A long time ago, Eddie and I made a promise to one another. After hearing about several friends' relationships ending, we talked about what some of the things were that drove a wedge between those couples. When relationships end, it's not usually one factor - there are typically many reasons that make a relationship reach its final stages.
One thing that we kept coming back to was the fact that many of these couples didn't go to bed together every night, despite living in the same house and not being away from one another for long periods. Not that the husband was out until all hours of the night, not that the wife stayed late at the office. They just didn't go to bed together most nights. Why? One stayed up late watching TV in the living room while the husband went to bed. Another worked on his computer until 3 am while his wife slept. Still another stayed up late doing Pinterest projects while her husband stayed in bed waiting for her.
So we decided that in our marriage, we were going to make every effort to go to bed together as many nights as possible. It's not always easy, but we have made it a habit. I had recently started my photography business, and was finding that nighttime was the best time for me to do my editing. But I quickly pulled in the reins on that and discovered other systems that worked for me and my editing. Some nights I would love to sit at the computer and edit my photos without having anyone interrupt me. Other nights I want to decompress and sit in a dark, quiet house and watch whatever TV show I feel like watching or read a book until 3 am. But as much as I want those things, my marriage takes priority over them.
So every evening, Caleb goes to sleep and we get to unwind. We'll usually watch a TV show or two and then decide to go to our bedroom. Sometimes we have to shower, other times we have to pick up the room, still other times one of us will shower while the other is doing something else in another part of the house. But 9 nights out of 10, we go to bed within 5-10 minutes of one another. There are exceptions, of course - I'm not saying I never stay up late by myself - but this is our norm.
And it's not about sex. It's about intimacy. It's about ending your day feeling the closeness of the one person with whom you have chosen to live this life. It's ending the day playing footsie, or enveloped in a hug, or having a tickle fight (because we're all adults here and this is obviously the most mature thing ever). It's about having a conversation about your day and connecting to one another when there isn't a little human between you.
This is also why, once Caleb was old enough and we both felt comfortable, we made a conscious choice to not let him sleep in our bed anymore. He was moved to his crib, and unless he wakes up crying and screaming, that's where he stays. In the mornings, we all cuddle together and spend some time in bed as a family, but our nighttime routine is ours.
Like I said earlier, I can't attribute whether or not a relationship is successful to this one factor, but it is a factor that we have found makes a difference in our marriage. And as long as we keep this promise to one another, there is the understanding that we will continue to work for and choose our marriage over everything else, every day.
Try it, you never know what it will do for you!