I’m super excited to be teaming up with Elise from Sunday Charm on a new blog series called “3 Ways To…” We’re both going to be blogging about 3 ways to do some different, fun things over the next few months. And as you can see from the title, we’re kicking the series off with a super fun topic and one that’s very close to both of our hearts.
I remember when Stuart and I got engaged, so many people offered marriage advice on a vast array of topics. I appreciated all of it, and still love to hear how couples maintain a loving, passionate marriage through the years. One of the most memorable pieces of advice was to continue to “date each other.”
At first I thought it sounded kind of weird since dating comes before marriage, but once I heard the purpose behind it, it made so much sense. Too many couples get married, have kids, and then allow their lives to be consumed with their children. Once their kids grow up and they become empty nesters, they realize they don’t even know their spouse anymore. Or if it’s not the kids, they just become complacent or lazy, and let the passion and fire slowly sizzle, and then years later it’s completely gone. But if a couple continues “dating” each other, spending intentional time focusing solely on their spouse and their marriage, they will constantly be growing WITH that person instead of without that person. Their love will grow deeper, not sizzle out.
Before I share my 3 things, I want to say 2 things: 1. I do NOT presume to be a marriage expert (with all my 1.5 years of marriage…). But I’ve talked to enough people who have been married much longer than me, who have agreed that it’s so important to constantly be spicing up and adding variety to your marriage and relationship. 2. There are some (specifically ONE) obvious ideas to spice up your marriage, but Elise and I wanted to offer some not-so-obvious ideas, and some that we’ve tried to live out in our marriages.
You’ll notice my 3 ways, as well as Elise’s, are low-cost. That’s intentional. We’re both living on budgets, and don’t have money to jet set on glamorous dates around the globe. But just because we can’t fly to Paris with our husbands for date night, doesn’t mean we can’t keep it fun, passionate and most importantly…spicy :)
- Little acts of “Just Because.” I shared last week that Stuart brought me home a rose “just because” he loves me. It wasn’t Valentines Day, or my birthday, and he wasn’t apologizing for anything. He just wanted me to feel loved and like he was thinking of me. It worked. I think a lot of times people think they have to do these huge, romantic gestures to prove their love, but what they don’t realize is that the little, everyday things can many times count more. An act of “just because” doesn’t always have to be a gift. It can be a simple act of service, washing the dishes when it’s not “your turn,” making the other person’s favorite meal as a surprise, or simply saying, “I love you” at a random time during the day. Be creative!
- Cell phone-free date or day. I don’t know about you, but I can definitely be addicted to my phone. And there are times when Stuart and I are out together and I realize we’re totally THAT couple who are both on their phones. Ugh, it makes me cringe. So we’ve implemented cell phone-free dates (or if you’re ambitious, cell phone-free entire days!). It says a lot about our generation that we even have to be intentional with this, but I’ve accepted that it’s just the way it is. But being intentional with putting our cell phones away definitely helps keep us from the distraction of other people and social media, and keeps us focused on each other and our relationship.
- Workout together! Stuart and I have been incredibly blessed to be able to do CrossFit together in the mornings, and it has become one of my favorite things to do with him! Ok, I know what some of you are thinking, “I don’t have time to workout,” or “working out is my solo, stress-relieving activity.” Ok, I get it. It doesn’t have to be everyday. It doesn’t even have to be an intense, sweat-inducing, killer workout. Just get out and do some sort of physical activity…go for a walk, a bike ride, or go to the gym and do your own thing but give each other flirty looks randomly throughout your workout (who said flirting at the gym is only for single people?! Flirting with your spouse is definitely a way to keep things spicy!). And while you’re at it, leave your cell phone at home and kill two birds with one stone! I love to talk and pick Stuart’s brain, and I find that when we can just go for a walk, it makes it a lot more enjoyable for my not-so-talkative-man of a husband. Win win!
Elise and I also wanted to both add a bonus way to spice up your marriage that is a huge passion for both of us:
Attend a marriage conference.
Yes, you read that correctly. Now, before you “X” out of my post, hear me out. Marriage conferences have a really bad rep. Kind of like counseling. A lot of people think they are only for people and marriages with “issues.” Well guess what. WE ALL HAVE ISSUES. Yep, I said that. But honestly, marriage conferences are NOT only for “troubled” marriages.
Stuart and I attended a marriage conference a year ago, and Elise and her husband, Joel attended one just last month. And we all agreed that it was so incredibly wonderful. It’s all about being intentional and teachable. Even if you think you have the perfect marriage, there is ALWAYS more you can learn about marriage, about your spouse, and believe it or not, about yourself. It’s a weekend away where you can work on your communication, intimacy, and personal development. And if you’re still hesitant, I’ll simply use one of my favorite cliche’s: “don’t knock it till you try it.” Seriously though.
If you are interested in attending a marriage conference, Elise and I both attended “A Weekend to Remember,” which is hosted by Family Life. Like I said, we both, (and even our men!) really enjoyed the conference, and would recommend it to EVERYONE. You can find out more information here.
Be sure to check out Elise’s post for 3 additional ways to Spice Up Your Marriage here!
And if you want to add some of your favorite ways to spice up your marriage feel free to leave a comment below! Just keep them PG please ;)