Try these three things to enhance your marriage. I can promise you that if you do this, it’ll change the trajectory of your partnership and enhance your marriage. You love your spouse and they love you – sometimes it’s too easy to forget that. Take a risk and talk to them about including some of these things in your daily routine. Even if you’ve been married a very long time, or you are a new couple, these three things are beneficial. They’ve changed our marriage in some very fundamental ways and we wanted to share with you.
1. Have fun together. Without the kids.
You married your partner for a reason. Hopefully you married them for many reasons. What are they? You had to have some shared interests when you got together. Otherwise you wouldn’t have liked them in the first place and made that commitment.
You might be wondering how you can have fun together every day without the kids if you have young ones, or lots of them. Am I suggesting a fancy date every day? No! Flirt with each other. You used to do that when you were dating, try it again! You know what makes your partner laugh, and you know what makes them feel attractive. If you don’t think your spouse is attractive or funny – you need counseling (ha ha – but really!). It takes two seconds to make your partner feel special.
We like to cook together.
Jason and I like cooking and planning meals together. We have taken an interest in exploring restaurants we love, and occasionally we make a quick trip to a local taco shop for a dinner (in the car, thanks Covid) but it allows us the same amount of time as a McDonald’s drive thru meal, but we get to enjoy food we love, and to have a peaceful conversation.
You have to cook dinner anyway, so even if you have family obligations, cook dinner with your spouse. There’s no harm in sneaking in a few hugs or kisses in the kitchen and it feels good! Try it. That spaghetti tastes much better when it’s cooked with love. Trust me on that.
We are also competitive, so racing is a given.
We are also car people and always have been. It’s Jason’s career and his ultimate love language, but it’s mine too. We have always raced each other when we are driving separate vehicles. We own a business together that is car-focused so obviously that helps too.
Back in the day, we had 4 small kids at home, so there were many times when we were driving two cars to the same location in order to keep up with our busy schedules. It was a given that we would always race each other, so you’d see me in my Suburban, and Jason in his car of choice (he’s had 1000 cars, literally, so I can’t pick one kind he’s driven!!) racing around town. It was so fun, and the kids loved it. We still do it now, even when it’s only the two of us driving. I usually win by the way.
Sometimes you need a more special time to have fun together, so you can plan dates, but don’t get lost in not having time or money to go out. Those don’t have to be reasons not to have fun. Dance in your living room, or snuggle up on the couch to watch tv. It feels good to love someone else, and you can also let yourself be loved. We all need to be loved. Having fun together is a good way to do that.
2. Talk before going to bed every night – you can do other fun stuff when you go to bed too 🙂 – but make sure you are communicating with your partner. It’s key!
This one has been a game changer for Jason and I. We reflect on the day and ask questions, like, ‘how was your day?’ That question isn’t the kind that is answered with the general public answer. It’s asked in terms of, ‘how are you really doing?’ We are honest with each other and we talk about our good things, our worries, our fears, and the things only we know about.
Your marriage is your safe place. Trust your partner. If they aren’t listening, point that out, in a kind and gentle way. Let your partner know that you need a safe place to talk and that they want to listen to you. They love you. They want the best for you, and they have good intentions for you. It takes practice to learn how to do this, but it’s so worth it.
We are also Christians, so we have recently started reading a chapter of the Bible a night before we go to bed. It gives us good discussion time, and then we also pray together. It’s an opportunity to pray about the things we are struggling with, and we ask God to help us and to be the center of our marriage. It might look different for you, but that’s what works for us.
We don’t skimp on connecting at the end of the day, and we do it even when we are mad at each other. It’s hard and humbling to do that, but it forces us to connect, even when we are frustrated.
3. Ask the question, ‘What do you need from me?’
This one is particularly helpful when there is conflict or upsetting circumstances going on, but it’s useful in any case, and it’s a valuable question. In the past, Jason and I have tried to fix, change, and/or control circumstances the other one was facing, because we love each other and we don’t want the other person to feel pain or upset.
The problem with that approach is that each one of us is responsible for ourselves and our own behavior. We can’t take the responsibility for the other one, because we both need to be individuals.
When one of us is having a hard time, we try to ask that question first, so that we can be supportive. Sometimes we do need our partner to help with something or engage in solving a problem if it’s something that impacts both of us. Other times, we just need them to listen for awhile. It feels very safe when we do this with each other, and we are sharing our true selves, and the soft and vulnerable parts that we have, so that we can stand in support of one another.
In conclusion, these ideas will enhance your marriage.
These are just a few ideas for you. Talk to your partner about these things. You can’t work on your marriage alone. It takes two willing partners. You married each other for many reasons. I can promise you that your marriage will benefit. It feels awkward at first, but push through that. Commit even 5 minutes a day to working on your relationship. It’s worth it!
Please take any of this that is helpful if you’d like. Otherwise, take what you want and leave the rest. If we can do these things, I know without a doubt that you can do them too.