Life is hectic and finding ways to connect with your spouse can prove to be challenging. If you’re both working, you have responsibilities that demand your attention. Thoughts about those demands can creep in and affect your personal time. Balancing work and home life with children takes work to merge these two worlds. Both of you most likely feel stretched and often struggle to find bandwidth to enjoy couple time. Life has a way of pulling couples apart until they have no time left for one another.
Gary and I have had seasons where we have been stretched to our max. He would ask me to do a small errand and I would snap. I would ask him to help me with a computer problem and he would balk. I remember hoping he wouldn’t need much from me at those times, as there wasn’t much left in the tank.
Just like our bodies need vitamins, so does our marriage. A marital vitamin is a daily intake of healthy behaviors that keep the union growing and vital. When there is little shared time with your mate your marriage becomes vitamin depleted. No matter what life throws at you, relational vitamins can keep you feeling close and satisfied. A vitamin can involve small, incremental gestures or larger planned events. As a matter of fact, small increments of daily behavior are more important to a couple’s marital satisfaction than bigger efforts such as a vacation. Each couple determines what types of connections are meaningful for them.
Here’s a marriage vitamin that can help you and your spouse connect more meaningfully during the week. To celebrate Valentine’s Day, sit down together and each of you take a sheet of paper.
1. List 5 small behaviors you enjoy receiving from your mate on a daily basis. See examples below:
- bring me coffee in the morning
- kiss me goodbye when you are leaving
- ask me how my day went when you get home
- hug me for no reason
- tell me you love me
- cuddle before we fall asleep
- bring me water at night
- thank me for something
- set aside 10 minutes to check in on how our day went
Number your preferences 1-5 in the order of their importance to you. Share your lists. Tell your spouse which one or two on their list you will commit to this week. Keep their list handy for future weeks and be sure to do one or two daily.
2. Now list one thing you would like to do each week that would help you meaningfully connect. See examples below:
- spend one evening watching a movie together
- get a babysitter and go on a date
- take a long walk
- plan a fun meal and prepare it together
- star gaze using a cool app
- play a board game
- research fun things to do in the area and plan one for the weekend
- enjoy sexual intimacy
- read a chapter from a book on enhancing your sexual relationship
- pray together
Number your preferences 1-5 in order of importance to you. Place an ‘x’ on any that are not doable for you at this time. See if there is any overlap in your first 5 preferences and commit to doing that this week. If there is any preparation involved, agree together who will be doing the preparation. It is best if both of you can share in the prep!
Leaning in can restore vitality to your relationship and keep you remembering why you said, ‘I do’. Don’t let busyness rob you of these important moments! Please feel free to comment and share fun or meaningful ways you connect with your spouse on a daily or weekly basis!
“I will make you my wife forever, showing you . . . unfailing love and compassion.” (Hosea 2:19)
I was interviewed by Gina Pastore on the “Real LIfe” show for KKLA Radio on 99.5FM about my book, Making Love Last: Divorce-Proofing Your Young Marriage. She asked great questions about the challenges of marriage, how to navigate conflict and how to stay connected in the midst of stress and the busyness of life and much more. You can listen hear to the recorded show!
Happy Valentine’s Day!