In keeping your marriage fresh it is important to understand why you entered into it in the first place. Why did you have that all-consuming, ecstatic, heart-stirring experience when you got married? Were your emotions selfish? You must ask yourself some tough questions like: what did you want out of the relationship? What did you want to give? Marriage is both give and take.
The dynamism of a marriage relationship can be maintained, not only by ensuring that the relationship has a philosophical basis, but by a theological foundation as well. Each needs to see his or her spouse as his or her alter ego, one’s better self. God has given you a human person; not merely one who performs a function of a human being. In other words, your spouse is not a cheap housekeeper. Neither is your erotic satisfaction the ultimate.
Here are some practical suggestions within the context of keeping one’s marriage vibrant.
First, couples should do things together: plan together, go shopping together, visit places together. Seek to continue a life-long courtship, or else the marriage may grow sour and ends up in court. And yet one would be naïve enough to think that the experience of marriage is a ‘sugarplum’. There might be a bit of ‘rhubarb’ at times. However, when this is the case, rhubarb can be mixed with sugar.
Second, to keep your marriage fresh, there must be a lot of energy put into the relationship. Both partners need to contribute positively. Next, plan surprises. But remember that ‘eternal surprises’ can also become stale. Be creative.
Next, for a marriage relationship not to grow stale, couples must enjoy their relationship through a celebration. They should pulsate with erotic excitement; this eroticism must be controlled by agapic love though it is by no means the same thing.
To remain new in the matrimonial relationship, you must grow together in intimacy. And yet one needs to ask: how intimate is intimate? Now, intimacy for most people has become synonymous with sex. But for modern psychiatrists and marriage counselors the word far transcends the sexual. Intimacy is not an act; it is a state of existence in which two people gradually share more and more of their innermost thoughts and experiences. This continuing growth is the key to a loving relationship. Intimacy between married couples must involve total personality contact.
Another ingredient that helps to keep a relationship alive is openness. This is the final level of communication. Couples need to talk to one another, and anything that creates roadblocks should be removed. Not only should there be talking; there ought to be listening as well. And why should not silence be part of the communication process? However, persistent silence can become noisy.
To keep one’s marriage untarnished, vibrant, and scintillating, then, there must be both a theological and a philosophical foundation; these in turn need to have practical implications.