Husband & Wife Articles

Keep the Love Alive

Love through the years means work day to day

By Rachel Swenson Balducci

When Paul and I were newlyweds, we did a good job of taking advantage of our free time. We didn’t have the most relaxed schedules – he was putting in long hours as a young attorney, I was working the late shift at the local newspaper. But our weekends were wide open, and we made sure to spend those days getting out and about and having fun.

The two of us would go bike riding and hiking and even take day trips here and there. We went out to eat a lot, blue-skyed about our fixer-upper house, and just enjoyed the blissful season of being young, in love and together.

Rachel Swenson Balducci

Mother and blogger Rachel Balducci writes from the hearth.

One Friday evening, as we pulled out of our neighborhood en route to a night on the town, I felt a sadness for all the people I noticed still at home.

“Who would be home on a Friday night?” I wondered with some alarm.

“Plenty of people,” answered my practical husband.

Paul and I spent our entire courtship living apart – in two separate countries! – and finally being together, in the same state, city and house, well it was magical. I wanted to take advantage of every minute.

I thought those feelings would never end.

Fast forward a year or so. One Friday evening my beloved and I headed out for dinner. It was a beautiful starry night and we dined on the patio of a favorite restaurant. There we sat, still in love and happy to be together. But it was the end of a long day, and we were tired and quiet and spent.

As we waited for our food, we sat in silence. After a few minutes I noticed with some alarm that no matter how much I tried I couldn’t think of anything to say.

I looked around at all the other diners and saw people laughing, talking and carrying on – yet Paul and I sat there saying nothing. We weren’t upset with each other; there was no argument. We were just quiet.

“Oh, no,” I thought to myself, “we’ve run out of things to talk about!”

The minute I had that thought, I said it out loud. And then Paul and I had a good laugh. The moment passed and we were fine.

But here’s the important lesson I learned that night – marriage takes work. Being in love takes effort. The happy, wonderful butterfly-in-your-stomach feelings will come and go, but that doesn’t mean a passionate burning love for each other has to go with it.

You just have to try, to recognize that it’s okay (and normal) when feelings fluctuate. What can’t change is your commitment and resolve to make this work – and to find the joy in doing so.

In our marriage, we have indeed seen ups and downs. There are seasons when circumstances dictate the time and energy we have for each other. Welcoming a new baby can take a toll. Emotions can get in the way. Jobs and children and busy schedules will certainly have an effect on a relationship.

But none of this has to be a bad thing.

Making time for each other – taking the time to be a couple – takes hard work. Spending time as man and wife (and not just as mom and dad) takes energy. In some seasons it takes creativity, redefining what “date night” looks like. It takes a lot of effort, but the effort absolutely pays off. Paul and I work hard to spend time together, but what that time looks like will vary depending on the million other details of our lives.

We are no longer the couple that pulls out of our neighborhood every Friday night. In fact, we are part of the large majority that actually enjoys being home! But we still make the effort to spend time together, to remember those early days of fun adventure and leisurely togetherness.

We are not exactly the same people we once were, but keeping the love alive means not forgetting about those people entirely.

Rachel Swenson Balducci, the author of the book How Do You Tuck In A Superhero?, blogs at Testosterhome.net.