If we’re not careful, marriage can become business. We don’t mean for it to be that way. But gradually, day in and day out, we just get about the business of marriage. You’re picking up dinner and he’s grabbing the dry cleaning. You’re attending the PTA meeting and she’s picking up the kids from soccer. You both cross paths all day long while getting about the business of marriage.
I don’t think that’s what any of us dreamt of on our wedding day. I know I didn’t. But it happens all the same, over time and little by little.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. We can actually get out of the ho-hum routine and the cycle of day-to-day business. Here are nine ways to break the business of marriage:
1. Do Something Silly
Matt and I have a motion-activated trash can. When you wave your hand over the top, it opens for five seconds before it closes. A while back, Matt and I decided to make a game of throwing away our balled-up paper towels from dinner. We wave the trash can open, stand back, and both try to throw our paper towels into the trash before it closes. Whoever loses inevitably calls “do-over” and we end up getting the balls back out and playing several more times while laughing and having fun. Doing something silly is a great way to break up the business of marriage.
2. Do Something Spontaneous
Flying by the seat of your pants comes easier to some people than others. Regardless of your style, being spontaneous once in a while can spice things up. Just a week ago, I saw that a cover band was performing a reenactment of “The Last Waltz,” which was a concert by my husband’s favorite band. I told him about the concert, and within an hour we called about tickets, arranged childcare, and were out on a spontaneous date night. Instead of defaulting to “no” because of homework, rain, traffic, or 1,000 other excuses, find something to get into and go for it.
3. Do Something Sweet
Being sweet is one of the first things to go when the business of marriage gets demanding. And doing something sweet doesn’t have to be a theatrical display with fireworks and rose petals either. Sweet can mean bringing your spouse coffee in bed, sending them a song through iTunes with a short note that says “I was thinking of you today,” or even just holding their hand like you used to when you dated. Being sweet can be simple, but it goes a long way.
4. Do Something Selfless
Marriage works best when both spouses are actively selfless, but you can go even further and deliberately do selfless acts for your spouse. Maybe you can fill up your spouse’s gas tank and wash their car one morning. Or you could offer to watch the kids and send your spouse out for a day of fun.Being selfless breaks up the business of marriage and, most of all, demonstrates love.
5. Do Something Sentimental
There’s something beautiful about being known in marriage. You get to know each other like no one else in the world. You have jokes, memories and stories that remind you of your history together. You can break up the routine by doing something sentimental around those things for your spouse. Take her to the spot you went on your first date, or buy him a record of an old song you used to listen to together. Maybe you could just write a letter of your favorite memory from each year you’ve been together. Doing something sentimental can allow your past to create love in your present.
6. Do Something That’s A Surprise
Some people don’t like surprises, but surprises are fun for the most part. Find a way to be sneaky and surprise your spouse with something fun. It might be something as simple as cleaning out his work area in the garage or bringing her home a gift for no reason. Surprises are a great way to break up the boring in your lives.
7. Do Something Scandalous
Easy! I don’t mean that. I mean like 1950s small-town mischief kind of scandalous. Like sneak into a pool in a nearby apartment complex one night in the summer. When you get into some good old-fashioned mischief, you not only have fun and feel young again, but you definitely break up the business of marriage.
8. Do Something Sporty
My husband and I love to run together. (We even met in a running group!) And even though we don’t run as often as we used to, we still find ways to do active things. Injecting a little sporty fun into your marriage can give you an excuse to cheer for each other, have fun and become even more of a team.
9. Do Something Special
Every holiday and birthday doesn’t have to be Pinterest-perfect. But every now and then, when you can, find a way to do something truly special for your spouse. Several years ago, when my blog was just a fun little site to tell stories and practice writing, my husband turned it into a hardcover book as a gift. As I turned the pages and saw my own writing, stories and pictures, tears streamed down my cheeks at such a thoughtful gesture. Special things don’t have to happen every day, week or even month. In fact, that’s what makes them special. But every now and then, doing something special will shake things up a little and mean a lot to your spouse.
Whether you’ve been married three minutes, three years like I have, or thirty years, these nine ideas can help you break the boring and the business in your marriage. What would you add?