by Bill Nieporte & Jeana Murray-Nieporte

Congratulate us! We just celebrated 22 years of “Success-in-Marriage.” Notice our word SUCCESS. We’ve not just survived 22 years of marriage (as a friend recently said of her relationship with her spouse). On the contrary, we have experience SUCCESS in our relationship. By success we mean greater intimacy, better understanding, increased patience, and quality communication.

Don’t misunderstand – we do have our struggles from time to time.  SHE squeezes the toothpaste from the middle, not the end, like ever other intelligent person in the world.  HE puts the toilet roll on so the paper is at the back (just like the cavemen use to do it).  We understand how Ruth and Billy Graham felt that day when a reporter asked if they had ever considered DIVORCE.

“No, we’ve never considered DIVORCE,” Billy Graham said.  “It’s never been a topic of conversation.  It’s never even crossed our mind!”

Mrs. Graham then chimed in, with a smile:  “No, we’ve never talked about divorce.  We have talked about murder a few times, but never divorce!”

Our marriage is certainly not perfect.  We are both strong willed, stubborn, independant minded people who want things done OUR WAY.  Still, we feel like we have had a successful marriage – a marriage that has been a blessing.

So how?  Let’s take for granted that we each see the other as a gift from God – because that’s how we feel.  Let’s also accept as a given that we know that we have a connection to one another that flows from the life of the Triune God and the workings of that God’s grace in our lives – cause we feel that way too.  So, with these GIVENS out there and publically declared, what are the the things we do to “spice up our marriage?”  Here’s a list of seven things that make s big difference.

1) KEEP DATING. No, not other people! Keep dating your spouse. Hire a baby sitter. Get dressed up! Make special dinner reservations. Buy her flowers. Wear his favorite perfume. Approach each “date” with your spouse with the same desire to impress that you held in your heart on your first date.

2) WRITE LOVE NOTES. Leave them in the brief case, on the mirror, or taped on the computer monitor. Keep them mushy (and a little enticing if your sure nobody else will read them).

3) BACK RUBS. Need I say more?

4) GIVE “LOVE COUPONS.” Here’s a idea we’ve borrowed from some friends. Give a coupon redeemable for your mate’s favorite activities: dinner in a particular restaurant, tickets to a favorite sporting event, etc. Be creative! If you are really daring give your spouse a “blank-check love coupon.” Just be certain you are ready to pay-up when the coupon is redeemed.

5) CELEBRATE AN ANNUAL HONEYMOON. Think about it! Doesn’t an annual honeymoon sound more fun than just another anniversary?

6) BREAKFAST IN BED. Make it! Serve it! Include a flower and love note!

7) KISS YOUR MATE. Don’t be content with a simple little peck on the lips. Give your spouse at least 10 seconds of serious affection each day. Try it just before leaving for the office. You’ll hardly be able to wait to get home!

Here’s a bonus tip. Say the words “I LOVE YOU!” to your spouse every day–say it with passion and feeling.

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