It's no wonder that a marital relationship can feel a little strain; with work, childcare, housework and every other responsibility in the day, it's easy to feel disconnected from your spouse. The two of you are busy with your own tasks and by the time you have a chance to focus on one another, you're probably too tired to do more than collapse in bed. Fortunately, with a few well-planned and well-timed family activities, you can reconnect and strengthen your marriage, and spend some quality time with your children, too.
Spending more time together can help to strengthen a marriage that is suffering from a difficulty in relating to one another. Engaging in a regular activity together provides you and your spouse with more time to connect as a couple with the added bonus of more time with your children. Talk about the options together as a family and make a commitment to participate at least once each week. You can sign up for a family cooking class to bond over good food and add some flair to dinnertime. Enroll in a family martial arts class to work out and learn something new with your partner -- and you'll probably feel much more comfortable when your daughter's out with her friends.
Special Family Nights
You don't have to go out to spend some time together; you can bond just as easily in the comfort of your own home. Set aside one evening every week just for family. Have everyone turn off cell phones -- you are incommunicado with the rest of the world tonight -- and focus on enjoying each other's company. Spend an evening playing board games, host a movie and popcorn night, try out as many new dessert recipes as you can during the evening, or play freeze dance with young kids or a few rounds of billiards with teenagers. Try to choose a different at-home activity as often as possible to keep family nights fresh and fun.
Reach for a Goal
Work together as a family toward a common goal to help strengthen your marriage. Call a family meeting to share ideas and come up with an objective everyone can agree on. You can work toward a healthier lifestyle together by agreeing to change eating habits and incorporating regular exercise as a family. If it's been awhile since you've taken a family vacation, decide on a destination and talk about what everyone can contribute to make the getaway happen. Other objectives might be a new family pet or a backyard makeover with an adult lounge area and a play structure for the kids. If your goal requires a monetary investment, start a family piggy bank, and organize a garage sale to clear out storage and give your savings a boost.
I'm Great & You're Great
An activity that takes no planning or preparation, the I'm Great & You're Great game helps to remind spouses and children alike just how important each member is to the whole family. To play, have each member list something that is important, special or valuable about themselves, as well as something about each member of the family. Take turns until each of you has had a chance to bolster each other and feel like an important individual, too. For your marriage, this activity helps to build your own self confidence, and to remember and appreciate the important and much-loved characteristics of your partner. Play this game occasionally over the breakfast table or at dinnertime, or try to make it a daily activity before bedtime.
- The Family Therapy Treatment Planner; Frank M. Dattilio, et al.
- Your Guide on Family Activities; Catherine J. Kelley
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