When you're married, it is important that you spend time together. And by that I mean you spend time away from your children or others where you are both focused on one another instead of being focused on your phones or other things that can prove to be distracting in life.
As of now, Jonathan and I have been married for less than a year. We married on March 18, 2017, but we had been together for several years before tying the knot. I am 24 and he is 21, so we are both young and we are both just starting out in life. I've been in the full-time workforce for about 3-4 years, and he has been in the full-time workforce for around 2-3 years, so we don't have a ton of money. We also live in a home and we pay rent and utilities on our own, so we don't have the chance to save up most of our paychecks to use for vacations and so forth.
So, in this blog post, I want to give all you other couples out there a few ideas on what you can do with your spouse that is guaranteed to make you put down your phones and spend time together:
NO. 1: PUT A SPIN ON COOKING DINNER
One of my all-time favorite things to do with Jonathan is to cook with him. We are both self-described foodies who love not only enjoying great food, but making great food ourselves.
However, we normally switch off on cooking. One of us will generally do all of the cooking for each meal. If you want to really bond with your spouse, you should cook together. Try something like homemade pizza or cookie baking and decorating. It is super customizable and you will have time to sit down with one another and talk. You won't be able to get to your phones without wiping your hands, and it gives you a chance to learn more and more about them.
PRO-TIP: Jonathan and I are that goofy couple. One of the biggest things that attracted us to one another is that we have a similar sense of humor. We LOVE to pretend we have cameras in our kitchen that are recording our own internationally-televised cooking show. We sometimes use goofy accents and we fully explain the entire process of how we are cooking our meals out loud. Give it a try!
NO. 2: HAVE A MOVIE MARATHON IN A FORT
One thing that Jonathan and I did that we both loved was taking the extra mattress we have laying in one of the spare bedrooms and setting it up on our living room floor. We pile the mattress high with blankets and practically every pillow in the house.
After that, we search through our DVDs or through the listings on Netflix and choose a few movies that we like. I personally love different types of movies than Jonathan does, so we will occasionally watch one of my choices, then one of his choices, and so on.
We also love going to the movies during the cheapest time (our movie theater offers cheap tickets before noon) and watching YouTube videos together.
This is always a great option because it is cheap and great for snow days or days when you just want to chill at home.
NO. 3: HOME IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS
There is absolutely nothing that has tested our marriage (for the better) than issues we have with furniture or appliances in our home.
Not long after we moved, we started to have an issue with our dryer. Or at least, that's what we thought. I am fortunate to be married to someone who is rather handy. We replaced the heating element by going to a sketchy parts store in a bad part of town where we 1) HAD to pay in cash, and 2) didn't get a receipt.
We replaced the heating element and they ended up taking the one we brought in. Pretty sure we got scammed! But we went home and it still wasn't working. It turned out that it was actually our washing machine. The machine was a hand-me-down. It had been pretty reliable, but we eventually realized that a part needed to be replaced. We worked hard to replace it, but it just didn't work out.
I had gotten a refund check from something that was about $75, and I found another used washer on LetGo for $75, so our pastor helped us haul it over and replace it. Although this was stressful, we learned that we worked great together and both had the same goal in mind.
We've also painted furniture together, rearranged rooms, and cleaned the house together. Working together to reach a common goal is awesome!
NO. 4: MAKE VIDEOS TOGETHER
Like I said, Jonathan and I are goofy, so we love to make videos together. Shameless plug: we have a YouTube channel we would love for you to check out. Here is a video we both like. You can also do this video to get to know each other:
We enjoy not only making YouTube videos with one another, but also making short videos on Snapchat using filters that make us look silly. Some of our funniest inside jokes are from the natural flow of our sense of humor when recording videos.
Not only is this a great way for you to connect, it is also a great way to save your memories for down the line. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so moving pictures are worth all of the words you have to say! YouTube, at least for now, is free and anyone can post. If you get REALLY good at it, which we aren't right now, you can even make money off of advertisement revenue.
NO. 5: SHARING IN EACH OTHERS' INTERESTS
Another great way to connect while spending time with one another is to share in each others' interests. Honestly, it can be tough to put aside your contempt for something your spouse loves and you dislike, but doing so can create a stronger bond between the two of you.
For example, Jonathan LOVES cars. He is like a walking encyclopedia for cars. We will be sitting at a stoplight on the way to the grocery store and he'll just blurt out, "man, look at that 1999 Suzuki Grand Vitara" (this is an inside joke from watching TV together, lol). However, this isn't far off from what its like.
To connect with him, I let him quiz me on what cars are. It's funny because he often catches me looking at the logo or the text on the back of the car, but I think that I've gotten better at identifying at least the make of the cars we go past.
My hobby is writing, and I often share some of what I've written with Jonathan. I also love having opinions on things and Jonathan is great about listening and putting his two cents in, which is usually pretty close to what I have to say on the matter.
We also share hobbies that we both like, mainly music. We both grew up in band learning how to play and sing music. We connect with that a lot. Our tastes in music are pretty similar as well.
I hope that these few ideas will help you to really connect with your spouse, even when you don't have a ton of money to go out and do more extravagant things.
Communication is key. Don't just go through the motions, really talk. It will help you to form a bond that can turn your spouse into your best friend, which is always what is best for great, long-lasting relationships.