Ten years of marriage and I couldn’t remember the last time my husband and I talked without the kids around. We were New Jersey born and bred and now living as expats in Costa Rica. We had done what so many talk about. Escaping the 9 to 5 grind and moving to paradise as a family was our dream. We had plans to renew our vows on the beach for our 10 year anniversary. The problem was that we felt we were living on separate islands. We spent years hustling to leave the 9 to 5. We took for granted that a spark would always be there.
We were physically close but without a map to find each other again.
As we cancelled our vow renewal we decided it was time to fight for our marriage.
Here is what we found from our journey back to dating, after 10 years of marriage:
Entering a marriage doesn’t mean everything will be ok
We took our marriage for granted. We said “I do” and assumed that was all the commitment needed. Facing vow renewals made us realize recommitting needs to happen more than every 10 years. We were so entrenched raising kids and getting careers going that life became routine and stressful. Marriage matters but the daily micro commitments can make or break you. Weekly date nights rekindled our flame. They became non negotiable. We needed to be the foundation and the kids could no longer be the glue.
When you ask for what you want, it does not make receiving less romantic.
For years I thought if I needed to ask Julio for what I needed then the return gesture would be out of obligation. We were both so concerned with what we needed to make life easier. When we started listening and letting go of expectations we found our happy ending. We started looking for how we could make each other’s lives easier and not what the other person could do for us. The result was two happy parents that wanted to surprise each other with joy like we did when we first met.
Dating never ends if you keep growing and changing.
People change and evolve. They are not supposed to stay the people we fell in love with. We are supposed to be excited to fall in love all over again. It is not our job to mold someone. It is our job to hold space for them to become the best version of themselves. Seeing the person we married in a new, fun way each and every day is the fun part. Scheduling time to go to sleep at the same time each night allowed us to rediscover the person we promised to have and hold all those years ago.
Ten years of marriage wasn’t enough.
Choosing each other every day was enough. Eight months after we started dating again, we renewed our vows in the rain on the beach surrounded by other expat friends that went through similar struggles. Costa Rica saved our marriage. Now we live in Florida but the lessons we learned continue. We are more in love now than ever. It is never too late to start dating your spouse and what you will find is a love deeper than you have ever known.