With the daily demands of diapers, dishes and work deadlines, it’s easy to forget about making time for a significant connection with your spouse. However, several of our readers have found ways to “speed date” amid seemingly relentless responsibilities. Try a few of these simple ideas to pursue your spouse today.
Memory Speed Date
Over the decades, my wife and I have traveled and moved extensively. The special memories we’ve shared in each location fade as new memories replace the old. But one way we keep those moments alive is by sitting down together and looking through old photos and talking about them. Thousands of our memories are tucked deep in our phones. We scroll through the images on our mobile devices together and decide which ones we will commit to putting into a photo book. These “memory dates” help us connect as we laugh and reminisce.
During our first dance on our wedding day, we tuned everyone out to the point that we forgot they were there. In the same way, dancing now allows us to forget about the bills and the to-do lists so we can focus on each other. By doing this, we show that no matter how hectic life gets, our marriage is the most important thing. Whether a slow sway or a silly jig, dancing allows us to reconnect and keep things light. Sometimes life can be so overwhelming, but once we dance, our stress begins to fade. The issues remain, but tuning them out for a short time helps us remember that we will get through the tough times together.
We hope our girls will one day take time to dance with their spouses amid their busy lives—because they saw Mommy and take a twirl.
To-Do List Connections
For years, we attacked our to-do list with a divide-and-conquer mentality: “I’ll tackle bath time while you handle the dishes.” We planned to finish the list early so we would have time to unwind later. It never worked out that way.
We discovered that working on each item on our list together is a great way to connect and increase the time we spend together. My wife and I have had some of our most meaningful discussions while folding laundry or doing the dishes together. I’m not a strong multitasker, but even I can handle talking about my week while we bundle socks, discussing how old our parents are getting or what things our kids broke this week.
I’ve found three added bonuses to our to-do list tandem approach. The first one is that our kids rarely interrupt our conversations. When the kids walk in and find Mom and Dad folding laundry, they turn around and walk out because they don’t want to help. The second one is that my wife and I talk almost every day, since we need to do laundry and wash dishes regularly. The third bonus is that my wife thinks it’s romantic when I help her fold laundry or do the dishes. Who needs a candlelit dinner when you have a laundry basket of underwear to fold? That’s a speed date full of communication.
Question of the Day
One thing my husband and I do to connect with each other is answer a “question of the day.” Sometimes this question is serious: “What is one thing God is calling you to do right now that scares you?” Sometimes it’s silly: “Would you rather do 20 loads of laundry or change five diapers?” (When we run out of questions, we find new ones on the internet.) Our only rule is that the question cannot revolve around schedules, kids or work because we want to dive deeper than just handling daily logistics.
Making the effort to talk, even just for 10 to 15 minutes, connects our hearts and minds. And it often leads to laughter and lighthearted banter—something that’s often missing amid the chaos of raising a family.
Speed Date: 10-Minute-Walk
After every meal we eat together, my husband and I go on a 10-minute walk. No matter the weather, we put on our shoes and walk. Research shows that taking 10-minute walks throughout the day benefits a person’s physical health. My experience shows that taking these walks with your spouse is also good for relational health.
These 10-minute walks feel more like a ritual. We’ve timed two different paths, so we know how far we need to go to walk five minutes away from our house and five minutes back.
Our walks usually inspire fun conversations and help ease any stress we’re dealing with. The fresh air and buzz of endorphins get us talking about things that have made us laugh that day, our theological questions or what we would do if we won a million dollars. After doing this for about a year, I’ve realized that committing this time to our relationship ultimately boosts our happiness, connection and energy.
Shortly after we were married, my husband, Sam, and I found ourselves on opposite work shifts. Needing a good night’s rest, Sam was usually asleep by the time I arrived home. During this season, we didn’t have much time for date nights. After a few months of this schedule, Sam started waiting up for me a couple of nights a week. He’d pour us both a bowl of cereal, and we’d eat and chat about our day and our hopes and dreams.
Even after our schedules got in sync and children came along, a few evenings a week he’d say, “Hey, babe, I think I need a bowl of cereal. How about you?” I always responded with a yes and a smile.
—Jackie Carman Blankenship