Dear Tzippora,

My husband and I have a good marriage. I respect him a lot, and he is truly the nicest person I have ever met. After ten plus years, being together feels so natural that it is hard for me to remember what it is like to not be married to him. He is definitely my best friend. But sometimes in the middle of the night, I find myself longing for the romance that I dreamed of as a teenager, and I find myself wondering "Is this it?"

Married to my Best Friend

Dear Married to my Best Friend,

Marriage is a balancing act. A marriage itself is a partnership, a friendship, and a romance. Yet between working, running a home, parenting, car-pooling, and squeezing in a quick workout at the gym, many people find themselves already stressed out to their maximum, with little energy left to dedicate to their marriages. As a result, many marriages, even good marriages, grow stale and lose some freshness and sparkle.

Your letter describes the many fine qualities of your marriage, and yet you are still wondering if there could be something missing. It sounds to me like something is out of balance.

The Jewish marriage model is described in Song of Songs by the expression "achoti, kallah" – my sister, my bride. The ideal marriage contains both these aspects – a level of platonic friendship as deeply intimate as the relationship between a brother and a sister, and a romantic aspect symbolized by the excitement of a bride on her wedding day.

Although adolescent fantasies of romance need to be tempered with adult maturity and judgment, in a good marriage, there is passion as well as friendship. It seems like you have become so comfortable together that your relationship has taken on an overly platonic aspect. To regain a proper balance, you need to focus on rekindling the romantic component of your relationship.

A good place to start is to schedule a date night once a week. Use this as an opportunity to break out of the rut of your daily conversation, and explore new topics together. Choose an activity conducive to stimulating conversation, such as trying a new restaurant for dinner, or going for a moonlight stroll.

Planning a getaway just for the two of you is also valuable at this point. Even if actualizing your plans is still far off, begin to spend time planning and discussing together. These conversations will lay the groundwork for a successful holiday, and provide a framework for bringing your relationship into the foreground of your family agenda.

Ultimately, it is up to you to create the marriage of your dreams. Just like a successful garden requires vision and planning, so too, a marriage that is carefully nutrured will be more successful and rewarding than one that is abandoned to the course of nature and the ravages of time.

Any investment in your marriage is also an investment in the long-term intergenerational stability of your family.

Good luck, and enjoy!