy back then was at an all-time high and nothing distracted you. And I know it feels as though it’s gone now. And, I know you want it back. But, the intimacy of your first few years together can never be replicated. So, then how do you rekindle what has gone a bit dormant?
Answer: you reinvent yourself as a couple.
You rebuild intimacy based on your life now.
You adapt as a couple to the changing scenery of your life.
I’ve been married for almost 18 years. The love my wife and I have for one another today is far greater than the love we had for one another when we first got together and romped through a Cincinnati park. The reason is that love, in its true form, ages and becomes better over time (like a good bottle of wine). In its beginning stages it hasn’t even begun to reach its true depth or full potential. That’s why love at first sight is false. By the very nature of love, there’s no way “love at first sight” can’t be false. Infatuation at first sight — now that’s a reality. We were all gaga over our mate when we first saw them (mostly). As the years pass, your love must grow, your intimacy must evolve. Here are some ways this can happen.
Continue to date.
There is no law on earth that says this has to end once you get married, although we allow it to. Some of our best dates in our entire life together have happened in the past few years, and that includes weekends away without our kids. My best advice to keep intimacy alive is to set aside a date night once a week or at least a couple of times a month.
Carve out sacred time.
Every night, around 9 PM, we enter into our time — not our kids’ time, not our pets’ time — our time! We send our darlings off to bed and we spend time together … just us. Some weeks, our sacred time is shorter — other times, it’s longer. The point is, we intentionally carve it out — regardless of the length of time.
Invest in your family together.
Our intimacy as a couple has grown deeply because we both love to pour into our family together. We love to co-parent our children. We love to both be involved in the things they are doing. I love my wife so much for the mom she is. Last week, we both attended our son’s history presentation. He was over the moon that both of his parents were there. The week before that, we both went up and ate lunch with our other two sons. It was a good day together. And that’s a huge part of intimacy.
Celebrate who you’ve become today.
Be proud of the years you’ve been together. And be proud of who you’ve each become individually. My wife is a leader, caregiver, and an influencer. I love to see her shine in these areas. I celebrate it. I’m a writer, thinker, and artist, and she celebrates that. We love to celebrate our differences as well as our similarities. We celebrate them publicly, over social media, and sometimes privately with a quiet word of encouragement.
You can’t return to the glory days, but you can make these days you are living in together glorious. You do so when you intentionally choose one another. Sure, life will get in the way, and your schedules will sometimes force you to be ships passing in the night. It happens. Don’t beat yourself up when it does (notice I said “when”). When this happens, don’t give up. Reinvent your intimacy. Reinvent your life together.