Today marks 18 years that I have been married to my husband. In that time we have had our ups and downs. We have had times where I feel like we can read each other’s thoughts and times where I wondered if we were even in the same book, let alone on the same page. And we have 6 kids at home who are also in need of our attention. Through it all I have discovered a few things that have helped me to feel more connected to my husband.
1. COOK MEALS TOGETHER
We can’t always take time alone when we want. Instead, of trying to find moments to get away, we make an effort to reconnect in the midst of all the madness. Fixing meals together is a great way to do that.
While one person stirs, the other one chops, and you can discuss current events, that crazy thing your toddler did yesterday, what is going to happen next on that TV show, or how you’re doing on accomplishing your goals. The topic isn’t really important; taking advantage of an opportunity where you are both in the same place to have a good conversation is.
Whether you are fixing a meal for your family or a meal for the two of you, use that time to be together.
2. PUT DOWN THE PHONE
Being in the same room but occupied by different things is good. Being in the same room and sharing in the same experiences is better.
We don’t have to eliminate everything that could possibly be a distraction. The goal is not to sit in an empty room staring at each other. The goal is to be fully engaged in whatever it is we are doing together. One of the biggest distractions we face is our smart phones. Sometimes connecting is as simple as not letting the games or social media on our phones occupy us.
Turn the phone off, or at least switch it to silent, put it down, and engage in what is happening with your spouse.
3. DITCH DATE NIGHT
Going out on a date every once in a while, especially if you have kids, is a great idea. What isn’t a great idea is thinking that if you can’t do it the “right” way then it isn’t worth doing at all. So, don’t actually ditch date night, but ditch the idea that date night needs to be something elaborate, special, and dramatically different than your day-to-day.
So many times I have heard people talk about strengthening marriage relationships and the first suggestion was almost always to schedule a regular date night with your spouse. I would usually tune out after that because what most people meant when they said date night was to go out of the house and spend money on dinner and a movie, or a show, or an event, or some other special thing you wouldn’t normally do. That just wasn’t feasible for us financially or logistically most of the time.
Over time I have come to realize that my date night doesn’t need to look like this. We ditched the idea of a special date night and embraced the idea of spending meaningful time together no matter what we were doing. When our oldest kids were younger it was staying up after they were in bed to watch a movie. Now that they are old enough to babysit we can leave kids home to run errands or visit with friends, just the two of us. What we are doing is less important than making sure we do spend time that is just the two of us. We don’t even always leave the house. Sometimes we just stay up late and watch a movie or play a game after the kids are in bed.
Grocery shopping may not be a whole lot of fun or feel very special, but you might be surprised at the conversations that can be started in the cereal aisle you may not have had somewhere else. Give it a shot.
How do you connect with your spouse?