If you are like me, you may be guilty of packing your husbands and kids off to bed so you can get your zombie on in front of the TV or bury your nose (and all thoughts about the pile of dishes in your sink) in a good book. Many a mom has allowed the sweet nectar that is Downton Abbey to lull us back to sanity after the fam hits the sheets.
1.) Go To Bed At The Same Time As Your Spouse (hint, hint)
However, going to bed together allows for much needed adult time (bow chicka wow wow) and zombie vision isn’t doing your complexion any favors.
2.) Sleep Naked
Yep, I said it. Getting into bed in the same yoga pants the kids have wiped their hands and noses on all day is the modern day equivalent of the 1950′s HIS and her twin beds. Get in bed in the buff and get it on. Seriously.
3.) Take a walk, do an exercise video, or go to the gym TOGETHER.
Did option #2 make you cringe a bit? Are you thinking, “Bikini body, ha!, I don’t even have a walk-naked-from-the-bathroom-to-the-bed-body.” Exercising with your partner is a great way to relieve stress, which limits arguments, and will help you both feel better about your bodies, which is great for your love life.
4.) Make Dinner and Family Time a “No Phone Zone”
(Loudspeaker) Put down the smartphone and slowly back away! Sure, you might get a little itchy and twitchy thinking about your next gadget fix, but come on, cut the friggin’ cord already. Is there anything sadder than a family out for dinner with each person, kids included, staring at a screen instead of the person in front of them? Consider the message you send your spouse (and your kids) when your smartphone, tablet or computer gets more face time with you than they do.
5.) Plan your meals for the week and stick to it.
If this conjures up images of the 1950′s housewife quickly followed by an overwhelming gag reflex, stay with me. Wouldn’t you love to stop having the “I dunno, what do you want to eat?” discussion? You know, where one person can’t think of any ideas and the other person comes up with several suggestions only to have them shot down? This makes me crazier than Fiona Apple, so we do our best to meal plan. Hey, it protects your budget, your health, and your sanity.
6.) Make a Love List
Write down the top 5 reasons that made you fall in love with your spouse and give it to them to keep in their wallet. Ask them to do the same. Call me old-fashioned, but a text or an email is about as romantic as bringing your kids with you on a date. So please, write it down. A handwritten note is a wonderful keepsake, especially on the tough days when you might need the reminder of why you are together.
7.) Make Out At The Movies
Try to remember how you felt when you were first dating. The land of first kisses, “No, you hang up first.” and making googly eyes at each other. You know, back when your partner made your heart go pitter-patter and your first thought wasn’t “Gee, I better get an EKG and a stress test.” So, in the interest of reclaiming a taste of your early days, I say find a local drive-in movie you have no interest in watching and make out the whole time. (Just keep it G rated. Nothing kills a date like a ticket for indecent exposure in public.
8.) Share Your Bucket List
Ask your spouse about their bucket list. Be sure not to do this right after an argument so they don’t get the wrong impression. “So, honey, what would you like to do before you die?” Done with proper timing, like a date night or during a long car trip, it will give you great insight into your partner’s hopes and dreams and can make for a fun conversation.
9.) Reaffirm Your Vows
I’ve always like the idea of a renewing the vows ceremony. In fact, why not have fun with it? Make the dog the ring bearer, read new vows to each other by the beach, redo your wedding without your drunk uncle and the $50 dollar a head rubber chicken… the options are endless. Of course, sometimes the best move is simple, honest and spontaneous. Why not just stop your spouse right in their tracks, look in their eyes, and say “I am so glad I married you, and I would do it again right now.”
10.) Pray Together
Marriage is a long road. Sometimes that road feels like a wide open, freshly paved interstate and other times it feels like you’re trapped in rush hour with no AC after a bran muffin and a double espresso. Marriage is a team sport to be sure, but the best marriage is a team of 3- you, your spouse and Jesus. Include Him in your decisions, ask Him to mediate your disagreements through His word and ask for His help every day. Marriage doesn’t have to feel like a heavy burden when you let our Lord do the heavy lifting.
Final note: obviously there are a plethora of ways to improve your marriage, these are just a few that are easy to implement right now. Serious problems require serious prayer, time, effort and even professional help. The best way to have the marriage you want is to do the work and start it today. Marriage is a lot like gardening and going to the gym- if you want results, you have to earn them.