Today our topic is Revive Your Marriage through Reviving Your Friendship!
Friendship is often the first thing to go in marriage. You parent together; you fix up the house together; you care for extended family together. But you don’t actually DO anything just for fun together. It’s like your relationship has become an endless to do list. And indeed, studies have even found that most couples spend less than 10 minutes a day talking about non-logistical issues (in other words, most of the talking they do is about who will pick up what groceries, what repairman needs to be called, what we should have for dinner, etc.)
Because if you don’t feel connected as friends, it’s hard to feel connected as lovers. And it’s hard to deal with any issues that arise. Friendship is like the glue that keeps you together. When you’re friends, you build up positive goodwill. It’s like you make bank deposits into a relationship account. And you can’t start making withdrawals–like talking about problems, or dealing with issues–if you don’t already have a big balance in there.
Here’s the central problem: some of us were friends when we were dating, because we figured out things to do together and we liked hanging out together. Then you get married and life gets busy, and you settle into routines. But others of us never really were friends, even before we were married. We loved each other, but we never really DID anything together. Our dating life was mostly watching movies or making out.
Here are some thoughts:
1. Think Side-by-Side, Not Face-to-Face
When women think about doing things together and talking together, we often think of face to face type of encounters. If we want to share our hearts with our husbands, we want to sit down over coffee and talk about our day.
But if you were to say to your husband, “I want to spend 15 minutes of the day just talking to you”, he’s likely to get nervous. What does that look like? What would you talk about?
Men, in general, like to communicate side by side, when they’re doing something together. Women like to communicate face to face. But communication honestly works either way! So instead of saying, “I want to spend 15 minutes talking”, why not say, “Can we take a walk after dinner every night to get a little exercise and fresh air?” The effect is the same–15 minutes talking–but it’s a different dynamic.
I mention this concept quite a bit on this blog, and recently a young mom emailed me and said that this simple ritual had turned her marriage around. It was such a small thing, but putting the kids in strollers and going for a walk every night let her and her husband connect, and she stopped brooding about how he never talked to her.
So what can you do with your husband side by side?
2. Think Laughter!
It’s so important to laugh as a couple, and this is more likely to happen if you’re simply doing something–anything–together. When you’re involved in a low-stress activity, you’ll laugh! And a couple that laughs together at least once a day is a couple that will thrive. But don’t let all your laughter come from watching movies or TV. Laughter builds a relationship much better when it spontaneously flows out of stuff you’re doing together.
I’ve got a list of 16 sexy, flirty things you can do to laugh with your husband. And if you need more ideas, here are 14 Ways to Play as a Couple! Remember, laughter is something that just comes from the moment. So plan some time to do something when you’re not watching TV!
3. Don’t Wait for Him to Do Something You Like
But here’s the crucial point: don’t wait for him to do something that you want to do. Take the initiative and do something he likes. In The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, I shared the story of Kendria and Juan, whose marriage was on the rocks. Kendria decided drastic action was called for, and so she joined her husband on the church’s annual fishing tournament. She hated the thought of fishing. She didn’t like boats. She didn’t like worms. She didn’t even like fish! But she went, and spent six hours in a boat with her husband. And they talked. It was wonderful! And a new hobby was born.
Don’t think about WHAT you’re going to be doing as much as WHO you’re going to be doing it with. And most guys would be ecstatic if their wives actually joined them in something they enjoyed.
So here’s today’s challenge:
My three blogging friends have also written on this today, and you can see what they have to say, too!
And you can have your say, too! Just leave a comment to tell us the struggles you’ve had with friendship, the solutions you’ve found, or what you love doing together.
Join us next Monday when we talk about how to “Revive Your Praise”!