Valentine’s Day is coming up – the day to build intimacy in your marriage. It’s the perfect time to give your relationship the attention it deserves. But what about the rest of the year?
Wooing your spouse and being intentional about your relationship shouldn’t be reserved for one time a year. If you want a thriving marriage, building intimacy needs to be a priority all year long. Here are some fun ideas for doing so:
1. Plan Date Night
And arrange for the sitter! One common complaint that I hear about date night (and have complained about myself) is that it seems like planning date night falls squarely on my shoulders, as well as the responsibility to arrange for childcare.
My proposal? Take turns. Plan a date night that’s all about things your spouse loves. Next month, they do the same thing. The point is to share responsibility and be thoughtful about what the other person enjoys.
2. Schedule Sex
The joy of sex isn’t lost when it’s scheduled – it’s lost when it doesn’t happen. If that happens in your house, decide how often is good for the two of you. Then, try making (and keeping) an appointment with your spouse for some sexy time. This can be really fun.
3. Profess Your Love
My friend Joshua wrote his wife a love note once a week for a year. My other friend, Justin, gave his wife a journal on their 10th anniversary full of love letters that he’d written her over the course of their 9th year of marriage. Celebrate your marriage by telling your spouse how much you love them.
4. Pursue Common Interests
Ian and I are pretty different people, but we share a lot of common interests. We both enjoy running (never thought I’d say that), good microbrews and giving thoughtfully to others.
One of our favorite things to do is leave surprise gifts (of beer) for our friends. Find ways to pursue common interests together.
5. Engage With Each Other
How easy is it to put the kids to bed, turn on the TV (or go to Facebook) and zone out until it’s time to hit the hay yourselves? Answer: too easy. Instead, take advantage of the special alone time this presents you with.
Play a game, give him a foot bath or … have sex! Even if it’s just for a little bit of time a few days a week, this is a great way to get that special time together you crave.
6. Stop Nagging
My name is Nina and I’m a recovering nag. I used to nag my husband all. the. time. Can you guess how much time he wanted to spend with me? Not much.
For the last few years, I’ve made the effort to stop nagging and start serving and my marriage has improved so much. Do I fall of the wagon? Yes. Does it last very long? No way. This habit is way too toxic to let get out of control.
7. Give Creative Gifts
For Christmas, I made Ian some “Man Coupons.” It was a really fun project and I loved watching him unwrap them. The best part was watching him read through the coupons. Yes, there were the typical sexy coupons. But there were some fun ones, suited just to his personal tastes, like:
- Gravy … All. Over. Dinner.
- You and Me Time. No kids. No computer.
- Nap Time
- Dessert of Your Choice
- Guys’ Night Out. And I Won’t Bug You At All. (Ok, I learned that my ability not to bug ends promptly at 2 a.m.)
What creative gift can you give your spouse?
8. Get Out of the Rut
The date rut, that is. If every date consists of dinner at the same place, followed by a movie, it’s time to shake it up. This used to be our M.O., but then we realized that it was really … boring.
Since then, we’ve branched out – snowshoeing, hiking, getting a tattoo. Of course, we still like dinner and a move, but we’ve switched to a theater that has comfy seating and serves dinner and our favorite beer while you’re watching the movie.
9. Surprise Each Other!
What does your spouse love and how can you incorporate that into an awesome surprise?
I love miniature ponies. A (whole) lot. We always used to drive by a farm that was full of the cutest miniature ponies ever. One day, we were driving into town, right by that farm, when Ian started slowing down.
I began squealing as he turned into the driveway. He took me to the pony farm for our date (and there was even a baby pony)! He took a picture of my favorite one and framed it for me. That’s love, man.
I’ll be grinning for the next 30 minutes, just thinking about it.
10. Pursue Each Other
Ian and I celebrated our tenth anniversary in November. I’ve learned a lot in the last ten years, one thing being that our marriage is most enjoyable when we are intentionally pursuing each other. How?
By studying each other and being the “expert in that person (but not in a creepy, stalker way). By doing thoughtful things for each other, things that reflect the other’s interests and passions. By recognizing each other’s needs and giving the other space to meet them. By creating the time to spend with each other and being present in the moment.