My wife an I have a date every week.
Rain or shine.
Snow or blizzard.
We guard it. Protect it. Refuse to compromise about it. The only time this ‘date’ hasn’t been kept is if one of us was out of town, or a rare (and I mean ‘rare’) situation occurred. My point? We protect our relationship.
We’ve done this since we were married.
And we will continue to keep this a priority because our marriage is our highest ‘calling.’ We believe we are ‘supposed’ to be together. We hold a sense of calling about our relationship. So…we treat it that way.
We do a lot of things to value our relationship. One of those things is a ‘Day of Intentional Bonding.’
I encourage every couple to put a high value on time together. Time that is not violated by ‘urgent’ things. Time that is set aside. Held sacred. Holy. Time that is just for you as a couple. No interruptions. No interference. No Distractions.
This looks different every week. But there are a few things that serve as rumble strips for us. Rumble strips are those bumps on the side of the road that let you know when you get out of your lane. They are ‘wake up’ strips.
In this article I want to give you some idea’s to help you stay in the right lane with your marriage.
Here’s what you will learn:
1. The two things that bond people together
2. Seven tips to help you schedule a great bonding time together
Before we get started, I write about marriage restoration and relationship issues, If you want to get my latest articles, click the link and join the list to get the most up-to-date information and research on building great relationships. Join here.
If there was one big thought I could give you, it would be this…
Schedule Time Together To Intentionally Connect
Two things connect people perhaps more than anything else.
1. Shared experience.
When people go through difficult things together, they bond.
For example, classmates bond when they go through school together. Football teams bond when they compete together. People even bond when they experience tragedy together. Shared experiences cause us to connect.
2. Time together.
The more time you spend together, the closer you get. Siblings are usually close because they have spent many years together.
Let’s join these two concepts together and build a framework to connect as a couple.
Here’s seven tips to help you schedule your intentional time together.
Let’s dig in and break this down…
1) Power down.
Turn off all electronic devices. No cell phone. No Ipad. No kindle reading device. Turn it all off. The goal is to create a distraction free zone so you can focus on your marriage and your spouse.
2) Avoid Social Media.
One of the biggest relationship killers of our generation is social media. We use it to replace real relationships and personal connection.
I know people who have thousands of Facebook friends. But they have zero ‘real friends.’ They invest their energy in scrolling Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. But they have no one in their life who shares life with them.
Don’t allow social media to ruin your marriage. There are many traps that snare a marriage. Social media is one of them.
Use it wisely. But never let it control your time.
On your ‘day of intent’ to build your marriage, do yourself a favor and avoid it all day. It’s a small investment that pays big dividends in the future.
3) Get Rid of the Kids.
No. I’m not talking about selling them on the black market. But you need some ‘kid free’ time as a couple.
Get a baby sitter. Even if it’s in the middle of the day. Remember, the goal is isolated time with your spouse. Kids are great. But they are not a replacement for your marriage.
My pastor once told me, “Your children are designed to leave. But your wife (spouse) is designed to cleave. Never get those out of order!” Great advice.
The goal of raising children is to equip them to live on their own, move out in life, and build a family of their own. It’s to help them achieve the things that are in their heart. Sure, we should stay close to our children and have a great relationship; but they are never a substitute for your marriage.
The goal of our marriage is to build a relationship that will last forever. To grow together and ‘cleave to one another.’
So remember: Children leave. Spouses cleave (cling to and rely on one another). That’s the way it should be.
So, invest in your time together.
4) Have a plan.
I realize spontaneity is important, but on your day of intention to build your marriage, approach with a rough draft of a plan. Be flexible, but know where you are going. Both emotionally and locationally.
Why is this important?
It minimizes the chance of frustration and irritation. If you don’t have a plan in place, it’s easier to get frustrated because you have to make a last minute decision. This can be a catalyst for arguing. So to reduce this, map out a few things ahead of time.
My wife likes to approach it like this, each person has to bring an idea to the table.
You can do this one of two ways:
1. You can pick the event or activity one week. You spouse the next.
2. Both come up with an idea for your special day. Then discuss and choose.
Just remember, this should not produce an argument. This is about connecting. It is not about ‘getting your way.’
5) Talk about your dreams and aspirations.
The average couple only spends 4 minutes each day talking things other than the kids, work, dinner (meal) plans, or the calendar. Only 4 minutes. That’s scary!
On your special day, it’s important to talk about things that matter most.
So start with your dreams. Talk about the things you really want to do in life.
Do you know your spouses secret dreams? Have you ever discussed those deep desires?
I promise, when you do, you will connect on a deeper level.
Plus, we all love to talk about what we want out of life. This produces a tremendous bonding experience.
Caution: Do not let this turn into an opportunity to blame each other for dream failures. This is about sharing our heart with one another.
6) Use Conversation Starters to Dig Deep
Conversation starters are questions and ideas that help you talk about things that are important to you
Here’s a few you can use to get things started:
- 10 places you want to visit before you die. And why?
- One thing you’ve always wanted to do or accomplish but haven’t had the courage to try.
- What is your favorite memory as a child? Why is it special?
- Name two things about your spouse that you admire. Why do you feel that way?
- One thing that makes you feel good about yourself. Why?
For more conversation starters, check out ‘Love Talks For Couples’ by Gary Chapman.
7) Remember your goal.
The goal is to work on your relationship. The goal is NOT to talk about problems. This is where a lot of people miss it. They equate working on their marriage with dealing with problems. They are not the same thing.
There is a time to deal with issues and problems. This day is not that day. It’s a day to focus on connecting again.
There will always be problems to deal with. When one is solved another tends to pop up. So don’t confuse connecting with resolving issues.
Connecting is…well, connecting. It’s spending time together without the distractions and suffocating issues that drown out love. The goal is to reconnect. To rekindle love.
This looks different for each couple. It can be accomplished in a number of ways.
The key is to know the difference in problem resolution and connecting. Make your day about connecting.
These seven things will give you a launch pad to schedule your connecting date with your spouse.
Put them into place and you will take a step in the right direction.
For more information on how to repair a broken relationship check out our example of how to save your marriage.
Your marriage can become what you’ve always dreamed.
There are resources we have compiled to help you build a great marriage. We call it our marriage ‘toolkit.’ Just like every home needs a toolkit to work on minor (sometimes major) repairs, we believe each couple should have an arsenal of tools to help them create the marriage of their dreams.
Our toolkit has books, programs, articles and other resources.
Leave me a comment. I would love to here how you create quality time in your relationship.