A Dozen Things You Can Do to Keep Your Marriage Fresh & Fun

A Dozen Things to Keep Your Marriage Fresh & Fun

It’s not always a party around here.

Not that we don’t have a good time or that we don’t love each other.

Because, of course, we do.

But there are some seasons that are tougher than others.

We both have so much on our plates that we begin to feel weighed down by the pressures and bills and time-constraints. Health concerns and relational-challenges. It all just keeps coming at us and life doesn’t feel as fun as it used to be.

And so a general heaviness sets in.

But we can’t let that go on like this for too long because it’s not only “not fun”  – it’s not really right either. It’s not good for our health, not good for our family, and certainly not good for our relationship.

So something needs to change!

The funny thing is that the solution doesn’t have to be all that dramatic or expensive. It’s often those simple or relatively easy things that help revive our friendship and restore that spark.

A small investment with a big return.

Now in case you and yours ever find yourself in such a season? Here are some things that Matthew and I like to do when we’re stuck in a rut or are feeling the strain . . . .

A Dozen Things to Do to Keep Your Marriage Fresh & Fun

A Dozen Things to Keep Your Marriage Fresh and Fun

1.     Go for a walk in the fresh air.

When we’re crazy-busy and don’t have the time, or if we can’t get too far from the house, we will simply go for a walk. We might only walk up and down our long driveway, or possible wander out on the trails that go out into the desert behind our house. As long as we’re holding hands – sometimes talking and sometimes silent – we’re happy together.

2.     Try a new place to eat.

Now this might just be us, but we love finding some neat little place to eat! Some place that we’ve never tried before. He and I especially enjoy all kinds of ethnic food – Thai, Mediterranean, Indian, Vietnamese – you name it! Yum.

3.     Watch a funny or fascinating movie.

While watching movies isn’t usually my favorite thing to do, I’ll confess that it can be rather nice to “check out” and get a good laugh from a comedy, or temporarily disappear into another place or time in a well-done film. Just don’t tell our kids that I admitted, that okay? 😉

4.     Cook up something new that you’ve never tried before.

I don’t know why this is, but trying out a new recipe or cooking up something special can turn an ordinary evening into a celebration. Caramel popcorn, onion rings, guacamole al fresco—we’ve tried them all! Five stars.

5.     Invite old friends over that you haven’t seen for a while.

Do you know those longtime friends whom you just love . . . but never seem to get around to getting together? Call them up! Ask them over and order pizza. Then laugh over old times and get caught on on new happenings. We recently went out for Thai food with friends we’ve known since before we married. Talked about everything. Sweet for the soul!

6.     Make new friends by asking interesting people over.

This is more my husband’s strong point than mine, but I’m wanting to grow in this. When you’re going through a hard time, it can be difficult to reach out when you feel like you’re merely hanging on.  Yet we’ve found that it can be “just the thing” to lighten things up to focus on new people and new friendships.

For the Woman Who Is Simply Weary of Serving - The Super-Homemaker

7.     Throw a party.

Small party or big party – it doesn’t matter! Open up your doors and let the festivities begin. Yes, it can require a bit more work (when you’re already feeling over-worked), but the benefits of fun and fellowship make it all worthwhile.

8.     Tell him something you’ve never told him before.

Share a wonderful memory you have from your childhood. Tell him about that camping adventure or that silly experiment you tried. Maybe talk about your favorite book or biggest accomplishment. Then ask him about his too!

9.    Step outside the usual routine.

I don’t know about you, but I tend to be a “creature of habit.” I like my routine. A lot. But there are times that shaking things up and doing it totally different is just what’s needed! I might surprise him and suggest we watch a late-night movie (we’re usually in bed by 10pm) or challenge him to a boardgame together. Woohoo!

10.   Sneak away with only the two of you.

You have all kinds of reasons why you can’t. So many responsibilities, not enough time, and can’t afford it. I get it. I really do. But do it anyway. There is no better investment than in your marriage. Make it a priority, even if it’s not “screaming” at you in the way these other things are in your life.

11.    Lighten up with a good laugh.

I’m not sure I should tell you this, but the truth is that he and I are both big teases. He is worse than I am, but I find great satisfaction in catching him off-guard with a joke of my own now and then. We flirt, laugh, and play practical jokes on each other often. It’s one of our “secret” ingredients. :)

12.    Pray for one another.

When my eyes for him are clouded with the stress and strain of our situation, I ask God to give me “fresh eyes” for my husband. I pray that He will restore our love for each other and infuse new life in our relationship. He has always been faithful to answer that prayer.

So be sure and invest in your marriage. Don’t let the urgent and the heavy keep you from enjoying one another as God intended. Keep it fun and fresh.

Try one of these ways . . . or maybe all twelve!

In His grace,
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*What are some of the ways that you like to bring light and life into your marriage?

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100 Ways to Love  by Matthew and Lisa Jacobson

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Summer Marriage Splash Series

Summer Marriage Splash - Reading 2014

So do you have a favorite season?

Mine is summer. Hands down.

I love the sunshine.

I love the lighter schedule.

And I love reading on our front porch swing with a glass of iced tea.

Would you believe I already have a stack of books waiting impatiently for me and for summer to begin?

How about you? What do you enjoy about summer? And what books will you be reading?

I have some recommendations, if you’re looking for any. I have read each of these books below and each one has blessed me and encouraged my marriage in a different way.

And with that in mind,  recently the authors and I got together and decided we should celebrate summer by putting on a fun Summer Marriage Splash!

Five days. Five bloggers. Five books.

Yes, every day this week, we’re going to be sharing something encouraging and inspiring for your marriage. How’s that for a terrific way to kick off the summer?

Here’s how it’s going to work. Today is my day (as you see) and then here is the schedule for the rest of the gals.

I hope you’ll get the chance to visit each every one of them and benefit from their wisdom and insight. You’ll be very glad you did!

So grab an iced tea (if you like)  and then hop on over to my post here and then on over to each of the others as the week unfolds. I’ll look forward to seeing you over there . . .

With many blessings on you, your marriage, and the warm summer months to come!

In His grace,
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(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Summer Marriage Splash Book Recommendations:

The Virtuous LifeThe Virtuous Life of a Christ-Centered Wife: 18 Powerful Lessons for Personal Growth by Darlene Schacht

“Powerful, is right. This is such an encouraging and challenging book for any wife to pick up – whether she’s newly married or been married for many years.” ~ Amazon review

Time-WarpWife: Keeping Christ at the Center of Marriage

Women Living Well by Courtney JosephWomen Living Well: Find Your Joy in God, Your Man, Your Kids, and Your Home by Courtney Joseph

“I came away from the book with practical tips to loving my family better, making my home a haven and strengthening my relationship with Christ.” ~ Amazon review

WomenLivingWell: Finding Joy in God, Your Man, Your Kids and Your Home

Wife After God by Jennifer SmithWife After God: Drawing Closer to God & Your Husband
by Jennifer Smith

“Whether you are going through a rough patch in your marriage (like we all do!) or your marriage is doing wonderfully, there is something in here to encourage, challenge you and help you improve your marriage and your walk with The Lord.” ~ Amazon review

Unveiled Wife: Encouraging Wives Daily

Team US by Ashleigh Slater Team Us: Marriage Together
by Ashleigh Slater

“Team Us is a lighthearted, encouraging read with a poignant message: marriage is one of the greatest adventures God gives us in this life. Make the most of it!” ~ Amazon review

AshleighSlater: Encouraging Couples to do Marriage Together

200429208-001100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson

“This is a “must have” little book for every married woman or yet to be married woman! It comprises 100 practical little thoughts, well laid out and each one profound and challenging in its own way.” ~ Amazon review

Club31Women: Sharing a Passion for Husband, Home and Family

 

If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get the FREE eBook, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage).

The First 5 Steps Toward a Loving Marriage: A Summer Marriage Splash

Summer Marriage Splash - Lisa Jacobson

How do you create a loving marriage?

That’s what she asked and that’s the question that stopped me right in my tracks.

It was late afternoon and we had just returned from running errands, so I was scurrying about putting groceries away while trying to figure out what we should have for dinner.

Our daughter had been chattering away at me and I had been listening. Or somewhat listening. But mostly I was concerned how I was going to make room in the freezer for all the ground beef we’d picked up in town.

But when she threw that question at me? Well, that put a halt to everything.

Suddenly dinner – or freezer space – didn’t seem all that important.

I think it was that she used the word create that got my attention. Seemed so insightful for a teenage girl to pick such a word. Not “have” or “get” or even “find” – but CREATE. Such a big, powerful word when you think about it.

So I closed the freezer and we sat down at the kitchen table and dove into a good, long talk.

I closed my eyes and mulled her question over in my mind.

Then I mentioned one thing. Then another. And then finally laughed, “Oh, it’s that and about a hundred other things!”

And that was how the book, 100 Ways to Love Your Husband, really started.

So here’s the beginning answer to that big question, How Do You Create a Loving Marriage?

#1

Always choose love.

Above all things. I Corinthians 13

#2

Greet him with a loving smile.

Who wouldn’t love coming home to that every night? Even if you are tired too. Or have something else on your mind. Put that aside for just a while to make his day wonderful with your warm, loving smile. There are not many smiles out in the world these days, so let yours be one of the few and the best in his life.

#3

Let the little things go.

Don’t hang on to small annoyances. So many marriages have slowly deteriorated over the smallest, silliest things. He doesn’t take out the trash? He snores at night? He’s terrible about leaving the laundry on the floor? It’s not all that big of a deal. Just put it behind you and get on with loving him instead.

#4

Work through the big things.

Take the time to talk those through. Yes, it might mean some hard work and long hours, but it will be worth it. Don’t let the things that really matter go. It’s worth the effort to address it and deal with it. Otherwise, you’re left with a shallow and/or a hurting relationship. No way. Go deep.

#5

Don’t try to change him.

He’s a good man just as he is. He might have room to grow – but then again, so do you. Leave that work to the Holy Spirit. He (the Spirit) is always so much more effective than we’ll ever be. So don’t make it your job to transform him, but to simply love him.

And so goes the list of 100 Ways to Love Your Husband. Simple steps really. But things I wish I’d have known and understood when I started my married life with him. I think it would have helped – helped a lot, actually. Which is why I wrote them down for you, or maybe for someone you know.

So if you’re looking for some fresh ideas or new encouragement in your marriage? I invite you to come along on this journey with me. Or if someone you know is soon to be married , she might  benefit from this “little handbook” on marriage as well (plus there’s the companion book to go with it, 100 Ways to Love Your Wife, written by my husband).

My hope and prayer is that people all over would come to enjoy loving marriages that are lasting and that honor God.

And that’s my prayer for you too.

100 Ways to Love Your Husband: A Life-Long Journey of Learning To Love  is currently available in both print and digital format. You can get the book here.

*This post is the first of the Summer Marriage Splash series going on all this week. Please be sure and check out Darlene’s post on Time-Warp Wife! Also, you can see who’s coming up by peaking at the authors of the books below. 

In His grace,
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(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Summer Marriage Splash Book Recommendations:

The Virtuous LifeThe Virtuous Life of a Christ-Centered Wife: 18 Powerful Lessons for Personal Growth by Darlene Schacht

“Powerful, is right. This is such an encouraging and challenging book for any wife to pick up – whether she’s newly married or been married for many years.” ~ Amazon review

Time-WarpWife: Keeping Christ at the Center of Marriage

Women Living Well by Courtney JosephWomen Living Well: Find Your Joy in God, Your Man, Your Kids, and Your Home by Courtney Joseph

“I came away from the book with practical tips to loving my family better, making my home a haven and strengthening my relationship with Christ.” ~ Amazon review

WomenLivingWell: Finding Joy in God, Your Man, Your Kids and Your Home

Wife After God by Jennifer SmithWife After God: Drawing Closer to God & Your Husband
by Jennifer Smith

“Whether you are going through a rough patch in your marriage (like we all do!) or your marriage is doing wonderfully, there is something in here to encourage, challenge you and help you improve your marriage and your walk with The Lord.” ~ Amazon review

Unveiled Wife: Encouraging Wives Daily

Team US by Ashleigh Slater Team Us: Marriage Together
by Ashleigh Slater

“Team Us is a lighthearted, encouraging read with a poignant message: marriage is one of the greatest adventures God gives us in this life. Make the most of it!” ~ Amazon review

AshleighSlater: Encouraging Couples to do Marriage Together

200429208-001100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson

“This is a “must have” little book for every married woman or yet to be married woman! It comprises 100 practical little thoughts, well laid out and each one profound and challenging in its own way.” ~ Amazon review

Club31Women: Sharing a Passion for Husband, Home and Family

 

If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get the FREE eBook, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage).

A Book Review – Team US: Marriage Together

Team US - A Club31Women Book Review

“Our singles pastor says I should just marry you.”

The man across the table informed me before taking yet another nervous bite of his cucumber salad.

The man across the table . . . That was Ted.

This was our first lunch together.

Ted and I had hung out before. Sure, lots of times. Always with a group of friends, though. Never just the two of us. This was something new.

I’d met the crazy-haired, piano-playing, website-designing man my first semester of grad school.

I wish I could say it was love at first sight, but it wasn’t.

I was so consumed with my twelve credit hours and my full-time job that I honestly don’t remember our first introduction. Had I known I’d go on to marry him, I’d have paid closer attention.

. . . Ted remembers his words that day with an I-can’t-believe-I-said-that kind of laugh and comments, “Add that to the list of things not to say on a first kinda-date.”

Little did either of us know that a proposal wasn’t far off though. Within that calendar year, Ted would do more than just tell me [the pastor’s] views on our blooming relationship. He’d propose. And I’d accept with what Ted still claims was a “Yes, of course!”

That December, I’d go on to win the prize for the happiest bride . . . .

~ This post has been excerpted from Team Us by Ashleigh Slater. Used with permission from Moody Publishers © 2014.

Team US with Ted and Ashleigh Slater

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A Club31Women Book Review

Team Us: Marriage Together

Club31Women Book Reviews1A friend of mine recently asked me about my enthusiasm for this newly-released book, Team US: Marriage Together. She was a bit surprised – knowing I am an avid reader and how many books on marriage are out there.

So what’s different about this one? What makes it stand out in your mind?

Good question. And this would be my answer.

1.      Personal.  Rather than a clinical look at marriage, this is a personal look at a real marriage – not only Ted and Ashleigh’s marriage, but others’ as well.

2.      Realistic.  With that in mind, Ashleigh uses real-life examples of ”the good, the bad, and the ugly” in marriage. These are not merely hypothetical situations either, but how it can genuinely look in a relationship. The honesty here is very refreshing.

3.      For both spouses.  I appreciated the way Ted chimes in with his thoughts and perspective. Very effective and helpful to hear from both husband and wife.

4.      Humor.  While the author takes a serious look at marriage, her sense of humor – and her husband’s – made me laugh right aloud a number of times throughout the book. (Okay, so I teared-up a couple of times too, but I can’t tell you about that without a *spoiler alert).

To sum up,  I’ll close with the “official” endorsement written by my husband and me:

Like a conversation with a true friend, this book is open, real, and honest. Ashleigh invites you inside her heart and home to humbly share wisdom gained from experiences she and her husband walked through. Here you’ll find solid teaching that is gentle, yet poignant, with a touch of humor, showing how to trust, to love freely, to keep no record of wrongs…and the many other ways of living that make for a rich, fulfilling marriage. We highly recommend this book for couples of any age. ~ Matthew and Lisa Jacobson

Team US: Marriage Together
by Ashleigh Slater
176 pp, Moody Publishers; (June 1, 2014).

Team US: Marriage Together is a relatively short, highly-readable book consisting of 10 chapters with titles such as, Conflict 101 and Finishing Well. At the end of each chapter is a small section, called Us Time, with questions to consider and discuss with your spouse (if possible). Forward by Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages. Endorsed by Kirk Cameron and Gary Thomas. Highly recommended.

You can get a copy of your book here –  Team Us: Marriage Together

The Slater FamilyThe Slater family goofing around at DisneyWorld. :)

Ted and Ashleigh Slater

 Ted and Ashleigh (the author) Slater

Club31Women Book Reviews will be a regular feature (once or twice-monthly) offered to the community here. I know that there are many books out there  – boy! do I know –  and my desire is to present the ones that, in my opinion,  are stand-outs and worthy of your consideration and time.

I hope you’ve found this review helpful and encouraging.

In His grace,
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(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)
100 Ways to Love eBooks Tiny*Our books are now available – in both print and digital format:  100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L. Jacobson

If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get the FREE eBook, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage).

FREE Printable: 25 Tips I Want to Share with Younger Wives

25 Tips I want to Share With Younger Wives Printable

*Last April I shared with you this . . . 

She asked if we could meet for coffee. Clearly, something was on her mind.

She’s a wonderful young lady and full of the hopes and dreams that come with youth. She wants a beautiful marriage. Yet she’d also been around long enough to know that a strong, loving marriage isn’t a guarantee.

So we sat down in a quiet cafe and she asked me outright. What does it take to build a lovely marriage? What advice could I give? What would keep the two of them loving each other in the years to come?

And I thought about the things I wish I would have known from the beginning – those things that really matter at the end of the day. Some are big and some are small, but they all add up over the years to a strong, loving marriage.

Here’s what I want to share with her and any others  looking for that kind of love . . . .

and now this printable is available for those of you who have asked. 

Simply click the link below to download the free printable:

25 Tips I Want to Share with Younger Wives Free Printable

Blessings on your marriage and the loving years to come!

In His grace,

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100 Ways to Love eBooks Tiny*Our books are now available – in both print and digital format:  100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love to Your Wife by Matthew L. Jacobson

If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get the FREE eBook, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage).

A Free eBook Offer: 10 Things You Won’t Find in a Godly Marriage

Cecilee & Matt Engagements

Because sometimes it’s good when certain things go missing from our marriages . . .
~ Matthew L Jacobson

A Sharp Tongue

Have you ever given into the desire to make it sting?

It can be easy to cut with words when things don’t go our way.

Even one time is too often but, how often do we cut ourselves slack in cutting with our tongues?

“But, you made me so angry,”

“What you said made me respond that way,”

“I would never talk like that if you weren’t so . . .”

Most of us are pretty creative when it comes to justifying our sin. That’s exactly what exercising a sharp tongue is: sin.

“Sharp Tongues” can come in two varieties.

First, there are the words themselves that are biting or cutting. “You’re such a . . . Why don’t you just . . . You make me . . . You’re so . . . You . . .”

Then there is the way we say it – our tone and countenance – the vibe we choose to communicate. Our tone and body language can be just as razor-edged as our words. With a change of tone and a roll of the eyes, a simple comment can become a cutting put-down. “Thank you” under those conditions doesn’t need interpretation. Instead of expressing appreciation, it suddenly means, “You’re such a jerk. Why don’t you shut up?”

I have a question for you. There can be exceptions, but when was the last time you regretted what you didn’t say?

Everyone remembers the time (many times!) we said something we regretted but, rarely have I regretted restraining myself during the urge to “just say it” in an intense moment.

The Bible has a lot to say about the words we use.

How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and is set on fire by hell . . . no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing . . . a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
~ from James, Chapter 3

As the Scriptures state, it’s normal for our flesh to embrace the impulse to use sharp, cutting words on each other. What could be more natural? But a godly couple doesn’t give in to this ungodly impulse because they’ve subdued their natural tendency and obey the direct instruction of Scripture.

A soft answer turns away wrath. ~ Proverbs 15:1.

This is a small but powerful verse. Even in the midst of rising temperatures, responding with softness of spirit and with soft words often derails the flesh’s tendency to sin.

Pleasant words are as honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. ~ Proverbs 16:24

There is no place for a sharp tongue in any relationship and that’s why you won’t find one in a Christ-honoring marriage.

*To celebrate my husband Matthew’s newly re-designed website (check it out – isn’t it spiffy?), he is offering this free ebook, 10 Things You Won’t Find in a Godly Marriage, to his subscribers. This post is an excerpt from that book. You can find him here: MatthewLJacobson.com

Matthew L Jacobson bio shotMatthew L Jacobson is an author, president of Loyal Arts Literary Agency, and teaching elder in the local church. He’s married to Lisa, and together they’re bringing up their 8 children on a small acreage in the Pacific NW. When they’re not gardening or reading, you’ll find them holding hands, sipping Peet’s coffee, or deep into conversation with some – or all – of their children.

100 Ways to Love eBooks Tiny*Our latest books are now available – in both print and digital format:  100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love to Your Wife by Matthew L. Jacobson