If you’re like most busy wives and moms, one of the hardest battles you face is the struggle to connect with your spouse and build a strong marriage in the midst of life’s chaos. Staying connected shouldn’t be something you have to “battle” or “fight,” but more often than not that’s exactly what happens. When your job is demanding, your children are needy, your house is cluttered, and your schedule is crazy, it becomes incredibly hard to connect with your spouse, keep a positive focus, and build a strong marriage.
Honestly, sometimes it just seems easier to let the marriage slide until tomorrow or next week or when things slow down, or even “when the children are older.” And most of the time, we don’t even realize what’s happening, that we’re essentially putting off enjoying and caring for our marriage until “another day.’
So I encourage you not to let that “slide” happen. (And believe me, I’m talking to myself too.) Determine to make your marriage a high priority, even if that means making other relationships or some activities a lower priority. Here are 15 simple ways to do it:
15 Ways to Connect with Your Spouse and Build a Strong Marriage
• Establish your marriage as the primary relationship in your family. Have you and your husband talked about and established priorities for your family? If you value your marriage and want to keep it strong – in spite of a hectic schedule – set a priority to establish your marriage as the center of your family life. You won’t be taking anything away from your children; you’ll be adding to their sense of security and helping them understand what it takes to create a lasting marriage.
• Control your family’s schedule, rather than letting it control you. In many families, the wife, husband and children take on activities and commitments without much thought or discussion. And everyone ends up running from one activity to another and feeling exhausted most of the time – leaving little time or energy for connecting as a couple.
Don’t buy into this mindset. Your children don’t have to do every activity and you don’t have to say yes to every request for your time. This doesn’t mean your children shouldn’t be involved in activities, but it does mean you and your husband should decide which activities are reasonable in terms of your family’s goals, time and energy. And if one of your goals is to connect with your spouse regularly, you may have to cut some activities or let go of some commitments
• Make time to talk every day. When things get busy, it’s easy to go for days without talking about anything other than schedules, carpools, pick-up times and errands. So be intentional about taking at least 15-20 minutes every day to really talk with your husband about what’s going on in both of your lives.
Put it on your schedule, if that’s what it takes to make it happen. You can do it in the morning, right after work, before bed – whatever works for the two of you. My husband and I drink coffee in bed for about 20 minutes every morning and talk while we’re waking up and preparing to face the day. It gives us time to connect and sets us up to face the day.
• Go to bed at the same time, every night if possible but at least several times a week. Put away your devices and be intentional about using the time to connect. Going to bed together allows you to talk and unwind and paves the way for sex and intimacy. Speaking of which…
• Make love regularly. Yes, it takes time, and you’re often tired. But it’s critical if you want to connect with your spouse, stay close as a couple and build a strong marriage. And it doesn’t always have to take a lot of time – while a long romantic interlude is great, sometimes a quick romp provides all the connection you need! (And remember that this isn’t just for your husband – sex is for you too!)
• Let go of small things that interfere with your connection. Do you hang onto small annoyances, things your husband says or does that really bug you? I try not to, but sometimes it requires putting mind over emotions, making a conscious choice to let it go. It’s hard to maintain a positive connection if you feel annoyed with him frequently, so consider making the choice to let some things go. I’m not talking about serious issues in your marriage (those need to be addressed), but rather the small things that just aren’t worth the anger or frustration you invest in them.
• Plan at least one face-to-face activity (which many women prefer) and one side-by-side activity (which many men prefer) every week. So, for example, you might enjoy a cup of coffee and some conversation at the kitchen table on Saturday morning, then paint a room together on Saturday afternoon.
• Work on projects together. Rather than always focusing on your own projects, change things up sometimes and work on projects together. If he always does the yard work and outside projects, for example, work together outside one Saturday. Or if you do all of the interior painting, ask him to work with you one weekend to paint a room. Or work on a project you both enjoy (like gardening) or share the “pain” of a project you both hate (like cleaning out the garage).
• Exercise together. Walk, jog or bike together. Train together for a charity walk or race. Take a hike. Dance. If you have small children, let them play outside while you walk where you can see them. My husband and I used to walk around the yard and talk while our boys played outside. Do anything you both enjoy that gets you moving together.
• Spend some unplugged time together every day. You can’t connect with your husband, or anyone else in your life, in a meaningful way if you’re plugged in all the time. So put away your phone, tablet and computer and spend some time together without the electronic distractions.
• Kiss him like you mean it. After a few years of marriage, the ‘hot and heavy’ kissing we once enjoyed often disappears. Add a couple of kids and a busy schedule to the mix, and kissing tends to be relegated to a pathetic peck on the lips a couple of times a day! One way to stay connected to your husband is to kiss him like you mean it – every day! Try it every day for a week and see what happens.
• Touch base during the day. If your schedules allow it, talk on the phone at least once a day, just to see how things are going for both of you. If talking isn’t feasible, send a brief email or text, just to let him know you’re thinking of him.
• Crank up your sexual energy. I’m not talking about having more sex, but rather about infusing your marriage with sexual energy – the communications and actions that say “I want you.” Sexual energy “boosters” come in many forms – sexy texts, sexy nicknames, code words, quick-but-steamy kisses or touches, planning and anticipating sexual activities, using scents or oils that increase libido, trying something outside your comfort zone, and anything else that keeps you connected sexually
• Speak your spouse’s love language. You probably know about the 5 love languages, but are you speaking your husband’s language consistently? When your schedule gets crazy, maximize your connection by showing him love in the way God designed him to receive it.
• Step out in faith together. It’s easy to get stuck in our daily routines and miss the needs all around us, needs God is often calling His people to meet. But maybe God is calling us and our husbands to break out of our routines once in a while and do something for Him. Stepping out in faith to do God’s work is a great way to stay connected, while meeting real needs in our communities. If you have young children it could be something simple, like serving together at a soup kitchen once a quarter. If you have no children or older children it might be something bigger, like working regularly in a homeless ministry or taking a mission trip together.
Download the free printable – 15 Ways to Stay Connected as a Couple