Ever get that feeling that your spouse is more of a business partner than a life-long friend? That’s pretty scary to me! When our lives are just planning and working, never connecting, I’ll guarantee fights will be more common and nothing will really get done. You’ve seen the Disney movies: working as a team takes friendship.
My mentality did a 180 when I realized what was happening. Suddenly the housework, our debt, paychecks, work, whatever took a backseat. None of it means anything without Chris. I’m gonna reconnect with him just like we did as fresh lovers. Whatever it takes.
Hardcore mode engaged!
How did we get into this mess? Chris got a new job, but it had night hours. My job had day hours. Although it was a major improvement from McDonald’s, the poor paychecks and hours hit us hard. Little to eat and little time together took their toll as months crawled by. I worked extra hard to try to compensate, but in the end, there was nothing I could do to fix it without teamwork and prayer.
Chris is very close to finding a good job with daytime hours (thank God!). We grew in financial and mental maturity through it all. I can’t wait till Chris can come home for dinner!
Another thing we learned from it was how to make the most of our precious little time together. Here are 21 ways couples can keep the fire lit in our marriage when bills and time are slim:
21 FREE Ways to Reconnect with Your Spouse
(Side note: I’m not affiliated with any of these links)
- Pillow fight! Buy some great slapping pillows if you have to.
- Watch a movie… naked (I’ll bet you won’t make it through the whole movie)
- Visit a “toy” store–whatever “toy” means to both of you. We love furniture or video game stores.
- Take a drive. It can be a quiet evening underneath the stars, or a summer day with the windows down and Toby Mac blaring on the highway. Whatever floats your boat.
- Watch an inspiring movie then have a talk. Chris and I sometimes have a hard time starting a deep conversation with each other. Watching an inspiring movie has sparked many very memorable moments together.
- Do a hobby together (like writing a story). Engaging in something one or both of us has a deep passion for bonds us together in a special way. You could also try something completely new together.
- Clean the house together
- Do each other’s chores (giving each other a break and still getting things done)
- Throw out some junk and organize. I did this for our desk area by myself. Now he can sort the mail and pay bills faster and with less stress. That saves energy for being together.
- Plan your life goals together. Even if it seems ridiculous. Chris and I pretend that we will be rich in the next ten years. “What will we do with all that money?” Take time to dream about your future together, both realistically and pretend. If you’re feeling crafty, find a house planning app and design your dream mansion together.
- Reflective listening: We learned this in marriage counseling. Looking each other in the eye, your spouse says “I feel like…” and explains something dirty honest that’s weighing on his/her heart. Instead of reacting, you simply repeat back what was said in your own words. “So you’re saying that…” If the reflection is correct, then follow up with “Anything else?” If it is incorrect, then have your spouse explain it again in different words. Repeat it back until you get it right.
- Massage each other. Here’s an easy how-to massage (Be careful though! Don’t break your lover). Olive oil or coconut oil helps your hands rub smoothly and painlessly. It’s also crazy good for you. You can also mix in relaxing essential oils like Lavender to boost the experience. More about DIY massage oils here.
- Do devotions separately and then come together to talk about what you read.
- Go out to eat–even just $5 worth. Sometimes we just need to ESCAPE our crazy world. In times like this, when we’re broke and desperate, fast food tastes so amazing. I know this isn’t “free”, but when our schedule is tight our only free time is when we’re both hungry. So turning mealtime into a date is worth it! If you’re clever, you can find coupons and deals to make your meal practically free.
- Connect with your family together. You’d be surprised by how much you can learn about your spouse by getting to know his/her family
- Walk in the park (with Pokemon go if you need it less boring). For our first anniversary, we took our nerf swords to the park and had a duel.
- Nerf war, video games, board games. Don’t underestimate the bonding power of laughter and fun.
- Simplify your life and prioritize. Think about how you spend your time and resources. What is holding you back from what matters the most to you and your marriage? Maybe you should just let some things go? Or what if you found creative ways to do your schedule more efficiently? Like ordering online instead of going shopping. Or spending a day to make freezer meals so you won’t have to cook. Or getting rid of what you don’t use so it doesn’t clutter up your life. Giving up isn’t all bad. When used right, giving up is the best decision you could ever make.
- Write romantic, encouraging messages on sticky notes. When we make each other’s lunches, we like to write on the sandwich bag something to make each other smile. Here are 10 great love note ideas.
- Visit each other at work. That way you can spend quality time getting to know what your spouse’s life is like 40-50 hours each week. It’s a part of them that you’re not used to seeing. It means the world to them to have you there to cheer them on now and then.
- Set aside time to talk about something that is not kids, money, chores, or work. Even when you both were just dating, you purposely made time to have meaningful conversations together. Nothing’s changed, really.
- Something that REALLY helped us with communication when we barely saw each other is a corkboard. Seriously, it was a major game changer! Chris has trouble remembering what needs doing or where things are. I can pin receipts and coupons he needs, a grocery list, a gentle reminder, or dreams for our future. Its a far cry from actually talking with him, but its definitely better than nothing. We also bought a smaller marker board for the fridge so I can write what I made for dinner that he can warm up.
- The other game changer for our marriage was EveryDollar. When schedules are tight and money is scarce, poor communication about what to buy when is the LAST thing you need in your life. Since its accessible on our phones as well as our computer, we barely need to talk about money ever. It was the most stress-relieving thing we ever did. Even when paychecks get scary low, we know exactly what we need to do to navigate through it. When anything changes in the budget plan (it always does), it only takes a text or two to communicate whats going on. This app more than pays for itself!
That’s all for now. What are your favorite ways to connect with your spouse? Share it with us below 🙂
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