Jill: Do you have a routine for your marriage in the morning and evening? When we were first married, our days were a blank slate. We had to learn each other’s habits and before we knew it our lives had meshed together in small routines.
Mark: Whether that is always kissing each other good morning or goodnight, sharing a cup of coffee in the morning before work (or a cup of tea in Jill’s case), or even stealing a few moments together after the children are in bed, these small routines can be major parts of helping you feel connected as a couple.
Jill: On the flip side, if these routines have not developed naturally, you may feel like you are working against your spouse as you struggle to get ready and get everyone out the door in the morning without getting frustrated with one another.
Mark: We can even feel as though we aren’t being helped by our partner between getting the kids ready, packing lunches, getting ready for work, and so much more. That can breed more frustration.
Jill: The good news is that new routines can be developed! The truth is that you have to push through awkward to find a new normal. All it takes is a little planning and intentionality to feel more aligned with each other’s needs. Since we’re at the start of a new year, now is the perfect time to try something new!
Mark: For many years, we just drifted along and didn’t prioritize our routines in the morning or the evening. We would do our own thing, waking up at different times and going to bed at different times, which ultimately led to disconnection.
Jill: We often say “In marriage, if you’re not rowing, you’re drifting.” Just because we are married doesn’t mean we are automatically growing closer to one another. It takes intentional thought and small tweaks to our routines each day.
Mark: Speaking of routines, have you heard of our Date Night community? As a member, you’ll have access to monthly resources like done-for-you dates, double dates with us (10-20 minute practical teachings available in video and audio format), and deep dive interviews featuring the wisdom and experience of marriage experts on important marriage topics like parenting, in-laws, sex, broken trust, money, and much more. As a bonus, we’re kicking off 2024 with Great Sexpectations: Your 8-Week Guide to Better Sex. Get started with your 7-day free trial today!
Jill: Alright, here are a few small adjustments we’ve personally made to our routines to build connection with one another:
- Talk and pray together. Seems simple, right? When we pray, we have the opportunity to align our own desires to God’s. We also have the opportunity to talk directly to God lifting up to Him whatever is on our hearts. By intentionally taking time to talk and pray together in the mornings, we have built-in space to share with our spouse what’s on our mind for the day, what they need to know, and anything that’s causing us worry or anxiety. If it works to fit this in as a way to connect before the day begins, this is a great way to communicate to your spouse that their needs are a top priority for you.
- Exercise together. For us, daily exercise has been one of the best shifts in our daily connection. Not only are we prioritizing our physical health together, and able to keep each other accountable, it gives us time spent together as well. Even if it’s not spent talking about something specific, togetherness is a simple way to connect to one another. (By the way, we do our exercise at home using YouTube. We usually do 20 minutes of Holy Yoga and then 20 minutes of exercise.)
- Don’t count out morning sex. Did you know that, for most people, mornings are the times when our bodies are most responsive to sex? Rather than waiting until the evening, what if a couple of times a week you made it part of your routine to connect in the bedroom at the start of the day? How might that improve your connection to one another? Even if it includes waking up a little earlier than normal, connectedness in your marriage this way may be well worth the sacrifice.
- Plan for the morning the night before, or have a coffee date first thing in the morning. Many couples find it helpful to have a “team meeting” at the end of each day to plan out what they need tomorrow. On the other hand, taking time for a quick coffee date in the morning can serve the same purpose. Talk through some of these questions: What will the day look like tomorrow and what do we need from each other? Is there anything that either of you need to adjust about your schedule or expectations to make the day a success?
- Take time for a holding hug and kiss. (Learn more about what this is here.) This is a simple shift that can make a huge difference in your connection. Taking the time to just hold one another doesn’t take much time and is such a meaningful way to connect your hearts before the day unfolds. Where could you fit a holding hug and kiss in your morning?
- Take a walk after dinner. This is a favorite activity for me (Jill). Mark doesn’t particularly love walking, but he loves me and says this is one way he can speak my Quality Time love language!
- 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. A simple gesture of sitting next to your spouse instead of across the room from them communicates how much you value them and want to be near them.
- Put your phones away. Even 30 minutes without your phones can make a difference! (We also make dinner time a no-phone-zone and we have decided to have no phones in our bedroom.)
- Give each other a back rub or a foot rub. Mark doesn’t like receiving a foot rub or back rub but I (Jill) love BOTH! I’m so grateful he’s willing to oblige!
- Read a marriage book together and talk about what you’re reading. Even reading and talking about what you read 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!
- Play a game instead of watching television once a week. Yahtzee, Bananagrams, Kings in The Corner card game, and Double Solitaire are some of our favorites!
- 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. We’ve found this increases the likelihood of bedtime conversations that didn’t typically happen when we went to bed at different times.
- 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!
- Set aside one evening a week to learn something together in marriage. Whether it’s a book, a sermon, a YouTube video, becoming a 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.
Jill: Did you see something from our suggestions that you would like to implement in your own marriage? Remember: A connected marriage doesn’t just happen on its own.
Mark: In our marriage, we’ve found being intentional about connecting has absolutely been worth it! Even trying to start just one of these routines in 2024 can have a big impact on your relationship.
Want regular encouragement?
Subscribe to get Jill's latest content by email.