On a side note: love is not a feeling, it's an action. It is something you choose.
What are some of the most important things we do to keep our marriage strong (for 33 years and counting)?
All of these are valid whether or not you have children. There are always things taking our time and energy from us.
Date nights. Date nights are a must. It doesn't have to be expensive. If the cost of a babysitter means you can't afford to go out to dinner, than go to the park and have a picnic. Swing on the swings, take a walk.
If you can go to dinner, great. Make it a nice dinner. Go somewhere quiet so you can talk. Restaurants with loud music and T.V. screens on all the walls are extremely distracting and take away from that which you are seeking: (nearly) uninterrupted time with each other. (There are those "pesky" waiters that have to take your order and ask if everything is okay a hundred times.) After dinner, an adoration chapel is a great place to spend some qualities time with not only your spouse but with the Lord.
Walks. Take walks together on non-date nights. There have to be some neighbor kids who will watch your darlings for 20 minutes. Pay them with an ice cream cone!
Away time. Go away for a night at least 3 times a year. Think it's too expensive? It doesn't have to be. Have a separate jar that you keep change and stray $1 or $5 bills in. It does not get touched except for an away night. Stay at a hotel that has free breakfast. Bonus.
If this is really an impossibility, have grandma take the kids for the night and then be together. Don't catch up on laundry or run errands or clean the bathroom. Relax and enjoy each other's company.
You may not realize how much you need this break. I'll share a true story about one of our away nights.
We got to the hotel around 5:30 p.m. My dear one asked if I wanted to go to dinner. Yes I did; I was hungry. But more than that, I was tired. I told him, "I just need to lie down for 30 minutes." He agreed although I know he was really hungry, too.
The next thing I knew, he was waking me and asking if I was ready to eat. I asked him what time it was and he said, "9:00." Yikes!! That's how tired I was from a long week. God bless him for sitting there quietly reading, while getting more and more hungry as the minutes past my intended 30 dragged on.
Needless to say, I was able to be mentally there for him for our time away. Not too tired to talk and enjoy his companionship. And the next day, I was ready to go home, refreshed and renewed, to another crazy week.
Our world is all about movement: go, go, go. Even our Sunday' s rest is being snatched from us.
Don't let your marriage take a hit.
Get into the habit of being together now, because it will save you in the long run!
ALWAYS STRIVE TO GIVE YOUR SPOUSE
THE VERY BEST OF YOURSELF;
NOT WHAT'S LEFT OVER AFTER YOU HAVE
GIVEN YOUR BEST TO EVERYONE ELSE.