The other day my husband looked at my wedding ring and said, “Yuck. I think you need to clean that up.” Looking down, I realized he wasn’t kidding. It’s funny how over time both soap and grime combines to make something look dull and drab.

When we first got married, I pretty regularly put my ring in a cleaning solution. Having a ring like that on my finger was a new and exciting event. Now, admittedly, I do it once in a great while (like maybe once a year). The good news is, no matter how much time has gone by, it still seems to sparkle like new after a good scrubbing.

Our actual marriages can bear a lot of similarities to our wedding rings. In the beginning after our “I do’s” we put a lot of time and effort into our relationship. We are happy, even blissful, under normal circumstances. Life together is new and exciting.

Over time, it becomes much more difficult to put the time and effort into the relationship. Work gets in the way. Kids get in the way. Our health gets in the way. LIFE gets in the way. You get the picture. That once vibrant relationship begins to look a little dreary and soap-caked.

I’m taking my husband away for one night this week for his birthday. The time has come for a little bedazzling. Marriage needs maintenance just like appliances and cars.

If your relationship with your spouse is feeling a little humdrum these days, the good news is that it might not take much to shake off the dust. Here are a few ideas for a bit of renewal:

  1. Work on some kind of project together. I’ve been helping J around the house lately with some things and it has allowed us time to talk and catch up.
  2. Take a class together. He’s still trying to convince me to do yoga with him.
  3. Put the electronics away at night and play a game together, just the two of you. One of my friends on Facebook asked for suggestions for two player card games recently. She received a ton of responses.
  4. Hire a babysitter and go on a date night. We recently did this with another couple (that way you can split the cost of the sitter) and went to a comedy club. It’s good to laugh together.
  5. Drop some notes of encouragement through text or email.

Even the best marriages need a little tuning up sometimes. What works for you and your spouse?