After the Honeymoon: When Routine Trumps Romance

We all long for a lifetime of honeymoons–starry-eyed romance, long days on the beach, sleeping in, pampering, relaxation. The reality is, once newlyweds return from their romance-filled paradise, they step back into their daily routines, this time as a husband and wife.

The first year of marriage is an adventure, regardless of what each person’s daily schedule looks like. Maybe both spouses are getting up and going to an office everyday, or maybe one is working from home and the other traveling for a living. Combining the busy schedules of two different people equals a situation that requires intentional care.

Eventually, routine tends to get in the way of the honeymoon period, and some of the romance (and sometimes, a large part of it) that seemed effortless before becomes almost nonexistent. So what can you do when that happens?

We always say choose your ruts carefully, because you’re going to be in them for a long time. We all develop habits over time, and it takes deliberate work to break them.

When you’ve experienced the loss of something you loved or enjoyed, like being romanced, it’s hard to know how to approach your spouse about it. Asking for it directly takes the pleasure out of the act, and makes it feel obligatory for your spouse. Then, he or she feels caught in a catch-22.

How to Reignite Your Romance

If you want to help remind your spouse to lean into romance again, start by doing and saying things that invite those moments without making them into demands.

You could say, “I miss holding your hand,” or, “I miss this. I’d like to do more of this.” Let them know it’s something you enjoy and want more of. Don’t demand, manipulate, or make yourself look needy or angry.

You might also gently remind your spouse of memories you enjoy by saying things like, “Did you ever realize what kind of power you had over me when you would…” Let him or her know how intoxicating that was for you. Simply knowing their effect on you might be enough to spark that romance again.

Both of you could also make a list of things you’ve enjoyed together over the years. When you come together to share your lists, that’s a fun opportunity to say that you miss something you’ve listed. Who knows–maybe your spouse misses some things you used to do, as well.

We go through many different seasons in marriage, and it’s important to be aware of your season when you find yourself feeling upset about something regarding your spouse, or your dynamics together. Stress can make us pull back from each other. Also, the child-rearing season is a demanding time that can put a temporary damper on your romance.

In these situations, it’s important to remind yourself, “This too shall pass.” Seasons come and go. Try to remain grounded in the knowledge that whatever stress you’re under right now isn’t going to last forever.

Finally, find time to connect–just the two of you. Uninterrupted quality time with your spouse will do wonders for the romance in your marriage.

Make it a point to plan a certain time during the day that’s just about the two of you. Put your phones away. Turn off the TV. Focus on connecting with each other and ignore the rest.

This may work best for you first thing in the morning, or maybe late at night. You two know your schedules best, but it’s up to you to prioritize this time together!

The habit of happiness and romance is an inside job. If you find the right attitude in spite of atmospheric conditions and intentionally set aside time for you and your spouse, you will discover that living happily ever after need not be a myth. You can keep the romance and passion alive, and enjoy many years of lifelong love!

What do you think? What has worked for you and your spouse to reignite your romance?



  • Darlene says:

    right now.. we are having a hard time communicating, he seems angry all the time. I do everything wrong. he says things that hurt my feelings. We go out separate ways, I work 3 days a week 3-11 , stay 1 night at my aging parents house to help them… my other 3 sisters do the same staying 2 night’s a week. I help at our Church, and we have a 13 year old son. My husband was able to retire at 49… and has a garden, works on our tree farm 2 days a week, and he pays all the bills. He Complains I’m NEVER HOME. .. but when I am he is not. The question you are asking ??? I can’t find anything, that has worked.

    • Amy Reinke says:

      I am sorry for the frustration you are clearly feeling. Busyness and opposite schedules can seem so overwhelmingly hopeless. I had to begin pursuing my husband again and make time, even just 15 or 20 minutes, WHERE HE was. Shoulder to shoulder. Men are motivated to love their wives by feeling respected. If they sense we don’t even like them, they withdraw and deflate. Finding time to be that friend he married is key. Sit next to him while he is working on the garden. Choose a couple minutes of your day to walk with him on the farm. Have a cold drink ready for him when he gets done. Your roles are both valuable. You are a woman of dignity, a daughter to the King, a princess. When we choose to respect (the shoulder to shoulder time, being friendly), our men will be less hesitant and feel safer to conext with us and choose to love us again.

    • Wayne says:

      I agree with Amy, Angela and Jen. Let me give you a man’s perspective. First – of course I am speaking from my own perspective, which may not be your husband but consider him this way – When your husband worked he defined himself and his self worth by his job. He must have done well in order to retire at 49. His anger is more likely boredom and frustration, as the others have said his expectations of retirement and time together just is not happening. Additionally you might communicate to him how proud of him for what he is not would help him gain some identity.
      I hear you say you work in the church. Do you think God would let you have some time off (others can do what it is you are doing) so you can work on your family?
      God invented marriage and family long before He began the church. Family is His priority and the tools He uses to build His church.
      You have a 13 year old…. the best gift you can give your child is a mother and father who love each other. Your husband / and thus your marriage is your FIRST prioity.
      Follow the advice the others have spoken about setting aside time. Love your husband no matter what mood you find him in. do not withdraw, rather go closer. You just might be amazed at how he responds once he again feels important to the one he wants most to be important to.

  • Angela says:

    Please take this suggestion in the spirit that I am giving it. It sounds like you both have already built in defenses, reasons, and excuses that are ready to explain why the communication is breaking down between the two of you. Let me say first that everything listed, work schedules, taking care of others, church work, kids are all important and natural responsibilities that will tear at your time together as a couple. My very simple suggestion is that you both agree to spend one hour a week together with no one else that you are responsible for near. Since you are the one questioning you may need to orchestrate this blissful hour but that is ok. There is no score for who designs your time to reconnect. You will both win. It is important that you both agree this time will be simple enjoyment, no discussions about problems, harsh feelings, challenges, etc. Simply one hour a week where you both enjoy just being together. As it gets easier to accomplish this time you will find naturally that you want to extend this time to more than an hour. After all, you liked spending time together enough that you married. Remember the simple joy of each other and then you will both want to resolve any challenges that you face together. The Lord will bless you as you work to honor the commitment to your family.

  • Jen Neese says:

    Dear Darlene,
    It sounds like your husband has some unfulfilled expectations and they are probably legitimate ones like wanting to be with you more. Perhaps he had looked forward for years to being retired and being with you! Taking long walks with you, cooking dinner together, doing things you both enjoy. But the truth is, you are in a different season than he is. Things have not slowed down for you and there are a lot of demands and stresses that you still have to carry.
    Pick the right time and choose your delivery carefully to tell your husband that you value him and your time together and ask him to help you come up with a solution to create that special time together more often. Serving Jesus through your local church is wonderful but there are right seasons for everything. Maybe you and your husband can find a way to serve there together and if not, it is okay to pull back from that so you have more time to work on your marriage. Praying together to seek God for answers will bring you closer spiritually which can begin a beautiful shift in your relationship.
    Also, reading the Word and promises of God over your lives and marriage has the power to bring beautiful healing.
    Bless you as you hold on to each other and pursue oneness!

  • J says:

    For a busy family with inconsistent schedules, it was recommended to us that we set aside time for 2 meetings each week. One to talk about schedules, money, work stresses, home projects, basically the business of running a family. The other meeting is a date. We did Friday mornings because the kids were both in school and it’s our day off. Doesn’t need to be fancy, just a cup of coffee and some conversation is fine for us. Before the kids were in school, we put them to bed and rented a movie and cuddled on the couch. Quality time often comes packaged inside a quantity of time, so schedule it and set it aside!

  • Dathan Stoltzfus says:

    After 20 years of marriage, it finally began to sink in to my heart that my wife didn’t really feel loved, thought I certainly did think that I loved her, and thought our marriage was pretty good. At the beginning of 2015 I set a goal to write my wife a love note every week for 6 months. While she did appreciate it, the biggest benefit was the change it brought about in my heart, as her husband. My heart began more and more to turn toward her because every week I was thinking about the great person she was, and the things that I loved about her. Along with that I picked up the book “Every Mans Marriage”, formerly titled “Every Womans Desire”, and it helped me to see myself and the many ways I was crushing her spirit by not fully accepting her person, and trying to change her. We have had numerous setbacks along the way since, but we have always recovered, and our marriage is now honestly what I consider a dream marriage. We have so much fun again and our love has never been stronger. Men, I encourage you to take the lead and make the first move in truly loving your wife.

  • Nina says:

    I like the idea of creating a list of things we’ve enjoyed doing together. We will try that! What helps us is taking mini road trips and small vacations in a surrounding state. It helps us to refocus and spark that romance again. Seeing different things and experiencing new sceneries and adventures brings us closer together as well. We hope to take up dancing lessons together!

  • Lisa Hansen says:

    I have a few tears as I write this, my husband has become alcoholic and no longer goes to church. Thankfully God has kept us from having children, because I would be a married single mother. Our communication is terrible, and so often I have to beat to his drum just to have peace. If only I could have known this 16 years ago. However, God is my joy and my strength, and I look for the day in which he reveals his plan. I’m certainly far from perfect, but it’s tough to work on marriage when one appears bent on denial and destruction. God bless those of you in equally-yoked partnerships.

  • Mary says:

    Great ideas, everyone. I was especially blessed by Dathan’s openness, and his challenge to men.
    Lisa Hansen, please find and read “The Emotionally Destructive Marriage” by Leslie Vernick. It is Biblically sound and gives great advice to women in your type of situation.

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