I found myself dying for a date night with my husband this week. That may not seem odd unless you’ve been living under “stay at home” orders for the past few weeks with A LOT of time together. I’m one of those weird ones who married their high school sweetheart and still can’t get enough of him, 27 years later. But I have also realized after this many years of togetherness that relationships don’t thrive on just being together. Healthy, thriving marriages require intentionality, creativity, grit, and sacrifice.
Wait, don’t quit on me yet. I realize all of this togetherness may be shining a light on some of the struggles in your relationship. And I have a challenge for you that could, if you wanted it to, have you in an even better place when we come out of this “extended togetherness” time.
Ready for a 30-day marriage challenge? What else do you have to do these days? I’m kidding. What if you did one thing a day for the next 30 days that would move you toward your spouse, remind yourself why you love him, or cause you to serve him in a surprising way? Let’s give our partners and ourselves the gift of intentionality for the next 30 days–because love is an action verb, takes work and will grow if you feed it regularly. Here are some of my ideas:
- Go for a hike, bike ride or a walk around the block together.
- Make a meal you know he loves and you haven’t made in a while.
- Write him a love note and leave it somewhere you know he will find it.
- Plan a candlelight dinner for the two of you after the kids go to bed. (Unless you have teenagers. Then do it while they’re awake and have them serve you dinner. You may have to pay them. That’s okay.)
- Wear something sexy to bed.
- Wear something sexy around the house during the day. My teenage daughter told me to take off the tank top I had under a low-cut sweater yesterday, and I hesitated until she said, “Dad would love it.” OMG. What?
- Play chess together.
- Find a new series to watch together or re-watch a series you loved a long time ago.
- Pray together in the dark before bed.
- Leave your phone out of the bedroom.
- Light a candle and initiate sex.
- Go on a drive-through date. Pick up dinner and eat it in your car somewhere with a view.
- Write a “Top 10 Things I Love About Your Dad” list and read it in front of your children.
- Get dressed up for dinner.
- Ask him, “What can I do to help you today?” Smile. And do it.
- Pick a book that you would both enjoy reading and have your own book club. Read a few chapters then discuss over coffee or your favorite adult beverage.
- Wake him up in the middle of the night for sex. (Do you hear a theme here? It’s free and fun and you have more time and energy now than you ever will.)
- Call his parents.
- Find an old picture of the two of you that makes you smile and put it on your mirror in your bedroom or bathroom.
- Kiss him and tell him, “I love you.” If you have kids, don’t be afraid to let them see you and hear you express your love for each other. It gives them an incredible sense of security.
Well, that’s 20 of the 30 days. Get creative and come up with the other 10 or so that you know your husband will respond to. Then, make a checklist in your journal or on your phone and pick one each night that you’ll plan for the next day.
If you take this challenge, I’d love to know! I’ll even encourage you along the way and send you a surprise when you finish, although the real gift will be the new life in your relationship and the habit you will have developed of loving your husband with creativity and intention. Enjoy!