Life can get so hectic between family obligations and work. It seems all of the modern technology to make life “simpler” has not afforded couples more time to spend together. The divorce rate in America is at 50 percent and most marriages are now lasting only in the neighborhood of eight to ten years. The blame for broken relationships could be partly due to couples forgetting the importance of romance once the “I do’s” are said.
When most people think about romance their minds often go to the month of February due to Valentines Day. Some think about the day of their marriage, which is commonly in June. Few people know that ten years ago Eileen Buchheim designated August as National Romance month. Truthfully, every month should find couples checking their relationship’s pulse.
Huge gestures of romance are always welcome in a relationship, but honestly it is the daily little gestures that keep a marriage strong. Using sweet names for each other like “hon” or “sugar” may seem ridiculous to some, but it is a worldwide practice. The French say “Mon Petit Chou” (my little cream puff), the Russians say “Vishenka” (cherry), the Dutch say “Dropje” (candy). While there seems to be no scientific proof that using pet names makes a relationship last, it always feels nice to have someone refer to you in a fond manner.
When some people think of romance, they may think of expensive, elaborate actions, but daily contact through little notes, even unexpected texts, just to say “I love you,” or checking-in on each other keeps the spark alive.
Couples should plan date nights no matter how long they’ve been married. A date night doesn’t have to break the bank. Disguise your own home as a romantic get-away with candlelight and soft music. Nothing wrong with a take-out dinner and nothing silly about embracing each other in a slow dance to “your” song.
When the weather is cooler (with less bugs) lay a blanket in the backyard and stare up at the stars and talk about your feelings with each other or plan a future trip. What is important is to find compatible activities to share such as camping trips, fishing, golfing, playing cards, bike riding, hiking, or long walks. The most important thing is communication.
This column is basically devoted to home improvement, if this isn’t home improvement than I don’t know what is. I have no formal training in marriage therapy, but this month marks our 38th wedding anniversary, so I have plenty of “on the job” experience. “Happy Anniversary Honey.”
— Marla Ballard’s Master of Disguise
appears in the Times-Journal weekday editions.