Just DO Something as a Couple

Going to See Paul Brandt

Last night my husband and I and my in-laws went to Paul Brandt’s Just As I Am concert. It was awesome.

For those of you who don’t know Brandt, he’s a country music singer. You’d recognize some of his songs, like Convoy or Home (my personal favourite).

What many people don’t know, though, is that Paul is also a very committed Christian. So he’s got this new album out called Just As I Am where he does his own version of old gospel hits, like I’ll Fly Away and What a Friend We Have in Jesus and How Great Thou Art. He even gives a gospel invitation. And all of the proceeds from the tour are going to help an orphanage he supports in Haiti. Really great guy.

He’s got an awesome band, and the sound was amazing. I even sat through It Is Well With My Soul, which is quite a feat for me. We played that at my son’s funeral, and for the last seventeen years, whenever that song has come on at church I’ve excused myself to go to the bathroom. It’s not that I don’t agree with the words; I just don’t particularly feel like getting emotional.

But it would have been awkward to leave last night, so I sat through it, and I did okay. I even managed to sing along a bit.

Now we live in a small town, so an event like a Paul Brandt gospel concert is a big deal. It was held in the largest church which probably seats about 1800 maybe? And before the concert I just walked around saying hi to people. It was like homecoming! Everywhere you looked was someone you knew.

Here’s the thing, though:

Earlier in the day I didn’t really want to go.

I get in this groove where I like being online. I have things to do, projects to finish, emails to answer. And when I’m finished that, I sometimes just want to veg.

I think many of us are like that. I remember one teenager that I knew well who used to go to youth group and made quite a few friends there. Every time he went he had a great time. But he stopped going because it was a hassle. He liked staying home and just playing video games. And he more or less secluded himself because it was easier. He became more and more unhappy, but his life was easier.

Getting out and doing something takes effort.

It’s so much easier to flip on the TV, or surf the web, or read a book. But those things rarely feed your soul. I’ll admit a good book is a necessity sometimes, but real memories that are shared are based in shared activities. The easy route may seem preferable, but usually leads to a mediocre life. The harder route usually brings more happiness.

I will remember that concert for years; I would not have remembered the evening if we had sat at home and watched a show and knitted a bit and answered some emails.

My husband and I shared something fun (which we shared with my in-laws, too!).

When my mother turned 70 on Monday, and I was getting ready to throw her a party, one of my biggest problems was the guest list. She simply knows so many people, and knows them well. She has a ton of friends from all different walks of life.

I talked to her about it a little while ago, and she says the reason is because she makes it a point of seeing two different people every week (and sometimes more). No matter how busy she gets, she makes it a point of seeing two friends. She’s been single for a while, and she knows she needs a wide social circle. So she makes the effort.

And her life is so much richer for it.

It got me thinking about marriage. My mom’s life is richer because she makes the effort. Yes, it would be easier to sit at home and knit (she loves knitting, too!). But it would not be as fulfilling. Her life would not be as rich. So she fights against what’s easy and she does what is actually fun.

Do we do that in our relationships?

All the problems people have in their marriages–from low libidos to a husband not helping around the house to needing forgiveness–could be solved so much more easily if people simply DID things together.

When you spend time together, doing something (like not in front of a screen), you build memories.

You build goodwill. You laugh together. And that makes it so much easier to solve the problems we do have. First, because those problems diminish in importance. And second, because with the added goodwill, it’s easier to talk about things.

So let me ask you: are you settling for the easy, or are you actually DOING things together? And what could you do? The weekend’s coming, so dream a bit. Let’s do something to build a memory and to laugh a bit. Your marriage–and your life–will be richer for it.

Successful Couples Do Things Together

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  1. This post is so timely for my husband and me! I love being at home, so our recreational time is usually spent here.
    My husband mentioned last night that he’d like to get out of the house more often. He pointed out that there are a lot of distractions when we’re at home that can keep us from fully engaging in recreational activities. We may be doing something for fun (e.g., reading together, watching a movie, playing a game), but I’ll pause to start dinner, move a load of laundry from the washer to the dryer, load the dishwasher, etc. It’s hard to disengage from these tasks. If we leave the house, then they don’t pose a distraction.
    I think this is another reason why it’s good to get out and do things together.
    Shannon recently posted…Getting Rid of Some Books? Ways to Give Each One a New Lease on LifeMy Profile

  2. Thank you, Sheila for yet another inspiring read. I know that as the organiser of the social calendar in our household that my mood influences whether we get out as a couple or a family. Thank you for the reminder that we do just need to make the effort some time.

  3. Great reminder. Interaction is active and builds knowledge and intimacy. Watching TV or a movie is passive, it has its place, but we as a culture tend to use it as a go to and then call it togetherness.
    Scott Perkins recently posted…Encouraging Masculinity in MarriageMy Profile

  4. My hubby and I take long drives together to spend time together. We pack up snacks or a picnic and his map books and go! We once drove to the Adirondacks and back in one day just because!! It is very easy to just get in a rut and not do anything together, you have to be intentional about making time for each other sometimes. Great article, as always, Sheila!

  5. Perfect encouragement. My husband is the one who pushes me to get out and “do” – and though it’s a struggle, every time I’m thankful. He’s very aware of my introvert “time-alone” needs, and honors our differences, but doesn’t let me get stuck in a rut. It’s such a blessing when our spouse’s know us well.
    Lori Ferguson recently posted…Marriage Essentials – Anniversary ThoughtsMy Profile

  6. Great post!! We find this particularly challenging because while we would LOVE to go out and do things, there are almost no places that we are able to go that I’m not allergic to. It makes it tricky to plan dates and memorable evenings when we’re not able to participate in “normal” outings. For those of you that can, please enjoy the fact that you are physically able to go out on dates and explore activities with your spouse – it really does enrich your relationship!

  7. Jennifer Mitchell says:

    I love this , but what do you do if your husband refuses to to do things with you. I BEG my husband to do things, anything with me. At this time I would be thrilled if he walked to the mailbox with me. It’s not about the money, like I said I beg for time together where it wouldn’t cost him anything. He is just not interested in spending time with me and I’m not sure what to do. Keep begging?

  8. I’m a super home body — but we’re going to a Rockies game tomorrow night! And we go to our CrossFit gym together every day.
    Corrie Anne recently posted…Amazing Cinnamon Rolls + No More Teachers’ Dirty LooksMy Profile

  9. Heather says:

    Before I even finished reading this I had to buy the album on itunes! Paul Brandt is so great. I met him once about 15 years ago in Edmonton, Ab. Naturally, “Alberta Bound” is one of my favorites. 😉

    Once again, great advice Sheila! My family just moved and we are completing renos, and have a whole lot of unpacking to do! Does that count as doing something together? Lol

  10. Sarah Ramsey says:

    Wow. This is something I really needed to read. I am often guilty of turning down my husband’s suggestions for going out and doing things together. Thank you for sharing this and I am looking forward to having the opportunity to surprise him by saying yes to his next idea for going out:)

  11. Elizabeth Selman says:

    Sheila, thanks for this post. I always have this nagging feeling about when at night my husband sits on his phone playing cards or on the laptop doing something. I will sit on mine sometimes too, but am not as tied to mine. It bothers me. It really does. But reading this lets me know that my feelings are okay to have and I probably should talk to him about it. I feel like we don’t engage in things together much anymore. Now he is very much a people person and needs people around him, so he likes to entertain. I don’t mind, but then the house needs cleaning, and so it goes. That part isn’t fun for me. I would love for him to want to do more things outside the house with me. But at least the entertaining part is getting together with friends and sharing some memories. Anyway thanks for the post and acknowledging that going out and DOING is better for the couple and/or family than sitting passively in the same room!

  12. Katie B says:

    Thank you!! Even though I only work part-time I still manage to have a mile-long to-do list! 😛 We are starting a family in just a few months so things certainly won’t slow down. That list can easily become an idol and make it hard to do recreational things my husband so wants to do when evenings and weekends come. And I may not be a great planner or great at making sure I am social enough like your mother, but when asked I almost always say yes. And secretly dread it the day of… thank you for your honesty and understanding along with me! I am ALWAYS thankful I went and walk away blessed. :)

  13. Oh, that sounds like a wonderful evening! I would love to do something like that, if it were possible for us. (It’s just the place we live in right now…northern Canada.) This weekend there happened to be a carnival in the community we were visiting, and even though my husband took the boys when I was busy one evening we took the time to go as a family and just go on one ride to make that family memory. Also, I have the same reaction to “It is Well With My Soul” since my grandfather’s funeral many years ago.

  14. I have quit asking my husband to do anything. If i ask he snaps at me like i am attacking him. I love being outside hiking biking whatever. I can not even get him to sit on the porch with me. We live in a small subdivision that has bands right in front of our house and he still wont sit outside with me.
    Now i just grab my dogs and son and we go do whatever and leave him to his precious tv and laptop and iphone and bed.
    One can only ask so much and get no or a glare so many times before u just guve up. Our son wont even ask him to do anything with him either and he is only 6… That is so disheartening. I tried approaching my husband for our son and that turned into WW3..
    Wish there was a magic approach. He hasnt left this house with me for about 8 months now.

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  1. […] 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 […]

  2. […] Just DO Something. It’s so important! And work on your friendship, because the more you build your friendship, the easier everything else is. […]

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