Why create couples routines in your marriage?
I know what you might be thinking, creating couples routines don’t sound quite so exciting. You might be right, but it’s an important part of your relationship to create a good, healthy, and strong marriage.
We tend to develop patterns of relations in our marriage. Some are good and some are… not so good. Wouldn’t you rather create intentional positive couples routines that make your marriage strong, rather than allow bad relationship habits to creep in and take over?
Absolutely! I’m going to help you with this by giving you some guidance in creating not just good routines, but brilliantly healthy routines so you can have a strong marriage.
We create habits or routines all the time in our morning and evening rituals, spiritual life, food, careers, and even with our kids. So why in the world wouldn’t we create good habits in our marriage?
You accomplish this all the time by planning the habits and then following through.
Here are SIX areas to begin incorporating brilliantly, good and healthy routines into your marriage.
Establish a Communication Routine.
- It’s important that you talk daily. Give yourselves at least 15 to 20 minutes a day of sharing about the good and bad of your day. Do it whenever it’s convenient for you. For example, this is a great dinnertime conversation because your kids can include thoughts about their own days.
- It’s important to also schedule a more serious meeting every few weeks for discussing the important issues that arise during the week that need to be dealt with, such as financial planning and schedules.
- Sending short texts throughout the day is also a great way to connect and share with your spouse that you are thinking about them.
- Sharing about a particular scripture that has been on your heart that day is also a great way to open a spiritual dialogue, but to also express vulnerability, and therefore bring the connection you desire.
Establish a Spiritual Routine.
You have to find what works for you and your schedule. Don’t try to make a square peg fit into a round hole. It will just get you frustrated and bring up feelings of guilt.
- Take a few minutes and pray together, at the start of the day if you can. There have been times in our marriage, due to work schedules that this was not possible. We were simply people passing in the night. One of the things that we have done from time to time is to text a prayer over each other. This was really meaningful for us because, at a time that we struggled to connect, I could read over his words and feel his presence even when he couldn’t be there.
- If you can’t fit a daily couple’s devotional time into your routine, try a weekly couple’s devotional time. The point is to share common ground and work on applying the things you learn from scripture to your lives.
- Serve together in the community, with your church, or be active in a small group of like-minded adults. This accomplishes a few things. It gives you a common ground to work on together and it helps you by being around other couples too.
Haven’t found a devotional you like? Try one of the ones below. I can personally vouch for each one of them.
Establish a Financial Routine.
I know. I know. Who really wants to do this? BUT, finances are one of the biggest topics in couple’s therapy and divorce court. Let that sink in for a minute. It is so incredibly important that you find agreement and work together on such a hot topic.
- Schedule the dreaded financial meeting. Share your concerns. Brainstorm your options. Each of you can give a little where you can. Work together. You are a team.
- Be accountable for your budget and spending. I have found a wealth of resources on Pinterest with free printable to help us stay accountable for everything from daily spending to what bills have gotten paid so far this month. There are easy strategies that you can put in place to help you here. I have placed some helpful apps and websites in the Resource List at the end of this book. Check them out.
- Agree to get out of debt. This is a big one for a lot of people. Everyone has a difference of opinion about what is acceptable debt and what is not. Debt creates problems for couples, especially when it’s out of balance. If you carry a lot of debt, it may be because you are living above your means and need to have a moment of clarity about what your goals are before going forward.
It says in Proverbs 22:7 (NIV), “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.”
There is so much truth in that verse. Dave Ramsey has some great resources on this topic. We learned so much by going through Financial Peace University.
Establish a Physical Touch Routine.
- Be intentional about non-sexual touch every single day. A nice long hug, a kiss every time you greet each other, a backrub or a foot rub, holding hands, sitting close while watching television are all great examples of non-sexual touch. Of course, non-sexual touch can (and sometimes does) lead to sexual touch, but it doesn’t have to. Often times one partner will actually shy away from non-sexual touch because there is an unspoken expectation that it will lead to sex. Let it go. I want you to focus on non-sexual touch.
- Be intentional in having sex. Yes, I said it. You have to decide what kind of frequency is acceptable between the two of you and make the adjustments. The Bible is pretty clear on this one too. I’m not going to pull out the scripture because I’m going to guess you already are aware of it. The scripture says that our bodies are not our own but belongs to our spouse.
The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. ~1 Corinthians 7:4 (NIV)
If you are too tired at the end of the day, then plan it for when you aren’t too tired. If you don’t ever have time, then make time. If you don’t feel “into it” then change those thought patterns and get yourself “into it” for your spouse. It’s an opportunity for sacrificial love, at its best! If you don’t want to have all the “planned” sex, then don’t. Have some spontaneous and some planned. You get to do that. You are married. ?
Establish a Self-Care Routine.
This one gets so overlooked, especially for Moms, who typically heap the expectations onto themselves daily. How can you consistently give to others when you are depleted?
- Take care of your health. Get enough sleep. Eat food that is good for you. Drink a lot of water. Get exercise in your life in some way.
- Take 15 minutes for yourself at some point in your day so that you can just sit and breathe. Do something you enjoy, soak in some sunshine outside, take a power nap if you having little ones who are napping. If you enjoy baths, take a long one after the kids go to bed. It’s up to you.
- Have a hobby that you can participate in and do on a monthly basis. It gives you something to look forward to during the month and gives you a break from life. This is a great outlet to do with other friends. For example: Go play golf, go to a painting class, or a cake decorating class, or join a Bible study group with people at church. If you have kids, pick your monthly nights in advance and switch out. One watches the kids for the evening while the other goes out, and then vice versa. Or you can get a sitter and go out at the same time.
Establish a Dating Routine.
- Go on consistently planned date nights. Ideally every week, but at a minimum, every month. I have heard so many couples say, “We can’t do that because we don’t have the money.” Do free things. A picnic in your living room, backyard, or at the park are all free.
- Get creative. “We don’t have a babysitter. I don’t trust anyone to keep Junior.” I empathize with you. I really, really do. But, if you have a church home that you love, you could probably find someone to trust Junior with who will love him for just a couple of hours. OR… have your date night at home after Junior goes to bed. I know, it’s not getting all fancied up and spending the night painting the town red, so to speak, but it accomplishes one of the reasons for date night, which is to connect with just the two of you for several hours of alone time.
- Vary the date plans. Plan a few special ones every now and then. Have fun dates. Have romantic dates. Do something interactive. Stay home and have a board game marathon!
Date nights don’t have to cost a fortune, and they don’t have to be elaborate, but they should be consistent. You might have to be creative sometimes, but you can still make them happen.
One final thought…
Oh, and one final thought on creating brilliantly healthy routines in your marriage… put your spouse first in everything. Always take a moment to consider them and their love language while creating intentional habits to pour into your relationship. If you aren’t sure of yours or your spouse’s love language, be sure to get the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. It’s one of my personal favorites. Or cruise over and take the love language quiz and find out for sure.
Consider this for a moment… Making demands suffocates love while true love gives freedom.
Over the next week, consider how you might begin incorporating some of the suggestions above into your daily routine. Come up with your own ideas about how you might go about adding brilliantly healthy habits to enrich your marriage.
Keep your spouse’s love languages at the forefront of your mind this week as you plot and plan to be intentional in your marriage. Try one or two of the ways listed below or come up with your own.
- Keep a written record of the words of affirmation you say to your spouse.
- Set a goal to give your spouse a compliment. Record them so you don’t duplicate. If you don’t have a clue what to say, be observant of your spouse and as you watch tv or movies, make a mental note of the ones that make sense for your spouse.
- Write a love letter to your spouse over the next few weeks.
- Build up your spouse to your friends, parents, or kids.
- Make a plan for your next date night.
- Put down any distractions and devote time to listening to your spouse this week.
This was a small excerpt from my book, Your Marriage Retreat: 7 Date Nights to a Thriving Marriage. If you are interested in reading more, it’s only $15 and set up as a series of date nights that you and your spouse can do together, whenever you want. Or let me mentor you through the content by enrolling in my marriage coaching program for only $47.
If intimacy is a challenge in your relationship, I would love to work with you. I can help you come up with a plan to get to thrive in your marriage. Visit me over at Truly Resilient Christian Counseling.