What is your evening routine like? Is connecting as a couple something you intentionally do?

Last week, I shared about reaching your goals for the New Year.  Today I want to share about a goal I hope you have in mind for this year: Increasing connection in your marriage. There are many ways to do this, but did you know there are some small tweaks you can make in your evening routine that can make a big difference?

For many years, Mark and I didn’t really prioritize our evenings. We would do our own things, go to bed at different times, or we would each disconnect from the day on our phones.

You may be wondering, why does this matter? Surely it’s not wrong to do our own thing in the evening! That’s true, but like we talked about last week, the goals that matter most to us don’t just happen on their own. They require intentionality.

That’s true for connection in our marriage as well.

Being married doesn’t automatically mean we’re growing closer and closer to one another. You may have heard us say before, “In marriage, if you’re not rowing, you’re drifting.” That is so true. From thoughtful conversation to planned time away together, intentionality goes a long way.

So here are 9 adjustments we’ve personally made to our evening routine that we’ve seen make a huge difference in our connection!

1) Take a walk after dinner.

This is a favorite activity for me. Mark doesn’t love walking, but he loves me and says this is one way he can speak my Quality Time love language!

2) Instead of sitting in separate chairs in the evening, sit next to each other.

This way you can touch or snuggle if you’re reading or watching television together. For us, I move from my favorite chair to sit next to Mark on our love seat where he prefers to sit. It’s not the most comfortable seat for me, but connecting with Mark each evening makes it worth the sacrifice of my favorite chair for an hour or so when we read or watch television together!

3) Put your phones away.

Even 30 minutes without a phone can make a difference! (We also make dinner time a no-phone-zone and we have decided to have no phones in our bedroom.)

4) Give each other a back rub or a foot rub.

Mark doesn’t like receiving a foot rub or back rub but I love BOTH! I’m so grateful he’s willing to oblige!

5) Read a marriage book together and talk about what you’re reading.

Even reading and talking for 15 minutes can make a difference. It once took us nine months to read a marriage book this way but that was okay because the conversations we had really helped us talk deeper than we had in a long time!

Check out our No More Perfect Marriages book if you haven’t read it yet!

6) Play a game instead of watching television once a week.

Yahtzee, Bananagrams, Kings in a Corner card game, and Double Solitaire are some of our favorites!

7) Go to bed at the same time.

If one of you prefers to go to bed earlier than the other, snuggle in bed and talk for a few minutes when the early bird goes to bed. Then the night owl can get back up for a little while before they hit the sack.

In our relationship, I’m the night owl and Mark is the early bird. However, I now go to bed at the same time as Mark but then I read for an hour or longer in bed after Mark turns out his light. We’ve found this increases the likelihood of bedtime conversations that didn’t typically happen when we went to bed at different times.

8) Pray together at night when you crawl in bed.

Just grab hands and pray two or three sentences each.

It took a while for us to be comfortable praying together but we pushed through that awkwardness and created a new normal!

9) Set aside one evening a week to learn something together in marriage.

Whether it’s a book, a sermon, a YouTube video, becoming a No More Perfect Marriages Date Night member, or taking our No More Perfect Marriages Seminar, you’ll likely find that intentionally taking time to learn together promotes healthy conversation and unifies your marriage as you are able to focus on something new together.

What you’ll notice is that in many of these routines, Mark or I have to sacrifice in some way. It’s worth it to us to be intentional about connecting.

A connected marriage doesn’t just happen. A connected marriage is created by intentional routines that nurture intimacy and connection.

So think about your nighttime routine. Is there something you could tweak and do differently so you could be intentional about connecting? Could you choose just one of the above suggestions and start making it happen? Even if your spouse isn’t willing, could you make an adjustment in routine that might increase the possibility of connection on your part?

Let’s make 2022 a year of deeper connection!

P.S. The No More Perfect Marriages Seminar contains four 1-hour online sessions that help you better understand yourself and each other and will equip you to deepen intimacy, communicate intentionally, and connect at a deeper level with one another. These are online video sessions that are accessible anytime for a minimum of 5 years! You can learn more and get the course here.

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