It is easy in marriage to get carried away by daily responsibilities and neglect meaningful talks and leisure time. Prioritizing special times together will keep your relationship alive and growing. Making time together daily to connect and share hopes, dreams, fears, and opinions is important to foster a deep friendship. Your spouse should be your best friend- the person that you go to first to share your joys, disappointments, dreams, hopes and fears. Daily rituals of talk time might include a cup of coffee early in the morning, daily walks, or a cup of sleepy tea before bed. The idea is to carve out time to foster the friendship. Talking about problems, logistics of schedules and the “to do” list are off limits for this daily connection time. Be vulnerable and share about yourself and in addition to being interested in your spouse’s inner world.
The ritual of dates is essential for staying emotionally connected throughout your marriage. Fun novel experiences keep your relationship alive and growing. Take turns planning creative dates. Play putt-putt, tennis, basketball, bocce ball, or croquet, go bowling, take a cooking or art class together, play cards or a game, do a puzzle together, go to the symphony, have a picnic, go bike riding or take a dance class. Have fun and laugh together. If finances or children do not allow you to go out, put the kids to bed early and plan a date at home. At home dates might include listening to romantic music together, dancing, playing games or doing a puzzle, taking an online class, learning a foreign language together, or looking through old couple pictures.
Put a hedge around your dates. Do not discuss controversial subjects. Make a pact to have fun and not argue. If your spouse says something that hurts your feelings, choose to overlook it for the night and believe that your spouse’s intention was not to hurt your feelings. Studies show that couples who are in a cycle of arguing and negativity towards each other can benefit from regular leisure times in addition to getting away for a weekend excursion as a couple. Often cycles of arguing and negativity can be traced to not prioritizing the couple relationship and therefore, losing the connection. A great remedy for this is to put forth the effort to connect with your spouse as you did in the beginning of the relationship. Remember, the goal of dates and leisure time together is to energize the marriage with fun, connection, romance and laughter just as in the beginning of your relationship!