Family First

How To Spark Electricity In Your Marriage

by Dr. Peter Ting | 25 September 2020

Abby and I have been married for over 27 years. How do we keep the “electricity” of romance alive, especially after so many years of marriage?

Many marriages start off with a highly electrifying passion, with the newlyweds having intense feelings towards each other. But often, after the honeymoon period, several factors such as  the arrival of children, the mounting challenges of parenting, relating with in-laws and relatives, and the increasing financial responsibilities, among others, contribute to the need to make challenging adjustments in one’s married life. Failing to adjust well would mean putting the sparks of romance to “cold storage.”

I believe that romantic marriage does not just consist of romantic get-aways, candlelight dinners or expensive gifts that we lavish upon our spouses. As I grow in my marriage and learn to love Abby even more deeply, I have found that the “simple” everyday interchanges are much more meaningful and intimate to me.

Yes, there can be special days like celebrating birthdays, wedding anniversaries and Valentine’s, but it is in the “everyday” where we can truly connect with each other, and that determines the continuing flow of “electricity” in our marriage. It is the home and everyday stuff that keep our marriage intact. I have come to love these things about my wife:

  1. The way she collects mementos and then worries about me throwing them away without her noticing. Believe it or not, in our earlier years of marriage, after disposing many bags of “rubbish” outside our home, Abby would open them one by one, just to make sure that I didn’t throw away anything that she considers precious. You see, in our family, she’s the one who collects and I’m the one who throws things away. After almost 3 decades of adjustments, she now collects less while I start to collect a little (and throw less, too!).
  2. She takes ages to get ready. The same is true about packing for our overseas trip or preparing for her speaking engagements. It would take her the whole night (up to early morning) to prepare everything.
  3. The way she drives her car into the driveway or car park (always reverse in) and how she expects me to know whether our auto gate is closed when we are out of sight from our home. After many years, I’ve trained myself to always check and make sure that all doors and gates are closed, and to tell her in advance as she drives out of our home.
  4. After each meal, she would vigorously floss her teeth and then ask me, “Is there anything stuck between my teeth?” Almost every day, I would have the joy of picking up her used dental floss from our bathroom.
  5. The way she would correct my pronunciation in English ceaselessly for more than 30 years. Thanks to her, that was how I improved my English. From being irritated by her corrections, I’ve become appreciative of her honest feedback. To this day, Abby still can’t stand some of my pronunciations – courtesy of the die-hard Foochow roots of my mother tongue (I still have a long way to go!).

Abby and I learned that just by being together in the “everydayness” of our lives, we can be highly connected and maintain a constant flow of electricity in our marriage. We experience this when we are seated together and resting in each other’s arms; share the lessons we learn from a book or a meaningful quote from social media; and exchange thoughts on a movie after watching it, and discussing how we can apply the lessons that we learned from it in our life and work.

When our kids were young, we enjoyed fetching them together to and from their schools, and played an active role in disciplining and nurturing our three boys. Abby even did most of her post-graduate assignments in our car while waiting for our kids. Today, our actual time involvement with our children has decreased. Aside from being their parents, we now act more as friends and advisors to our children. We maintain the culture of weekly family meal and annual family holiday.

Now that all our boys have finished their studies and are working, we are acutely aware that soon, we will be having an empty nest. Starting two years ago, Abby has been travelling with me in almost all my overseas assignments. Although she has been a full-time homemaker for more than 25 years, I have involved her in my work and connected her with all my associates and friends.

We practice complete openness and transparency with each other. We don’t have personal secret bank accounts. Our passwords to our mobile and social media, including e-mails have been shared to each other.

At the end of each day, we retire to bed together, and pray with and for each other. We ask for forgiveness and bestow forgiveness, in the event that we offend or hurt one another. We almost never fail to hold hands until we fall sleep.

Keeping the electric sparks of romance alive requires studying, learning, and coming to “know” who you are married to, and adoring them in spite of it!

Strengthening the love between two people can never “depend” on money or expensive gifts. It requires daily nurturing and making necessary adjustments as you go through the different seasons of your life. This does not mean that we never felt the need to give a gift or go out on a romantic date again. These things are important. What it does mean is that we must not take for granted what each day holds for our marriage. Each day of loving your spouse is the key to a lifelong, satisfying, and happy marriage.

In closing, I recommend that you save and allocate your finance to do something special for your spouse from time to time. Set aside time to join an annual marriage tune-up camp. Be creative and innovative to keep the electric current flowing in your marriage.

There is no perfect couple
but we can all become a better couple,
when our romance is kept alive.

Tags: marriage, activities at home