The other day I was talking about marriage with my close friend over a cup of tea. She told me that she and her friends didn't need any flirting or dating advice because they were already married. If I was a stick figure cartoon character, you would have seen 50 question and exclamation points instantly pop up, dancing over my head.
Being married isn't the "get into jail free; don't make passes; don't collect 200 kisses" card. Marriage is the most important time to flirt, date, and invest time getting fresh ideas so your relationship doesn't go stale. After all, if you can't flirt or date with your spouse, the most important person in your life, who will you ever do it with?
Newlyweds flirt and date with each other. (How fun!) But somewhere along the way, many people forget to keep this part of their relationship healthy.
Yes, most people are deeply in love with their spouses, but with an ever-growing list of demands on their time, they forget to initiate (or avoid responding to) romance. Both men and women often spend all day working; tending to their children's needs (if they have children); and fulfilling their daily responsibilities. By the end of the day, their energy is sapped. They often defer their most important responsibility -- their marriage.
A marriage isn't an after-thought. It should be the first thought. Just because a couple has been together many years and share most every intimate detail of their lives and being, it doesn't excuse them from exploring each other and continuing to fall in love with each other even more.
Being over-tired and lacking energy isn't an excuse either. Tired or not, office meetings, coffee with friends, and daily routines still happen. Tired or not, taking care of the one you love still has to happen.
Married couples need to make a concerted effort to spend time together (alone ... no kids, no group dates, e.t.c.) to keep the romance alive. It has to be scheduled, just as they would a doctor's appointment, a trip to the gym, or a business meeting. (This meeting, however, would end up being a lot more fun.) If it isn't scheduled, it won't happen.
Wives and husbands need time to see each other as individuals. No one can do this unless they are able to be alone together at some point (snoring together doesn't count).
I, for one, refuse to allow my husband and I to become glorified roommates. After years of marriage and continuing to raise three busy boys together, I love being so comfortable with him that I know he is my best friend. But I forever want him to be my best friend with benefits.
P.S. This article may be of further interest: "Keep the Excitement in Your Relationship"