Since having a kid, I’ve tried lots of different ways to strengthen my relationship with my husband. Because, while we have a good relationship, we’re only human and we need a little extra help sometimes.
And, it turns out kids are amazing and soul-completing, but they make it hard to find time to keep your marriage strong.
So these days, when I start feeling out of sync with my husband, and I want something to help us reconnect, I have one go-to tactic that really helps.
Now, full disclosure, I don’t use this practice as often as I should, but I’ve put it into action enough to know that it’s a great way to help improve your marriage.
While this practice won’t fix deep relationship issues, it WILL help you connect with your spouse the way you connected when you were dating.
So, if you’re just too busy to wrap your head around the ’20 best ways to strengthen your marriage’, try this ONE tip. It’s not a cure-all, but it’s a great place to start.
With a bit of effort, you can make this practice a regular part of your schedule and help keep your marriage thriving.
Improve Your Marriage in One Step: Quality Time
So you may be wondering, what’s this one practice that will improve my marriage? Are you ready?
It’s simple: spend time doing an enjoyable activity with your spouse regularly. Sounds pretty straightforward, right?
Hold on though; there’s more.
For this one-on-one time to strengthen your marriage, it needs to meet certain requirements, and that means you may have to tweak a few things if you really want to rekindle your marriage and connect with your spouse.
Don’t Use Phones or Watch TV Shows
While there’s nothing wrong with watching TV shows or staring at your smartphone, (I’m an exhausted mom too so I get it), I find those things don’t really strengthen my relationship. Actually, a lot of the time they kind of distract me from paying attention to my spouse.
On the other hand, when I do a fun activity with my husband that doesn’t involve watching a show or staring at my phone, I feel more connected to him.
While it takes more creativity and effort to think of an activity other than TV watching (I’ll help you with that in a minute), it’s well worth it, and your relationship will thank you.
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Plan for Kid-Free Time
The time you spend with your spouse should be kid-free. Believe me, I know that that is waaay easier said than done, but it’s super important if you want this quality time to strengthen your marriage.
For my husband and I, spending kid-free time together basically means hanging out when our child is asleep.
The down side to scheduling our ‘together time’ while our kid sleeps is that we’re usually exhausted. But, we make the best of it. We choose activities that we can do in our living room in the evening.
Choose an Activity that You’ll Both Enjoy
So, choosing an activity to do together might sound easy, but for my husband and I it took some thinking.
There is actually a limited list of activities that we both enjoy, that we can do in our living room in the evening.
Luckily, we found a few activities that we both really like doing together, and we’re able to strengthen our friendship by doing those things while our toddler is in bed.
If you’re having a hard time thinking of things to do with your spouse in the evening, in your living room, here’s a list of suggestions:
- Read a book out loud together (I know this is really nerdy, but I like this one! North Korea defector books are our fave.)
- Jam on your musical instruments together (quietly so you don’t wake the kids)
- Build something
- Exercise together (we do yoga)
- Play cards or a board game
- Plan your dream vacation
- Look for new music
- Learn to ballroom/latin dance (youtube is a great teacher)
- Learn a language
- Take a free online university course
- Set goals together
If you don’t like any of these ideas, sit down and brainstorm your own with your spouse. All you need is one activity that you will both enjoy doing to help you connect.
Don’t Do Chores
Alright, I get that you and your spouse are going to spend time doing chores together, but this ‘together time’ is not for that.
So even if the dishes stay dirty twice a week and you don’t get to vacuum, just stop with the chores and do an enjoyable activity with your partner.
Remind yourself that this is an investment in your relationship, and that is way more important than a clean house.
Decide How Often
One final thing you need to think about is how often you want to spend this quality time with your spouse.
When you have young kids, it’s easy to slip into the daily routine of collapsing on the couch once they’re in bed and mindlessly watching television. No judging. I do it too.
But, that’s why you need to consciously decide how often you’ll do an activity with your husband, and work hard to make it happen — even when you’re exhausted.
I’d suggest having an ‘activity time’ at least twice a week, but you can do it more frequently if you choose.
Start Improving Your Marriage
Having young kids is exhausting and all-consuming, so it’s easy for your relationship with your spouse to suffer.
Luckily, by planning regular quality time with your spouse, you can improve your relationship by connecting with your spouse.
So go ahead and choose an enjoyable activity that you can do with no phones, no kids, and no chores. And make that quality time happen! You and your partner will be happier for it.