Are you finding it difficult to spend time together as a married couple? You probably thought that after you married each other, you would have more time, than ever before to enjoy being together. We sure fell for that one! But the sad thing that happens in most marriages is that the opposite becomes true.
“Somewhere between ‘We are gathered here today’ and ’till death do us part’ there is a lot of real life going on —ups and downs, highlights and failures, dreams attained and dreams lost. Real-life marriage is hard, a balancing act of jobs, children, friends, in-laws, paying bills, cooking meals and maintaining a home. Not only these, but we also deal with transitions to different stages of marriage—adjusting as newlyweds, working dual careers, having kids, kids growing up, moving, changing jobs, and growing older.
“Often the one we’re supposed to love the most becomes lost within the confusion of life. You need to put activities into your life together to help you to enjoy and encourage each other as husband and wife as well as to foster talking, learning and growing together.” (From “HELP! WE’RE MARRIED… An Activity Calendar for Couples” by Kandi Arnold, Andrea Devin, and Dale Sprowl)
“A marriage requires a commitment of time, energy, and resources just to survive, let alone thrive and grow. No one would expect a garden to grow without a gardener giving it the proper care. But many people expect their marriage to grow and thrive without putting in time, energy, and money. Don’t be foolish. Every single day you need to do some things that will strengthen your marriage.” (Gil Stieglitz, from book “Marital Intelligence”)
You might be saying, “Yes, but the problem is that we don’t have the time.”
How about 22 minutes? Can you make the effort to somehow carve out 22 minutes to spend intentional, quality time together?
22 Minute Date
The following is something you might consider trying out in your marriage to improve your communication with each other. It’s based on an experiment that McCall’s Magazine conducted several years back with a number of happily married couples. Even so, these couples needed a boost in their relationship. The experiment was called a “Relationship Makeover.” It was a great success!
In this experiment, the couples agreed to take the time they might have spent watching one television sitcom a day (which comes out to 22 minutes without commercials) and talk.
During this time:
• They were to make eye contact as they talked together.
• There were to be no children in the room. (You can wait until they’re in bed.)
• There was to be no radio in the background, and of course, no television!
• There was to be no dinner and no dinner dishes going on during this time.
• They were told to turn on the answering machine (and/or turn off phones).
• They were to focus on what’s positive in their lives.
• This wasn’t to be a time to bring up past hurts.
• They were to do this for one month.
The couples admitted that it was a more rewarding time than they’d ever have dreamed possible!
They said that at first it was a bit awkward. They found themselves looking at the clock a lot, but after a while they were able to enjoy their time together like when they were dating.
It’s worth the time you invest to see how this can build your own relationship! We challenge you to try it for a month!
If you don’t know what to talk about, here are a few suggestions:
• Go into one of the topics of our web site and print up the “Quotes” on that subject. Each date night choose a few of those quotes to discuss. (The Social Media topic has an abundance of Facebook and Twitter quotes available for your use.) Read the quote and then take turns talking about whether or not you agree it. Explain why you believe this way. Don’t be concerned if you don’t agree. The point is to talk to each other and learn each other’s view points.
• In the Communication Tools topic click onto “Fishbowl Conversations” and print it out so you can spend time each night taking turns answering a few of the questions.
• Choose one of the ideas (adding just 8 minutes) that Debi from the ministry of The Romantic Vineyard put together: Ten 30-Minute Dates to Help you Connect and Unwind.
• Choose one of the date night ideas that Growthtrac.com makes available weekly could help you. Access it by clicking HERE.
— ALSO —
• In the Communication Tools topic, click onto “Communication Questions to Take Your Marriage to Higher Levels.” Print it up and take turns asking each other a few questions each night.
• Take the quiz in the Communication Tools topic together titled, “QUIZ: So You Know What the Bible Says About Marriage?”
• Go into the Resources part of the Communication and Conflict topic. Find the resources listed that you can purchase to help you in your conversation time with each other.
• We also have a lot of ideas in the Romantic Ideas topic of our web site that you can adapt.
We believe between the ideas above and ones you can come up with, you will find your marriage relationship growing in ways that you never imagined! That is our hope and prayer for you.
This article is written by Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International.