5 Ways to Stay Connected...

Under normal circumstances, it can be extremely difficult for couples to stay connected in a meaningful way. So throw in holiday stress, hosting, shopping, end-of-year closeout of projects at work, home cleaning and purging,... and you have a recipe for misunderstandings and conflicts. With that in mind, we wanted to offer 5 tips on staying connected with your spouse.

1. Aim to spend at least 100 minutes of intentional, focused time together per week.

Sounds simple, right? We thought so, too. Until we made the decision to be intentionally mindful of our time together each week. No phones. No TV, No distractions. Just you two, catching up at a heart level. It amounts to about 15 minutes per day, so it's definitely about quality more than quantity. You would be surprised by how much small, consistent deposits can add up in your marriage!

2. Have a Lunch Date.

Sometimes date nights can be few and far between. In our lives right now, with careers, babies, businesses, and books, date nights almost feel like urban legend, kinda like Bigfoot! We've learned to improvise by having lunch dates together when possible. For many couples, kids are in school or daycare, so childcare is less of an issue during the day. If your budget doesn't allow for your favorite lunch spot, try bringing lunch from home and meeting up somewhere. We've learned to relax our standards of what a "date" has to look like and just cherish the opportunities to be together and enjoy each other's company.

3. Share a journal.

This doesn't have to look a certain way. You can journal as usual and allow each other to read your random musings, or you can use the journal to write love letters to each other. Either way, it's an opportunity to share your heart and build intimacy.

4. Do a book study together.

This is one of our favorite things to do to build and strengthen our marriage. Choose a marriage building book and decide how you'll pace your discussions. Some couples may choose to read together at certain times if your schedule allows. Other couples (like us) read the book separately and discuss highlights as you can (even over text, at times). Lessons learned from your favorite marriage resources are excellent discussion topics during your 100 minutes throughout the week.

5. Tackle something on your task list TOGETHER.

In many marriages, there's frustration by one or both spouses that their spouse is always doing something other than designating attention to them. Maybe one spouse feels ignored or neglected. Whether it's the many chores around the house or the small children that require attention, one solution could be to tackle some of those responsibilities together. You get to spend time together and the work gets done twice as fast. Win-win for everyone!

What are some of your tips to stay connected in your marriage? Please share them in the comments.