Let’s face it, sometimes life turns into a routine. Honestly, sometimes it’s just easier that way. If you have kids, kids love schedules! Humans are prone to routine. But just as if a bicycle was routinely left out in the rain and never used, it’s bound to get rusty. Marriages can certainly use schedules and plans and methods, but if left unchecked, routine can create distance and complacency. Even more, routine could create blindness, because you come to expect things to happen always be the same. It may lead you to believe that everything is just fine because nothing really looks different from the outside. You and hubs come home from work, smooch, talk about what he and you have going on that night or the next day, how the kids were that day, and then after kids go to bed, veg out because everyone needs their decompression time.
I don’t want to say this and make you feel as though you need to be extremely adventurous with your husband in order to keep the flame alive. You don’t need to travel the world together and live completely spontaneously and impulsively in order to keep him on his toes. Like I said, sometimes life demands routine and I don’t want you to feel stuck in it.
What I’m here to tell you is that you and your husband can thrive, even in the midst of daily routine. I’ll give you a few tips as to how:
1 | Put the phones away
I can say this because I’m the most guilty of it. Working from home and also running my blog means I’m online a lot. My attention is always divided between work and life. Not to mention that decompression time also takes place while scrolling through Insta a lot. I often tell Josh that being on my phone allows me to multitask. Which is kiiind of true but not really. See, when I’m working on my phone, I’m just switching back and forth a lot faster between family and work. Not “multitasking” in the true sense of the word.” When I’m on my phone, I’m really in a different world completely. And I think a lot of us are this way. The fact of the matter is, when we’re on our phones, we’re not present.
This is the most basic way we can put an effort into bonding with our spouse but I feel like it still needs to be said. When Josh and I were first married, I didn’t have a blog or a job that made me work from home. We didn’t even have cable or Netflix. We hung out together and talked so much! I bet if I asked you, you could remember a time when you and your hubs were like that too. So. All this to say. Put the phones away, turn the TV off some nights, and have a conversation.
2 | Admit that he’s good at something- to his face
As wives, I think we can tend to hold a quiet grudge against our husbands because… well, because of a lot of reasons. It may have been something he did that made you feel unloved. It may have been a time that he didn’t side with you while making a decision and you felt like your opinion wasn’t appreciated. Maybe at some point you thought you were smarter or worked harder or… something. Whatever it was, even if we’re not unhappy, we can still tend to carry hurt and resentment around in the back of our minds which makes us not want to give credit where credit is due. So even if your husband does do something that is kind, or encouraging, or self-sacrificing, our minds go back to the time when he did the opposite and we write off the positive thing he did.
Instead, it’s only fair to remember that your husband is a human. There have been times when we’ve been selfish and times when we’ve been selfless. As much as humans are drawn to routine, we can also be hurtfully inconsistent. Do your best to see your husband the way you would like to be seen and take the good with the bad.
So what does this look like?
It basically just means being open and affirmative, and treating him how you would like to be treated. Don’t patronize, but give credit where credit is due and praise your hubs for goodness sake. And no, praising your husband doesn’t make you a 1950’s wife.
3 | Don’t just listen. Actively listen
There are things that interest my husband that are of no interest to me. Like video games. Couldn’t care less. Or other things like sports. I *like* soccer and football, Josh loves them. Even so, being his best friend, of course he’s going to want to talk about the things he loves with me. I don’t want to make him have to go to someone else for that. Sure, he has friends, but he should be able to talk to his best friend about anything and everything. So even though Josh knows how I feel about video games and football, I’m all ears if he wants to talk. Even more, I’ll ask questions. Like I said, Josh knows how I feel. I don’t have to fake that I like these things more than I do, but even though I feel “Eh” about the things he likes, I still like seeing his face light up when we talk about them, so I do my best to engage. And he does the same for me! He’s actually learned a lot about the process of blogging and what I do for work because we talk about it and he asks questions. He’s even started to help me do a few administrative things around the blog.
All this to say, even if you don’t find all of your husband’s interests interesting, try to engage even still. Ask questions and simply show an interest in the things he enjoys.
4 | Initiate sexy time
Every couple is different and everyone has varying sex drives. Even if your husband has a stronger sex drive than you (which I’ll take a risk and say that that might be the majority of women reading this) I’m sure he’d appreciate having that intimate time initiated by you here and there. Our husbands are more sensitive than we think (I think) and if we never initiate sex, they may begin to feel like we’re not attracted to them. Sure, we might have less of a need for it, but we’d probably feel the same way if our husband never pursued us sexually. We’d begin to wonder if he wasn’t attracted to us either. Do him a favor and surprise him once in a while and put effort into an intimate time together. You’ll be surprised to see what little bit of planning can go a long way!
5 | Get outside together
Honestly, there’s just something about being outside that hits a reset button. If you’ve had a bad day, feel stressed, or just got into it with the hubs, somehow being outside and breathing in the fresh air makes it just a little better. My 10-month-old gets it. When she’s feeling sassy or grumpy but it’s too early to let her sleep, we just bring her outside and she forgets she was mad.
Why not make it a routine for you and the hubs to take an after-dinner stroll and talk. No need to force the talking, though. Sometimes being together in silence is ok, too. But I find that Josh and I have great conversations when walking outside together.
6 | Find a common hobby
As much as it’s great to show interest in each others’ unique hobbies, having an interest in common can give you a lot to talk about. You might spend time together learning about that topic, working together on it, talking to others about it, etc. Josh and I really enjoy eating relatively healthy and working out together. Since it’s a passion we both share, we do it together, talk about it together, talk to others about it, and praise each other when we’ve been consistently working hard at it.
7 | If you have kids, talk about something else
Leading from our last point- your kids can’t be your “common interest.” Sure, having kids with someone means talking about them a lot. They take up a large place in our minds! But being able to talk about things that don’t have to do with your children will be a skill that’ll come in handy down the road. Too many new empty-nesters find themselves struggling to reconnect with their spouse because there’s a silence that settles in. Kids are topics of conversation as well as conversation buffers (meaning that when there’s a lull, you can count on them to chime in). Challenge yourself to be alone with your husband, with no distractions like TV, and have a real conversation. Silence or lulls are not a bad thing, but talking with your husband about something more than schedules and family members should happen often.
8 | Make date nights different
Dinner dates are nice because they don’t really take any planning and- hey- it fills a need. People gotta eat, right? But if that’s all our dates ever consist of, date night is going to turn into (you guessed it) a routine. Instead, take a little time earlier in the week to plan something- not extravagant- but out of the ordinary for the weekend. Travel to the next town over and walk the streets and discover something new.
Check out a few of these date idea posts for inspiration:
9 | Talk naked
Think it sounds weird? It is until it isn’t! Talking together naked (maybe after point #4 happens) will open up a new level of intimacy with your spouse that is different from having sex. After you have sex, don’t be in a rush to get your clothes back on. Instead, start asking your husband these questions and get talking!
10 | Laugh
I’m probably going to offend someone here (and if I do, you can let me know in the comments), but I don’t like “LIVE LAUGH LOVE” wall hangings. Or t-shirts. Tattoos. Or anything of the like. By now, we’ve all heard that phrase 1000 times and, to be honest, I’m over it. That being said, while you’re living with your husband, you should also be loving and laughing. Even though, especially as a Christian, I believe our lives have purpose and we have a mission, I also don’t think we need to take everything seriously all the time. Especially ourselves! One of the hardest things Josh and I had to work through when we were first married was our different senses of humor. We rarely laughed at the same funny parts in movies and we often were left giving each other weird looks when we would try to be funny. Over time, our senses of humor merged together and we make each other laugh all the time. My point is, don’t take yourself too seriously and live, laugh, love.