A good, strong marriage doesn’t just happen. Marriage takes work. It’s hard work, but it is rewarding work. Keeping your marriage strong means you have to first be friends, which doesn’t just happen. You have to actually spend time together. You have to spend time doing things you enjoy. You have to prioritize one another where you are given time to connect and talk.
Keeping marriage strong means you need some hard stops. You need to set in motion times during the week when you know you and your spouse will take time to connect. They should be non-negotiable times, meaning there is nothing more important and you do everything you can to guard this time with your spouse.
Here are 4 hard stops Mark and I have implemented each week to ensure that busyness does not crowd out “marriage building” from our schedule.
4 Tips for Keeping Marriage Strong
1. Date Nights. Every Thursday night, you will find our computers shut off, telephones on silent, and baby in bed on time (if not early). This is the night of the week we have set aside time to just hang out, talk, and do something fun together.
When I share on Facebook that tonight is date night, I always get the most interesting comments. I quickly realized that people thought we got dressed up, hired a babysitter, and shared romantic kisses under the stars in the nearby park every single week. Uhh…sorry, but no. We’re regular ol’ people just like you.
More often than not, we have what we call date night-in. Sometimes, we make it really special using these tips from Anne at Quick and Easy, Cheap and Healthy, or we’ll pull from this list of 42 Date Night Ideas.
2. Game Nights. One of my readers told me that she and her husband have a game night each week. I thought this was brilliant and mentioned it to the man of my prayers. He quickly agreed. Now, every Tuesday night, we wrap up our evening early and spend time playing board games or cards. We usually play one of these 5 board games as a couple.
3. Exercise together. We have a shared interest in road biking. Where we live now, it is easy for me to load Samuel up in the car after we’ve had lunch and meet Mark at his office. We ride from there for about an hour or so. Samuel rides behind us in a cart, and we get time to chit chat and exercise together. It’s a mini-date night in the middle of the day. It works best if Samuel eats his lunch in his chariot!
Maybe for you it’s a post dinner walk. We’ll do this sometimes, putting Samuel in his stroller. We’ve played tether ball at our neighborhood park while Samuel plays in the rocks or swings. Be creative!
4. Relax and do nothing together. Sunday evenings we like to wind down in the jacuzzi out back. I realize this is a luxury not everyone has, but if you do, don’t let it sit there unused. Make time for it. Or if you’re one of those with a big master bath tub, don’t let it sit there collecting dust (or worse become your child’s swimming pool of rubber duckies). Put these things to good use in keeping your marriage strong. Don’t save them for vacations or bed and breakfasts!
If you don’t have either of these, you can still relax and do nothing together. Curl up on the couch. Read a book in each other’s presence. Just sit together for a few minutes doing nothing and relax. It’s worth it!
These are four things that the man of my prayers and I do every week (almost without fail). These times are important to us, and we make time for them in our schedule. Mark even tries to schedule his travel dates around our hard stops, and we have a better marriage for it.