Keep the spark HOT!

posted on June 1, 2010 by  |  posted under Romance  |  62 Comments

Keep the spark HOT

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How Does She stay in love?

When Shelley, Alison and I discussed wanting another ‘stay in love’ post we all said at about the same time, “the Haskells!”  These two have a special bond that is so sweet, it is noticed by everyone.  I know what you’re thinking, Yuck – get a room!  It is not like that at ALL!  I wish I could describe it to you, but you kinda have to just know them.  And lucky are those that do know them – they are AMAZING!  And not just at their wonderful relationship – their happiness and zest for life is contagious…you are just happy when you are around them.  I can’t think of two more positive people. 

Since you all can’t witness this for yourselves, I asked them to give us their TOP TEN ways to ‘stay in love’ – and they graciously obliged.  I have to say I was in tears after reading their super hero powers wanted – I’m pretty sure they have to do with fun fact #4 – so I am leaving that for the end of the post.

Hi all!  We are Chris and Ali Haskell.

In recent years, we have received a number of compliments on our marriage and relationship. We’ve been asked many times what our “secret” is.  While no marriage is perfect, we have discovered a few things that help us feel connected and in love.

We still consider ourselves in the “honeymoon stage” of marriage as we have only just entered our 18th year as man and wife. It hasn’t all been rainbows and unicorns, but we know that a successful marriage takes work and are enjoying the journey together. We are privileged to have 4 mostly sweet children who are all now in school and able to babysit themselves! It’s a whole new world!  We are one of those strange couples who enjoy being together as much as possible and have recently discovered our perfect date: Cycling to a specific destination to eat yummy food, and if it’s not too late, watching a movie before riding home! (to a spotless house, of course! There are some sacrifices we accept to date.)

Staying madly in love is easy, we simply never stopped courting one another. Post-marriage courting is our key.

1. Surprises

We have a habit of trying to surprise one another.  These can be physical gifts, a special something that one of us needs or wants but didn’t ask for like new underwear (the functional kind, not recreational). They can also be of the service or activity type like the time my husband surprised me with a Glass Blowing class, or washed, folded and put away all of the backed up laundry while I was away.  Unexpected gifts are fun to give and serve as a reminder that the other is thinking of us.

2. Eating together

As much as we love each other, we love to eat.  Why not combine the two? We make food together, wait to eat together, and love trying new or favorite restaurants.  Eating and sharing foods bring us closer together. Sometimes we’ll plan a picnic or lunch nearby his work.  It feels like a stolen date and makes the day go faster.

3. Touching

While many people would describe this as PDA (or a public display of affection), we consider it part of being in a room together. Whether riding in the car, working in the kitchen, or sitting in church, holding hands, tangling feet, or sweetly caressing one another is standard.  It keeps us feeling close.

4. Kissing closet

After being shoved into the pantry by grossed-out children who didn’t want to see their parents kiss, regular “meet me in the closet” rendezvous became a regular in our courting. Sneaking away and hiding out is fun and sweet.

Are they looking…

Oh good.

5. Dancing

We slow dance in a crowded kitchen, in the frozen food aisle, in the church foyer, or anywhere the mood strikes us. Sometimes these tangos last only a few seconds but each one gives us the opportunity to look into each other’s eyes, smile, and feel close.

6. Regular Dating

A date a week minimum, no exceptions!  These dates may include movies, food, activities, riding bikes, hiking, or anything that we both consider fun.  They do not include shopping for groceries, tuning the car, or things that might cause a certain husband to whine like a puppy at night. Dates should be fun for both.

7. Weekend getaways

Extended dates have taken us to Seattle, San Francisco, Phoenix, or even our own home minus kids. They can be long or as short as overnight. The key is that the kids are being otherwise cared for and time is only devoted to each other. Nothing resets a romance like a short escape. 

8. Be quick to apologize

Winning is not important. This is not something I knew anything about before we were married and it’s a good thing my husband is a patient man. Chances are, one of you is better at this and can teach the other.  Remember that marriage is not 50/50, it’s more like 90/90, or at least should feel that way if it is working correctly.

9, and 10

Things that would not be appropriate to list here.  This is a family-friendly site, after all. But for a married couple in love, it is important to find time to share intimate time. Everything in the world will try and prevent this from happening. For that reason, it is important to make it a priority, even schedule it. In fact, sometimes the hunt is more fun than the kill, so to speak. Stolen glances, a suggestive touch as you walk by, or a flirtatious text message can build anticipation for “special time.”

“Yeah – I was looking:)” – Missy

These are the things that work for us.  Perhaps reading them you think to yourself, “we do that.”  That’s good.  But what ever you do to make time for one another is good too.  It’s all about making the other feel special, loved, and appreciated.  That’s the secret.

Five Fun Facts about Chris and Ali

1.  Chris and Ali were both cheerleaders at Boise State in the 90’s.  Chris proposed to Ali as the school mascot, Buster Bronco, at a Boise State basketball game.

2.  Ali was a gymnast and can still flip and tumble.

3.  Chris gained 100 lbs after they got married and then lost it.

4.  Two of the the Haskell’s four children suffer from Cystic Fibrosis.

5.  Contrary to popular belief, Chris believes it HAS been all “rainbows and unicorns.”

Superhero powers?  Yes.

Ali would like to slow or stop time and Chris would like to be able to heal people with a touch.

What do YOU do to keep that spark HOT?

We are linking up to these fabulous link parties.  Thanks for hosting gals!

Keep the spark HOT

    1. June 1st, 2010 at 6:55 am
      Jamie M says:
      AHHH that is so sweet, thanks so much for sharing!! My hubs and I have been married for 8 years and I still feel like we are in the honeymoon stage :), I hope we are still that way in 18 years.
      .-= Jamie M´s last blog ..Grape Salad =-.
    2. June 1st, 2010 at 7:37 am
      Sheri says:
      So sweet! Mike and I have been married for 18 years (19 this year) and reflect exactly what they are saying. A while back I took the "100 day challenge" (Not family friendly LOL) and I can tell you it turned into a HUGE blessing. I'd scream it from the mountaintops if it wasn't,so, you know, private.
      .-= Sheri´s last blog ..2 boys + 1 bottle of shampoo = loads of fun =-.
      • February 8th, 2013 at 10:57 am
        Jessica says:
        I'm intrigued by this "100 day challenge" you speak of. What is it?!
    3. June 1st, 2010 at 8:10 am
      Pam @ diy Design Fanatic says:
      The Haskell's sound like a very positive couple! We do many of the above, except we don't always have a date night every week. Our kids are teenagers, so we are spending a lot more time together as a couple now, though. I would add to the above list to have a dream together... whether it be a vacation to Italy or building a new home... this keeps you looking in the same direction for the future. My husband and I have been happily married for 24 years and we are more in love with each other than the day we married and are best friends.
      .-= Pam @ diy Design Fanatic´s last blog ..Happy Memorial Day Weekend! =-.
    4. June 1st, 2010 at 8:38 am
      Shelley says:
      This gives me goosebumps. Seriously they are the most adorable couple. I love watching them together and seeing them constantly flirting. My husband and I are really lucky to know them. :) -{Get a room Haskells!} ;)
      • June 1st, 2010 at 11:00 am
        Shelley says:
        Also, I am fairly certain your love story will someday be made into a romantic comedy. :) Big money is heading your way! ;)
    5. June 1st, 2010 at 8:46 am
      Stacia says:
      What a sweet post!!! Great ideas here!
      .-= Stacia´s last blog ..Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls =-.
    6. June 1st, 2010 at 8:46 am
      Mary Joy @ Snapshots from my Heart & Home says:
      I love this article!!! I agree 100% with all of these!!! We are actually newlyweds...both of us age 42. Between the two of us we have 3 children...2 yrs old, 7 yrs old, and 14 yrs old. We didn't have a chance to get a go away alone honeymoon because of the school year and lack of babysitter to watch them we decided to create an every night honeymoon...blessing each other everyday. I am so glad that we did...we look forward to sneaking away sometime soon...maybe an over night sometime this summer...but for now...we sneak away at nap/quiet time for our "uhmmmm private time". ((grin))
      .-= Mary Joy @ Snapshots from my Heart & Home´s last blog ..Its Time To Say Thank You =-.
    7. June 1st, 2010 at 9:05 am
      Amber says:
      What a great post thanks for shareing!
    8. June 1st, 2010 at 9:11 am
      Ashley O. says:
      This was such a great read! Thanks for sharing what works for you, Chris and Ali!
      Please check out The Gratitude Project- An Expression of Thanks at
      .-= Ashley O.´s last blog ..The Gratitude Project =-.
    9. June 1st, 2010 at 9:17 am
      Jennifer says:
      "'s more like 90/90..."

      What a great way of expressing that! :)
    10. June 1st, 2010 at 9:34 am
      Jessica Gabriel says:
      Loved all of it :) Some things we've done together is fly by the seat of our pants... whether it was getting married after only 3 months, having kids or moving from house to house, we just trusted in our ability to make everything okay in the end. And we laugh everyday. everyday. We also try to 'bend' for each other: for example, he used to be the one who always apologized after a fight (because I was off pouting or slamming cupboard doors - now I suck up my ego and search him out to apologize. And what does he do to 'bend' for me... after 10 years of nagging and finding every possible way to accommodate him to put his clothes IN the laundry hamper... he is getting.... better! haha
      and I LOVE the daisy on thier door! Right from the front door you know you are entering a bright, fun, welcoming place. I wish I knew this people and could have the pleasure of their company :)
    11. June 1st, 2010 at 10:15 am
      Jen says:
      Wow...what a great story, thanks for sharing. My husband and I will celebrate our 15th anniversary this year and share many of the same rules for happy marriage. I think another important one is to surround yourself with "Happily Marrieds". Not that we would cut off friends who were having trouble, but by and large the people we spend the most time with are also happily married and it helps all of us :)
    12. June 1st, 2010 at 10:43 am
      Ashley says:
      GREAT article! Keeping this one & implementing new things!!! Thanks girls!!!
    13. June 1st, 2010 at 10:44 am
      Tiffani says:
      This was such a fun post to read - I haven't seen Ali and Chris for ages. You both lookas great as ever and, of course, so in love! It was fun reading your suggestions for staying in love.
    14. June 1st, 2010 at 10:54 am
      Loretta says:
      They are a great example to follow!
      Lately some major stresses have found their way into our lives. It's not easy to remember to put each other first when the possibility of job loss looms ahead, but after being married 15 years, one of us always finds our inner passion and wants to share.
      When I feel like we're struggling a little I will increase the kisses. Every chance I get I will not only kiss, but kiss as if I couldn't live without that one kiss. By the second day, he's finding ways to get his kisses in too. Then even the toughest stresses seem lighter.
    15. June 1st, 2010 at 11:14 am
      Michelle M says:
      What a sweet post. Loved it! I TOTALLY agree with everything said. My husband and I are also one of those "weird" couples that love spending every second together! The one thing on the list that I NEED to start doing is dates! We have wanted to start but it is sooo difficult with 4 small children 5 and under! And no family close by to babysit! But the one about hiding in the closet is TOTALLY us!! lol We are always having to do that!!
      .-= Michelle M´s last blog ..Our weekend =-.
    16. June 1st, 2010 at 11:30 am
      janet e. says:
      I loved this feature. I especially loved the idea of cycling to your date destination. Great idea in intend to copy!

    17. June 1st, 2010 at 11:56 am
      Tami Higbee says:
      Those two do not look like they could have been married for 18 years! They look so young!! What a great example they are! Thnaks for sharing!!
      .-= Tami Higbee´s last blog ..Anniversary Update =-.
    18. June 1st, 2010 at 12:42 pm
      Deana says:
      I Love this post!!! We love the Haskels too. They are wonderful people to be around. Their kids are amazing too. I think one of the greatest gifts we can give to our kids is to be in love with each other and show it. We just celebrated our 14th anniversary and are more in love now than ever. Our weekly dates are a must for us. Even when our kids were young, and we struggled to find babysitters, we still felt this was a must do. Now our kids our old enough to babysit and life is fabulous!!!!! Thanks for the awesome post!!!
    19. June 1st, 2010 at 1:16 pm
      Jennifer says:
      What a great couple. Thanks for sharing!
    20. June 1st, 2010 at 3:50 pm
      Kasey says:
      Great post. I think this is a great reminder.
      .-= Kasey´s last blog ..3 Months =-.
    21. June 1st, 2010 at 4:30 pm
      Jessi says:
      My husband and I have only been married for 18 months so are spark is still new... but these are great ideas for us to start now! Thanks for sharing and for being good examples to us newlyweds.
    22. June 1st, 2010 at 4:37 pm
      Jenn says:
      This is great inspiration to rekindle that honeymoon spirit. Thanks!
      .-= Jenn´s last blog ..Child's Name Plaque =-.
    23. June 1st, 2010 at 4:40 pm
      Story Lady says:
      I really LOVED this post! Really timely for me. I hope you don't mind that I linked it up on my site at

      I absolutely love marriage, and it is so great to see lasting love. Thank you so much! You guys look great together!
      .-= Story Lady´s last blog ..Happy Days Will Come Again =-.
    24. June 1st, 2010 at 5:42 pm
      terri says:
      this was a really sweet post! i think we follow a lot of these things. i think learning to forgive is a big one and not going to bed mad is another. all relationships are work, but in the long run, they are sooo worth it!!! what an adorable couple! even their pictures evoke signs of 'love'!
      .-= terri´s last blog ..i heart long weekends!! =-.
    25. June 1st, 2010 at 7:19 pm
      Courtney says:
      Thank you so much for sharing this. All of us who are married hope that we can keep the spark, and sometimes once kids, work, and day to day life comes into play we lose bits and pieces of it. You two are inspirational after that many years of marriage. Glad you are able to share with the rest of us. :)
    26. June 1st, 2010 at 9:04 pm
      Danielle says:
      I love this post! We have a lot to learn.

      A funny little tidbit...I read the end of #3 as "sweaty caressing." Entirely different meaning!
      .-= Danielle´s last blog ..Funniest Blogs on the Internet-Post #3 =-.
    27. June 1st, 2010 at 10:13 pm
      Liz@HoosierHomemade says:
      Such a great post! It's so nice to read something positive happening in a marriage, nowadays, you don't hear that too often!
      Thanks so sharing them with us and thanks for the tips! Even those of us that have been married 22 years, need some reminders :-)
      .-= Liz@HoosierHomemade´s last blog ..June Menu Plan ~ 2010 =-.
    28. June 2nd, 2010 at 6:02 am
      meghan says:
      All I can say is WoW!
      .-= meghan´s last blog ..Thank God, I got an adorable kid! =-.
    29. June 2nd, 2010 at 9:37 am
      Mela Kamin says:
      Adorable! I've been seeing so many marriage posts lately ... makes me really think about mine and how intentional I've been (or haven't been) at making my husband a priority. This was so lovely and I hope to set an example like Chris & Ali for others to see. Congrats and many blessings on your marriage!
    30. June 2nd, 2010 at 9:58 am
      sharongilo says:
      Wow, and you actually had time to put this post together ... congratulations on knowing that marriage takes attention! I've got 20 suggestions in my little book that you and your readers would like, in addition to your 10, "A Short Guide to a Happy Marriage" (Boston Globe #1 pick). Come by and visit @ and sign up for my weekly "nice behavior" to give your spouse @

      Continued best luck to you!!
    31. June 2nd, 2010 at 11:22 am
      Jelli says:
      So cute! I loved reading these ideas and it made me happy to know that Husband and I do most of them on a regular basis, although we've only been married a little over 18 months. Happy couples like these are a rare gem these days, and I aspire to be like them into 50+years of marriage!
      .-= Jelli´s last blog ..CHOCOLATE!!! =-.
    32. June 3rd, 2010 at 10:43 am
      Jessa says:
      This is seriously cute!
      .-= Jessa´s last blog ..Father's Day Ideas ~Blog Hop~ =-.
    33. June 3rd, 2010 at 12:00 pm
      Marie says:
      I love the kissing closet! Looks like I need to make a little more room in my own pantry... :)
    34. June 3rd, 2010 at 4:26 pm
      Emily says:
      I Love this post!!! We love the Haskels too. They are wonderful people to be around. Their kids are amazing too. I think one of the greatest gifts we can give to our kids is to be in love with each other and show it. We just celebrated our 14th anniversary and are more in love now than ever. Our weekly dates are a must for us. Even when our kids were young, and we struggled to find babysitters, we still felt this was a must do. Now our kids our old enough to babysit and life is fabulous!!!!! Thanks for the awesome post!!!
    35. June 3rd, 2010 at 8:22 pm
      Kathleen says:
      I love your blog and look at it frequently for ideas of fun things to do around the house, with my girls. I was shocked and uplifted to see that you can do all this with two children with Cystic Fibrosis! I have one daughter with Cystic Fibrosis and was wondering if you wanted to share any of your "best tips" for managing CF, medication, physio, etc with your readers?
      God Bless from Calgary, Alberta
    36. June 3rd, 2010 at 10:34 pm
      emily says:
      This post is so fun. When I first met these two I thought they had to be newlyweds! Glad they can teach us so much!
    37. June 3rd, 2010 at 11:18 pm
      Spencer says:
      What a sweet and lovely post. It's so easy to get caught up in the every day things of life. This was a great reminder.

      Warm blessings,
    38. June 4th, 2010 at 4:01 pm
      Holly says:
      Loved the ideas and the pictures are too cute!! By the way, where did the Haskells get the big flower on their front door? It's FAB!
    39. June 5th, 2010 at 12:56 pm
      Jackie says:
      How totally sweet!! I am proud to say Chris and Ali are family and I have always admired them for their beautiful relationship!! How fabulous that we now know some of your tricks! And their kids (although not mentioned in great length here) are also 4 amazing kids! You can see that the love Ali and Chris have for eath other extends down through their children. That are all so loving...a truly beautiful and blessed family!
    40. June 7th, 2010 at 6:23 am
      karen w says:
      Loved the story....I also have a 28 year old daughter with husband and I are still madly in love after 24 is something that is a priority are relationship is very important and not always easy.....but he still gives me butterflies when I see him....I may incorporated a few of your ideas....Love and peace...karen
    41. June 8th, 2010 at 6:51 pm
      HeidiE says:
      What a great post. Now why can't Hollywood have movies like this? Hubby and I have been married 18 years also. Love him more and more every day. One thing we have is a "love note" journal. It's really just a composition book I But every day without fail we both write something to each other. Someitmes its pages, sometimes its just a paragraph. Whats ever on our hearts at the time. We do go on dates and such but this keeps us connected when the day to day stuff takes over your know work, the kiddos, chores and such. I can hardly wait to read my hubby's "love" letter to me everyday and when we leave this earth my kids will have a written legacy of our love for each other.
      • August 2nd, 2010 at 3:14 pm
        Ali says:
        I will definitely steal this idea! I love that we can all share our ideas with each other here. I learn so much from all of you. Thanks, How Does She! : )
    42. June 22nd, 2010 at 5:33 pm
      Date Ideas Phoenix says:
      Your suggestion for regular dating is crucial - I think it is a great idea, and one that I often hear come up in marriage advice. Plus it's fun, so why not? Thanks for the great post.
      .-= Date Ideas Phoenix´s last blog ..Birdwatch (or hike and camp) at Chiricahua National Monument =-.
    43. July 12th, 2010 at 10:47 pm
      Bridgette Knowlson says:
      You guys sound so awesome! My hubby and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary this last May, and we definitely need some more sparks. We also have 4 kids, one who is in heaven and his twin has CF, and 2 healthy children. How do you do it with 2 having CF and still have time for being a couple? Thanks for the "love"ly tips!
      • August 2nd, 2010 at 3:26 pm
        Ali says:
        Thanks for your post. You are so sweet. We have found that it's especially important that we find time for each other because we have 2 kids that have required a lot of our energy and time. Now that our kids are older, though, we have taught them to be responsible for their own care. They do their own treatments now (mostly) and take their daily meds themselves. Of course it takes a lot of reminders, but doesn't require the time it used to when they were little. Luckily, my husband is able to escape for lunch some days and I plan my schedule around it. Sometimes we don't know until an hour before if he will be able to, but we are spontaneous people. So, we sneak a date in when the kids are at school and it gets us through the rest of the day!
    44. August 18th, 2010 at 5:01 pm
      Kennedy Haskell says:
      I love my mom and dad, but this can be a little gross. I hope that when I grow up i have a marriage like theirs. I love you mom!!!
    45. April 11th, 2011 at 3:59 pm
      Laura M. Brotherson says:
      Love this kissing closet idea! Visit our follow-up article about this kissing closet idea! ( If you have a kissing closet, send us your kissing closet photos by visiting the link above! Thanks Chris and Ali for the super fun ideas!
    46. July 12th, 2011 at 1:56 am
      Antoniya says:
      Wow! me and my hubby have an elevator make-out tradition (similar to the kissing closet)!!! Every time we get in an elevator by ourselves we start making-out, and it really makes you loooooove the slow elevators that are otherwise so annoying! And we have our secret language - when the waiter sucks, we want to leave that booooring party, or 'don't say this in front of my mum!'...hhehehe we always find the right words to just suggest what we are thinking - makes us feel us against the world!!! Great story :)
    47. February 8th, 2013 at 9:01 am
      Samantha says:
      It wasn't until a year ago I realized I wanted to be married. And I'm pretty sure it took me so long to figure this out because I've seen nothing but poor marriages and I have no idea what a good marriage looks like. Since then I've been searching, reading and observing marriages in hopes of finding tips that will help a marriage be good. This blog gives me hope. Thanks!
    48. February 8th, 2013 at 2:09 pm
      Tania says:
      I love this article! I'm glad to know we're not the only "Pantry Rendesvous-ers". I hope that my kiddos are still oblivious about it! We'll celebrate our 20th anniversary next month!
    49. February 9th, 2013 at 9:09 am
      Kate says:
      That's exactly how my husband and I met too!! Same university and everything! How funny. Thanks for this! Very good read.
    50. February 10th, 2013 at 12:38 am
      Tiffany says:
      I have some of those same rules. We have been married for 16 years...We were high School Sweethearts and got married as soon as we graduated. We chose to do a "ONCE A WEEK", instead of surprises that way we MAKE ourselves try every week to come up with something. We also have one main rule...THAT NO ONE SITS BETWEEN US. Not even at church! Another favorite is that we share a drink, in the beginning it was to save money but now it's just keeps us connected. Even at home with meals we still share a drink. Date night is ALWAYS FRIDAY and that is even if we can't get a babysitter. We plan a picnic in bed or games or just talk without any interuptions.
      THANKS for all your great ideas!
    51. February 10th, 2013 at 8:47 pm
      Kailey lock-Smith says:
      Love this blog. So cute. :) huge BSU fans lol
    52. March 5th, 2013 at 10:29 am
      Cara says:
      Great tips & you look so happy! But... can you offer some actual-practical tips for me & my man? With 5 kids, homeschooling, owning our own lawn care business, and not having any family to help with child care, your tips sound to me like totally unreachable for us. Our oldest is almost 11, so not old enough to leave all the 'littles' with and go out for a date or weekend get-away. (And we can't afford to hire a babysitter very often). To be honest, it has been extremely hard lately to feel connected and in love. You two do look great, but to be honest, it looks a little fairy-tale-ish when I'm looking at implementing it in our crazy life. Any tips would be great :)
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