Do you ever feel like you and your spouse are just going through the motions in marriage? Or like you don’t have as much fun together as you did when you were dating? You’re not alone. Today, we’re sharing a few ideas for how to bring back the fun in your marriage!
Jill: Intimacy doesn’t deepen when we’re operating on autopilot in our marriage. Slowing down and taking time to relate is essential in sustaining intimacy. Plain and simple. As we talk with couples in our marriage coaching or marriage intensives, one of the things we often uncover is the disappointment in how the feeling of passion and excitement when they were dating has “faded.”
Mark: This is normal, and in many ways is a natural development of relationships. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. One of the aspects of a dating relationship that creates that excitement is the fun you have together while you’re dating.
Jill: It’s so true! When you’re dating, you’re trying to impress the other person, coming up with exciting or sweet ideas to connect and spend time together. So if you want to bring back some of that “spark,” it’s time to start having fun together again.
Mark: You can still date your spouse (and you should!)! This means bringing your best self fully present for a specified period of time just as you did when you were single and trying to impress the person you were interested in. As we get older, life gets more and more busy, so you have to set aside space in your days, weeks, and months to nurture your marriage. Create a repeating schedule you both prioritize for time together.
Jill: This can be as simple as the first thirty minutes after the kids are in bed. Ideally, it is once a week or once every other week or, at a minimum, once a month where (if you have kids at home) you get a sitter, let the kids go to grandma’s, trade sitting with another couple, etc., and enjoy some focused time without interruptions. Even if you’re empty nesters, date night is important because you’re getting away from the everyday routine and focusing on each other.
Mark: Jill and I have found that there are three types of dates we need to be having: daily dates, weekly (biweekly or monthly) dates, and annual getaways. Is it easy to make these happen? Not usually. Is it important? Absolutely.
Jill: Daily dates are just the daily connections we have as a couple. A phone call over lunch. A text that says, “I’m thinking of you.” A note in your lunch box. These small acts of kindness keep you moving together rather than apart.
Mark: Weekly dates are regular times you set aside to spend time together. Weekly is ideal, but biweekly or monthly dates are better than nothing! These kinds of regular dates are planned in advance, on the calendar, and protected. Maybe they happen every Friday, or every other Tuesday, or the fourth Saturday of every month. If you have kids at home, you arrange for a college student to babysit, or grandma and grandpa to take care of the kids, or you trade sitting with another couple who also want to take regular date nights. These important times of uninterrupted conversation and focus on each other keep you investing in your relationship when everyday life responsibilities threaten to pull you apart.
Jill: Then there are the annual getaways. Taking some time for a 24-hour to one-week getaway for just the two of you allows you to remember what it’s like to play and explore the world together. (Like joining us for our marriage getaway in Holland, MI.) It gets you away from the daily routines that keep you in relational ruts.
Mark: If you save twenty dollars a month from one anniversary to the next anniversary, you’ll have enough saved for a twenty-four-hour getaway every year! Pretty cool, right?
Jill: Special note to those of you with little ones: Resist the urge to think, We’ll take time for us after the kids are gone. Push through your fear of leaving the kids. You did not take a marriage vow that you would “love, honor, and cherish you until kids do us part.” You are a wife first and a mother second. You are a husband first and a father second. Your kids need to see you prioritize your marriage. They’ll find security in knowing that mommy and daddy are okay.
Mark: Date nights don’t have to mean spending an arm and a leg or even planning out the most extravagant night out on the town. Those times are special, but what truly matters is cultivating a consistent habit of connecting with your spouse.
So today, we wanted to share 15 ideas to help you bring back the fun and connection in your marriage, particularly for those daily or weekly dates:
1) Walk and talk. This is one of our favorites! We love to walk down our country road or drive to a local park and just spend time walking together, connecting, and having small talk.
2) Go for a drive together. You don’t need a destination in mind! Take a drive, enjoy the scenery, explore a new part of town, and simply use the time to have fun and connect.
3) Step into the other person’s world for a night. Often in marriage, we tend to drift towards this mindset: You do what you want. I do what I want. Whenever those overlap, that’s when we connect. This perspective isn’t always a bad one, but it can often be meaningful when we’re willing to step out of what we like and into something our spouse likes. Enjoy their hobby or passion alongside them for a night.
4) Read a book or watch a show together. Love to read? Read something together and talk about it! Prefer to watch something? Pick a show and start watching it together!
5) Try something new in the bedroom. Be a little more adventurous than usual! (P.S. One of Jill’s top episodes on the No More Perfect Podcast is an honest conversation about sex with Jennifer Degler. Listen here.)
6) Go on a double date with a couple you both enjoy. We have a few couples we both get along with really well, and scheduling a double date is always fun. Whether you go out to a restaurant, go bowling, explore a trail, make fun drinks, sit and talk on your porch, etc., this is such a great way to spend time together and make memories with close friends! (Make sure double dates are the exception, not the rule. Time for just the two of you is very important!)
7) Flirt! This is one of those things that typically costs you zero dollars. ZERO. All it costs you is intentionality. Too many couples stop flirting. Bring it back and enjoy the connection, and feel those butterflies again! (Do you struggle to flirt? Download our free Flirt Alert resource!)
8) Make a special dessert or meal together and sit out on the porch and enjoy it. This is always a great option for time spent together. Not only do you get to work on something together, you’re able to take time to enjoy it and talk afterwards.
9) Rent a canoe and spend some time on the water. Some of our funniest memories happened on the water. This is one a lot of couples don’t think about! Whether it’s a romantic evening or a day of exploring with canoes or kayaks, get out and enjoy some time together on the water. Our local state park rents pontoons very affordably. We love doing that too!
10) Meander in and out of shops in a small town nearby. Discover spots in your general area you didn’t know of before! Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s fun to explore somewhere new together.
11) Pack a picnic, spread a blanket at a park, and dream together. There’s just something about a picnic in a park, isn’t there?
12) Break out a board game and get competitive. A favorite game of ours is called Bananagrams. What’s yours? Even if it’s a silly game, have fun playing together.
13) Take a bath or shower together. Romance and fun shouldn’t be separate. This is a great way to bring them together!
14) Revisit a place that holds a special memory for your relationship. When you get there, talk about the memory to reminisce together. What was your relationship like then? How has your life changed since that time?
15) Go to a restaurant you’ve both never been to, and try something you’ve never had. We recently started doing this, where we regularly try to go somewhere in town that neither of us have been to before. We call it “adventure dining.” Even the restaurants we don’t enjoy as much hold fond memories of trying something new together.
This list could go on and on, but we hope you see the point: It’s important to spend time together, and it’s important to keep the fun alive in your relationship.
These are some ideas to get you started, but we’d love to know what you’d add to the list! Comment below with some of your favorite ways to keep fun in your marriage!
Looking for some time away to connect with your spouse and explore a new area? Join us for our marriage getaway in Holland, MI from September 30 – October 2, 2022.
Looking for more marriage resources? Start with No More Perfect Marriages!
Do you feel like your marriage is hanging on by a thread (or you want to make sure it doesn’t get there)? Consider our Marriage 2.0 Intensive that we host right here at our home in Normal, IL. We only work with one couple at a time. We’d love to work with you!
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