Day 6 - Evenings with Your Spouse
Think back to when you were newlyweds - bedtime was exciting, looked forward to and special. Now let's fast forward ten years later, and you may have unintentionally slipped into some bedtime habits that aren't helping your marriage. In fact, they may be hurting it. Do you and your spouse go to bed at different times? Do you spend time surfing the internet or social media on your phones instead of connecting, or sleep in different rooms from time to time?
If so, these simple bedtime ritual ideas below will help you create the intentionality your marriage may be craving. Going to bed together is one of the defining activities of a married couple. The reality is that many couples, particularly after they have children, lose the connection with each other at the end of the day.
Ritualizing your bedtime routine will offer you and your spouse opportunities for communication, closeness, and more. Just think of it, you go to bed every single night. Night after night, and year after year. With a few simple suggestions, you can turn the norm into something that benefits and strengthens your marriage. Give it a try, you know you need to. Here are a few things that will nurture your marriage.
1. Set a Bedtime Schedule
It seems like a pretty simple suggestion, right? It works for the kids, but you may think you are too old for that sort of thing. Think again. Having a set bedtime creates predictability around your bedtime routine. When both you and your spouse know that lights are out at 11:30 pm, for example, then you have the start of a bedtime ritual in place already. You can then improve that bedtime ritual by setting other boundaries to protect the sacred time that should be yours in the hours before bed.
Listen up, guys! We recognize that some people are night owls and others like to go to bed early. If you and your spouse are opposites, compromise and set an "evening routine," that gives you the opportunity to do all of the things below, while still allowing you to go to bed at different times. For example, you may decide that from 9:00-10:30 pm, you are together in your bedroom, talking, cuddling, thinking, and perhaps making love. Then, if someone decides to go to bed at 10:30 pm and the other spouse decides to stay up until 12:30 am, at least you haven't missed the special chance for connecting that the hours before bed offer you.
2. Get Technology out of the Bedroom
This a tough one for a lot of us. Technology has stolen so much intimacy from marriages. Make your bedroom a sacred place. Decide on a time when technology is turned off in the bedroom. If we are using the 11:30 pm bedtime suggested above, perhaps 10:30 pm is a good time to turn technology off. That means no TV, no phones, no laptops, etc. We're not saying that positive things don't happen when you cuddle in bed and watch the news, but if you don't set boundaries for yourself, it is too easy to waste hours on technology. You might miss some of the most precious times you could be spending with your spouse on a daily basis.
3. Take Time to Talk
In the time leading up to bedtime, create a ritual of talking about positive things together for at least ten minutes. Some couples like to have "pillow talk" and lay in bed with the lights off, cuddling and just talking. Others prefer to just lounge on the bed, before lights out, and to have some catch-up time. Others still like to talk while they scratch each other's backs or give each other massages. Whatever you choose to do, make time to talk for at least ten minutes together before bed. Bedtime offers the perfect time to actually have time to talk, as husband and wife, after the hustle and bustle of busy days. Husbands, take note, creating a talk ritual will help meet your wife's emotional needs and make her feel closer to you and more likely to want to express her love to you in physical ways.
4. Create Time and Space to Make Love
The power of cherishing and protecting your bedtime rituals is that you create time and space for sex. Some couples actually like to schedule sex and determine that on certain days they are both ready and looking forward to it. Others like a more spontaneous approach. Whatever the case may be, following some of the rituals above will ensure that neither of you are too exhausted for sex and that you have already done a few things to feel closer together as a couple. One tip: make love first thing when you go in your bedroom for the night. This is in contrary to being the last thing after teeth are brushed, lights are out, and you are both tired and exhausted.
Evening Challenge: Try one of these tips above with your spouse. Talk about it first to see which one makes the most sense for nurturing your marriage. If needed, confess bad habits and your hope to change them.
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.