So you\u2019ve been married for three years now, or maybe your marriage has gone on for far longer, like decades, and the children have come along, sucking you into an endless cycle of washing, cleaning, cooking not to mention breastfeeding, spoonfeeding and schooling the entire brood. Time flies everyday and before you know it, you\u2019ve overlooked the person who has been making up the other half of your marriage.\r\n\r\nWith repetitive routines taking up most of your energy and time, it\u2019s normal to lose some of the spark that fired up your relationship in the early days. All marriages go through stages after all, and there are usually five \u2500 1) The Romance or Courtship Stage when passion was high 2) The Disillusionment or Adjusting to Reality Stage when you realise that honeymoon is over 3) The Power Struggle or Disappointment Stage, and if you make it past No: 3, then 4) The Stability or Reconciliation Stage and finally 5) The Commitment or Acceptance Stage. It is estimated that fewer than 5% of couples actually make it to this stage, according to The Relationship Institute.\r\n\r\nNo matter what stage you are in, or how far your marriage has come or fallen behind, don\u2019t let tedium snuff out the flame it once had.\u00a0 It is a priority to keep that fire burning. After all, marriage is for keeps and you did choose your hubby out of so many others for better or for worse, didn\u2019t you?\r\n\r\nBut how do you spice up your marriage when so many things get in the way of every single day? Here are six suggestions.\r\nSix Ways to add Sparkle to Your Marriage\r\n1. Break Routines, Add Spontaneity\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nRoutines are monotonous repetitions and the No: 1 basis for boredom. It\u2019s in the predictability of everything in married life \u2500 right down to what you will do at what time and what food you will tapau on which day and for whom. Isn\u2019t it the same old, same old? Repetition can quickly turn into infidelity when one partner looks for excitement elsewhere.\r\n\r\nBreak that monotony and bring back the spontaneity by changing up a few things even if it\u2019s just a simple shift like trying out a new type of food at a new restaurant, or trying a new way of eating out such as going for a picnic instead of going to the same old tried-and-tested restaurant.\u00a0 Or you and he could join an event (there are constant invites on Facebook) or simply take an impromptu day trip to where you\u2019ve never been before \u2500 just to enjoy new sights and sounds.\r\n\r\nWhat you want is a change of scenery to trigger a spark. As relationship expert Miyoko Rifkin says: "Changing your environment will help create new emotional responses to your partner, instead of triggering old undesirable ones." A spark could lead to an inferno and that\u2019s exactly what you need to fire up a staid relationship.\r\n\r\n2. Open Up and Talk to Each Other\r\n\r\nDon\u2019t expect your partner to read you mind. You need to tell him how you\u2019re feeling but don\u2019t just say, \u201cI\u2019m bored\u201d. Suggest something fun to do together. If he has another idea or viewpoint, it will kick off a discussion and a conversation. One of the signs that the relationship has hit the monotony rut is when one spouse talks (or nags) the same old issues and the other just nods or goes \u201cuh huh, uh huh\u201d without really listening.\r\n\r\nShare good news instead. According to a study published in Science Daily, couples who share positive news with each other before they go to sleep found increased intimacy and deepened relationship bonds. This is because they go to bed happy and excited.\r\n\r\nMotherhood.com.my has always been talking about ways to establish bonding between mother and baby whether by touch, or cuddling or eye contact or talking, singing and playing with the child.\u00a0 The same applies to relationship-building between adults such as mum and dad. Whatever the age, communication is key to a healthy and happy relationship.\r\n\r\n3. Touch Each Other More Often\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAs has been mentioned above, Motherhood.com.my has spoken endlessly about the Power of Touch between parents and baby. Touch and repeated contact help baby develop mentally and physically, establishing bonding and attachment.\u00a0\u00a0 It is the same between mum and dad.\r\n\r\nPhysical contact can be non-sexual, such as placing a hand on his shoulder when calling him or lingering your contact with him when passing objects like say\u2026the car keys to one another. Whether it\u2019s a casual touch, a touch in passing, touching on the way to the door or giving an embrace or holding hands, touching builds connection between partners and says \u201cI care\u201d.\r\n\r\nPerhaps the best example of how touch connects the heart and mind is demonstrated by Malaysia\u2019s most celebrated couple \u2500 our Prime Minister and his wife Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed and Tun Dr Siti Hasmah. They celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary on August 5th this year. That's 63 years together as best friends and husband and wife.\r\n\r\nEarlier, Motherhood.com.my carried a story on Tun Dr Mahathir\u2019s birthday in July with an account from Prem Kumar Panjamorthy, a Nikkei Asian Review reporter who described how the couple interacted with one another during a press conference breaktime in Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Japan.\r\n\r\nPrem said, in the now famous Facebook post, that Tun Dr Siti made a sudden appearance in the conference room to lovingly remind her husband to take a rest after a long and tiring workday. After she apologized to everyone for coming into the room, she sat closely to Tun Dr Mahathir and whispered into his ear but he apparently could not hear what she said.\r\n\r\nSo she giggled and said: \u201cI\u2019m going to take some rest in the room. You have not taken any rest since this morning. So please take some rest after this.\u201d Then she held her husband\u2019s hand tenderly for a little while before leaving the room; again, saying \u201csorry\u201d to everyone before stepping out. With eyes filled with love and admiration, our Prime Minister watched his wife leave the room. Then he too suddenly broke out giggling \u201clike a young lover boy\u201d, as described by Prem. It is evident they are still so in love with one another.\r\n\r\nPerhaps this is exactly what all married couples should aspire to \u2500 finding that magic lode in their relationship. At 93 and 94 years old, seven children and an on-going, super-busy, high-powered career later, Malaysia\u2019s most endearing couple are still sharing mutual respect, understanding and yes, fascination of each other. That\u2019s something to be emulated.\r\n\r\n4. Make the Effort for Your Partner\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nRemember the time when you got so excited to see him? You made all the effort to look good at every date and he did the same too.\r\n\r\nYes, times have changed and responsibilities have increased but that doesn\u2019t mean you should let it all go. He fell in love with a beautiful woman, that\u2019s how he was attracted to you in the first place. You want to be that woman all over again. Looking good also boosts your own self confidence, making you feel as beautiful as you look.\r\n\r\nYou don\u2019t have to spend tons of money and time on your appearance, just look neat and groomed for him. Put on a touch of makeup if it suits you. Make eye contact. Flirt. He will notice that you made this effort just for him and he will appreciate it.\r\n\r\n5. Date Each Other\r\n\r\nNo matter how busy you may be with the chores, the children and your career, dating your husband is a priority as this is quality, reconnecting and bonding one-on-one time spent only with each other. So, go out, at least once a month and enjoy each other\u2019s company the way you did when you first dated.\r\n\r\nYou don\u2019t necessarily have to spend a bomb painting the town red every time you date. You can keep it low budget and have your date at home. The both of you can cook dinner together for instance. He can cook the main courses and you prepare the desserts and drinks or vice versa and surprise each other with your own creations. Afterwards, you can watch a movie on DVD or play a game on your Playstation 4 together or just Karaoke the night away and have fun.\r\n\r\n6. Learn to Lighten Up and Laugh\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nLet\u2019s be honest here. No man is attracted to a sourfaced, naggy, whiny, stressed out woman, much less his own wife whom he is sharing his life with. So, make sure you\u2019re not like that. Laugh out loud. Tell each other jokes or recount funny things that happened during the day. See the lighter side of things and you will find the humour in everyday life. Laughing is the panacea that cures all ills. It lifts the mood and definitely, will give the marriage that much-needed breath of fresh air.\r\n\r\nFor more relationship stories, go to Motherhood.com.my.