“Marriage is a long journey, and any long journey requires occasionally getting off the road to eat, to fill up the car with gas, or simply to rest. Has your love fallen into a rut? Is your marriage slowly getting buried under the daily routine? What can you do differently to break out of the box and renew your love for each other?” (Gary Thomas)

Those are good questions, aren’t they? There’s hardly a relationship around that doesn’t hit a time when life becomes so “daily” that those involved don’t find themselves bored. If you’re finding this in your marriage, we have a few suggestions for you that might help.

The first comes from one of our favorite books by Gary Thomas titled, “Devotions for a Sacred Marriage” published by Zondervan www.zondervan.com. Below is part of a devotional titled, “Marital Ruts.” Here’s what he had to say:

Maybe your rut is more behavioral—you’ve learned to tune out your spouse’s voice, or you always make love in the same, predictable way or on the same, predictable night. Maybe you’ve completely stopped trying to find creative ways to demonstrate your affection and care. Perhaps you’ve become so ensconced in the workweek routine—the early-morning departure, the commute, the time away from home, coming back in the evening tired and grouchy – that you’re completely missing opportunities to affirm and reconnect with each other.

Never underestimate the element of occasional surprise in the delighting of your spouse and building up your marriage. It can be so simple – a wife going to the trouble of picking out a book on tape that her husband can listen to on his morning commute; a husband buying his wife a completely unexpected gift, unconnected to any holiday or anniversary, for no other reason than to tell her he loves her.

What would it mean to your spouse if you took an afternoon off – from work or watching the kids – to go to a matinee, take a walk around the lake, or go on a picnic? Sometimes all it takes is something out of the ordinary, something that says, “I don’t take you – or us – for granted. I’ve put some special thought into this. I want to fight the ‘murderous repetitions’ and ‘infernal element of boredom.’”

Through Ezekiel, God promised Israel, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). In the same way we can become calloused toward God, so we can become calloused toward each other. Pray for a new spirit and attitude toward your spouse, that your “heart of stone” will become a “heart of flesh.”

Occasional ruts are inevitable in any long-term relationship, but they’re never insurmountable. We can break out of them if we really want to.

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So the question is, after you’ve read what Gary Thomas had to say and you recognize that you’re in a Marital Rut, “Do you want to break out of a romantic rut that you’re in?” Are you out of ideas as far as what to do that will bring a little romance back into your marriage? We have a few ideas. At least we have a few on our web site atwww.marriagemissions.com in the “Romantic Ideas” section. One of the articles is titled, “Romantic Tips” which will link you to some great ideas.

On our web site we have a link to a web site www.marriages.net which is put together by GTO Family Ministries developed by Harold and Bette Gillogly which helps couples “Grow Toward Oneness.” They offer many helpful resources for married couples through their ministry and on their web site (which we hope you’ll look into). Among them is a feature called: “Romantic Tips of the Month.” They offer “Romantic Tips for Husbands” and “Romantic Tips for Wives.”

We’d like to share with you one of the tips for wives and one of the tips for husbands that Harold and Bette Gillogly came up with:

Wives: Make one Saturday morning this month very special. Serve your husband breakfast in bed, then crawl back into bed with him and help him eat it. Arrange for (or with) the children so you will not be disturbed all morning, and sleep, cuddle, watch TV or “whatever” ‘til noon. If the kids are in the house, make sure you lock your bedroom door and even hang a homemade “Do Not Disturb” sign on the doorknob.

Husbands: Give your wife a “Time Coupon.” Simply take a 3×5 card and write “This coupon is worth two hours of time together and is redeemable any day this week.” Your time – undivided attention time – is very valuable to your wife. In fact, many wives spell love T-I-M-E! We would suggest two parameters for you to keep in mind for your time together: (1) Do something that leaves you free to talk to one another; and (2) allow yourselves some amount of privacy [no double date].

Keep in mind: “You can keep your love alive if you give it priority in your system of values.”