10 Ways to Keep the Home Fires Burning

Five years we’ve been married, and what a magical, problem-free union it’s been for us.

Well, magical, sometimes, but problem-free? Hardly.

We’ve had our share of hardships, and no doubt we will face more in the years to come. But I can safely say I’ve learned a few fail-proof tools in that time, and maybe you can relate.

Without further ado, here is my list of ten ways to keep the home fires burning:

South Dakota wine rack

1. Always make a big deal about homecoming

When your loved one walks through the door after a long day, be happy. Smile. Greet him or her with a big hug. Don’t miss that moment. Nothing better than seeing someone’s face light up at your presence.

2. Remember your manners

It’s easy to take kind gestures for granted, but  a simple “please” and “thank you” goes a long way.

3. Learn to love what they love

When Country Man’s dog was young, he nipped at my sweet widdle yorkie and I didn’t know if we could be friends. Well, I gave him a second chance and fell hopelessly in love with him. While that was an easy one for me, some things completely foreign I’ve learned to appreciate, and the same goes for him.

South Dakota gal

yeah hunting!

4. It’s the little displays of affection

Mouthing “I love you” in a crowded room, holding hands, or a quick touch of the side as you pass by… the brief encounters that let your loved one know you’re thinking of them. Human touch is powerful.

5. Celebrate!

Birthdays, anniversaries big or small, job promotions… put the music on and open that special bottle of wine! Life is short, so take advantage of any reason to celebrate.

South Dakota cattle

Best … Birthday … EVER!

6. See your loved one through another’s eyes

There have been times in our marriage where stress is high and dreams seem so far out of reach that we forget to see each other for who we are. It helps to step back and see him/her with a fresh perspective. I look at Country Man the way someone who doesn’t know his faults might see him, and it reminds me to focus on the good.

7. Never ever criticize or talk bad about him/her in public

You chose this person, so in a sense, you’re cutting yourself down as well. Just don’t do it, because more than likely, you’ll regret it. An older friend of mine gave me this advice early on, and I took it to heart.

8. Create your own traditions

Start something that is just between you two. Maybe a once-a-year B & B weekend stay? Brandy on Christmas Day? (I’ve never had brandy before, so maybe that’s a bad suggestion).

South Dakota Christmas tree

9. Dream together

There is something innocent about dreaming together. Even if  your dreams never materialize, the conversation opens up a window into your each person’s heart.

10. Stay young at heart

Every heartbreak in life is an opportunity to harden ourselves.

Watching our beloved dog die made my heart ache so much it felt irreparable. I ache yet for the empty kennel, and I ache for the piece from our idealistic world that death stole. I have to deliberately open my heart back up to love, to stay young at heart despite what comes our way.

Well, that’s my list of ten ways to keep the love alive.

I hope your home fire is burning in a good way.

South Dakota husband and wife on fire... not really

I meant literal fire… didn’t you?

~~~

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45 thoughts on “10 Ways to Keep the Home Fires Burning

  1. Such a good list! I especially love the traditions my husband and I have developed over the years and now hearing our kids say “we’ve always done” this or that. I also agree that it’s critical to never speak badly to others about your spouse! The only thing I would add that has been a huge part of our marriage is having a sense of humor about life (not teasing or making fun of one another –ever!– but laughing together). GREAT list, happy anniversary!

  2. A great list – thoughtful and meaningful – we have lived by many of those suggested in our 30+ marriage. I would also include – learn how to disagree – always tricky. Congrats and wishing you both many more happy years together. K

  3. You are so sweet and so wise in many ways — I really love this post and despite the fact that you’re half my age, you have twice the good sense I have had in my marriage I think. I especially like your advice about making a big deal out of the homecoming (that means a WHOLE lot to my husband) … and of not saying anything bad about your husband to anyone else. Really SMART! Happy anniversary !!!

  4. Oh, I loved every bit of this post. The photos were perfect. I agree about the little displays of affection. I’ve been married almost 13 years and make sure every day we hold hands or hug or kiss each other on the cheek. Life is pretty hectic, so taking the time to do the little things really calms the soul. I am so sorry about your beloved dog. My husband and I have been through so many ups and downs, grieving deaths and illnesses. But we know we can lean on each other to get through, and that is priceless.

  5. This is such a wonderful post!!! And as I read it, I realize that all of your points are exactly what we are doing in our relationship…and it’s so encouraging. Thank you so much!

  6. Wonderful, heartfelt advice from someone who’s actually “walking the walk.” My hubbs and I have similar “rules” and one of ours is “keep dating.” Date nights are the buoy we swim to against the undercurrent of daily living :) Boom-chicka-mow-mow!

    MJ

  7. I love this post. There needs to be more women willing to fight for a good marriage and work at keeping it that way! My hubby and I have been married for 4 years, but in December we’ll celebrate 12 years together, and this is what I’ve learned. It is so very important never to take your spouse for granted. See them as you did when you first met. Love them intensely and passionately every day because that’s all you have. And never let them forget how sexy you think they are and how much you want them ;) Respect them as the leader of the house. And last, but not least, don’t let the stresses of life, money, or raising a family put out your flame. Make a point EVERY day of carving out intimate time for you and him, even if it’s just cuddling on the sofa or in bed talking. I cannot tell you how crucial this last one is. And it works wonders :)

  8. Those are amazing suggestions and so very very true. I think you have to be authentic too. You can do the actions and the motions but if you’re not truly happy when they come home, or grateful for that simple little thing than it’s just empty.

  9. :) well,wishing you many many more happy years together!
    we have five years this November too, and the road has been of course some times not soo easy..but your “10 ways” list is really nice and helpful always.. no matter the couple or the “era” :)

  10. From the… good heavens, is it the fifteenth anniversary coming up already?, I can offer only one amendment and an amplification; on #3, while it is good to try the other’s interests, accept that some things you will never see the point in, and allow them the same freedom. My wife is would rather not watch a Godzilla movie, I find some of her musical interests tedious, and we’re both cool with that and let the other enjoy their own thing in merry solitude. The amplification is on #7– many TV couples, and some one encounters in real life, seem to think that there’s some sort of struggle for supremacy in the marriage, which cannot be good for the relationship. The defeats of one lessen the other, and the triumphs of one elevate both. #3 will help a lot in the area of claims upon TV remote, of course, and that sort of thing should be as much of a contest as a couple ever engages in.

    You do look to be on the course to making it to Little Old Country Man’s Little Old Wife; congratulations, and long may you wave!

  11. Really like this post. My husband and I just hit our five year wedding anniversary. For the last two years we’ve lived abroad – a long way away from our families and friends – and that puts a lot of pressure on a relationship. In the end, if you can hang on through the really tough times, you end up reinforcing the foundations of the relationship and getting even stronger. Thanks for this lovely post.

  12. Hi, I dated a girl once from Illinois and her mom raised six children including a pair of twins. Her dad got home everyday at about the same hour, bout 4:30 pm. So everyday, her mum would freshen up by washing her face, brushing her hair, and putting on a fresh top. Everyday. She told her daughter, it was just a nice thing to do for her husband as he entered their home each evening. But I loved your list. And I love your attitude. I think it’s honest. When you do things and take actions to be loving and kind (instead of talking about it) then those acts are real and of substance and they affect the persons to whom they are directed…husbands and companions, friends, family members. Robert

  13. Pingback: The 5 Signs of Cabin Fever | The Simple Life of a Country Man's Wife

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