Fellas, I’m sure you remember when you first started dating your wife, and definitely the day you exchanged your vows. You couldn’t get enough of her, she was all you ever dreamed of, and you’d bring her a bouquet of roses, tied to a Yorkie puppy, that was dragging a box of chocolates, while you sang One Direction if you thought it would make her happy. I remember those days too – they were awesome.

I’m going on six years of being married now, and I’ve got to say, everything’s changed, and nothing has changed at all. We’ve had our ups and downs over the years, nearly called it quits, come back together in a big way, and today, the love is stronger than it’s ever been. But I’ll be the first to admit – I’m not the most romantic guy in the world.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll get her a card now and then, and whatever Valentine’s chocolates I don’t eat on the drive home from Walgreens go straight to her (kidding…she gets them all). But on the whole, I’m not what I’d call a romantic type.

I typically express my affection by doing little things to help her, like cooking dinner if she gets home after I do, folding the towels so she can relax, defaulting to whatever she wants to watch on TV, or making a run to the grocery for that organic bean paste she forgot (and I wish would stay forgotten).

But gents, I’ve learned over the years that, while I’m exactly not blowing it, I’m certainly not measuring up as I used to either. She loves me, and I love her – that’s not changing. I know she appreciates the little things I do to help make life easier, just like I’m sure your wife appreciates yours, but lately, I don’t try to make her swoon like I used to. So, I’ve resolved to be better.

Here’s the reality – women, even when they say they don’t need all the lovey-dovey stuff to be happy, absolutely love romance. She may be earnest in telling you that she doesn’t need it all the time, but man, if you shower her with the kind of unbridled, steaming passion that you find in the pages of a romance novel with a shirtless cowboy on the cover, then you have reached a new level of marital bliss, my friends.

There’s no replacement for love, and romance will not keep a marriage together if that’s all you have going for you. Romance is equated with infatuation; love is equated with devotion and commitment. One is hot, steaming, and will leave you feeling totally caught up in the moment, but the other will carry through many years, both good and bad.

That being said, every now and then, it’s good…actually, great…to feel that same pull and desire you had for each other way back when. She’ll appreciate it, you’ll feel a sense of pride and achievement, and the result is that you two will feel closer than you have in years and for years to come.

Here are some ideas to rekindle your desires with her

Take Her Out at Least Once a Week

Activeman couples

Okay…I’m starting off with a hard one. I don’t mean grocery shopping; not to a drive through; not to a Chuck-E-Cheese where you have to scream over dozens of little kids to get a word in. I mean just you, her, and the kind of “put on your best dress baby” nights that you had in your dating years.

I get that it’s tough. Kids always get in the way of romance, it can be tough to justify an expense like that, and, let’s face it, we’re absolutely exhausted when we get home from work most days. I feel you there brother. But, I’m here to tell you – all of the above? No excuse.

If your marriage matters, and your wife’s happiness matters, then this isn’t a chore, or an expense, or an inconvenience. It’s an investment. An emotional one, sure, but an investment nevertheless, and you need to make it every bit the priority that you do coming into work on time or paying your bills by the due date.

So ditch the pizza delivery, and take her to something fancier. Don’t talk about work, talk about her. Don’t sit across from her staring at your phone – sit next to her and run your hand up her thigh under the table. You’ll be in for one fine dessert when you get home.

Indulge in Shared Interests Regularly

Activeman shared interests

Confession: I hate a lot of what my wife is into. She likes scented candles, they make my eyes water. She loves home decor, I’m fine with using a pizza box for an end table. We’re very different people, with very different interests and hobbies, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It results in her having knowledge and skills in areas in which I would be about as useful as a deflated football, and it allows me to swoop to her rescue in those instances where I can shine.

That being said though, fellas, if we want to keep our ladies feeling engaged, we do need to take the time to indulge in activities that we both enjoy, and that more importantly, we can do together. Watching a movie together is the traditional approach to achieve this, but let’s be honest – it’s unoriginal, and not very romantic. She can go to the movies with her girlfriends just as easily as you.

Instead, focus on things that you both love, and can do together, that you can’t do just anywhere. If you both enjoy the outdoors, go hiking together. If you both love sports, shoot hoops with each other. If you both enjoy writing, consider starting a blog together. You can benefit others with this last one too, giving out tips about what makes your marriage work, and using romance-themed photos to illustrate your points.

Do Something Romantic or Sexy, Just ‘Cause

When it comes to romance, there are essentially two ways to go – carefully planned, or completely spontaneous. You’re all but guaranteed to have her in a swoon if you plan out a romantic evening at a five-star restaurant, with a private booth complimented by a bottle of her favorite wine. But sometimes, the unexpected can mean just as much, if not more, to her as a carefully planned outing.

Every now and then, shoot her a text to let her know you love her, and you’re thinking about her. Leave her a note on the fridge, or tied to a little box of her favorite snack that you picked up for just for her. Wait until she’s just lounging on the couch, and just wrap your arms around her.

These small, unrehearsed, totally spur of the moment things will help to reinforce that she’s still your one and only and that she’s your only desire. It doesn’t always take fancy settings and a high dinner bill (thank God…). Sometimes, you can get just as much with a warm hug, and a heartfelt note.