You can spice up your marriage this week (part I)

Published 8 years ago

Tags: Marriage

Whether you are newlyweds or celebrating your silver anniversary, you can try some new activities that will add zest to your marriage and help you both communicate!

This is a two-part article. Part I discusses ways to add spark to your marriage and encourages couples to express love in ways the other will readily understand.

Play a board game together. Get a good old-fashioned one, like Scrabble or Monopoly.

Playing a game together (just the two of you) provides a non-stressful activity you can both work on and enjoy. Many couples already work on the bills together. They talk about child care, education, work, and other stressful topics together. A board game is a great stress reliever that will pull you and your spouse together again.

Watch her nose crinkle when she laughs. Look at his eyes when he’s concentrating on the game. This is still the same person you committed to on your wedding day.

Start a hobby together that you will both enjoy. Tennis, anyone?

A hobby together is like playing a board game on steroids. If you really want to stay close to your spouse, a mutual hobby is a great way to do it. There will probably be some compromise here. He may want to go hunting or bowling and she may want to play chess or go garage-sale bargain hunting. You’ll have to find something in which both of you are interested.

The point of the hobby together is to keep the two of you centered on a safe mutual interest that hones your communication skills. It also keeps the marriage fun and helps the couple fall in love again. According to Dr. Willard F. Harley Jr., a noted author and expert on marriage, the married couple should make sure their most enjoyable recreation time is spent together. Dr. Harley writes that married couples tend to spend more time apart as they have babies because someone always needs to be with the baby. However, couples tend to forget that they need to spend their most enjoyable recreation time together. This time creates (or sustains) an emotional attachment to the other person.

As it turns out, falling in and out of love is not as much of a mystery as some literature and music make it out to be. Love is simply an emotional reaction that is triggered by repeated associations of very good feelings with a person of the opposite sex. Technically, we can fall in love with anyone of the opposite sex if we feel particularly good whenever we are with that person. [1]

Go for walks together around your neighborhood and compare front yards.

It’s free, it’s good exercise, and it helps the two of you re-focus on your own house and yard. Be sure to hold hands when you walk.

Land is important to a family. Even if you have a city row house or a small lot in a suburban area, your own land is where you can grow a vegetable garden and watch your children play. You may not realize how important this is to the proper development of a child, but running around and exploring raw nature outside helps a child focus indoors. ADHD researchers have conducted studies with groups of children across the United States to confirm this.[2] If going outside is good for your children, it must also be good for you and your spouse. The fresh air and change of scenery clears the mind.

Leave love notes for each other in the bathroom. Or, write notes to each other in a notebook.

This is especially important if you once wrote notes to each other (for example, before you were married) but fell out of the habit.

The note doesn’t have to be a big production. Make it short and sweet so it doesn’t seem like a lot of work. Then it will actually get done and you won’t dread doing it! Here is an example for a man writing to his wife:

Hi honey,

I was thinking about you today and I want you to know how much I appreciate all you do around the house. I love you.

The above sample love note is very short. It has three expressions of love that a woman craves:

  • Thought. "I was thinking about you today." That means your mind is engaged on your wife.
  • Gratitude. "I appreciate..." The bitter feminist movements of the '60s, '70s, and '80s may not have even started if men showed women how thankful they were.
  • Articulation. "I love you." You actually have to say or write "I love you" to constantly remind your wife of it. Here is an example for a woman writing to her husband:

Hi honey,

I noticed how well you handled that phone call and I want you to know how proud I am of you. I really love and respect you.

This sample love note to a man has two expressions of love that a man craves:

  • Appreciation. "I noticed..." It doesn’t matter what you noticed. Just pick something he did that you were impressed with. Men need to be appreciated. This motivates them.
  • Respect. "how proud I am..." and "respect you." Regardless of their temperament, men crave respect, according to Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. He writes in his book Love & Respect that men need respect from their wives. St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (Eph 5:33) shows this as a revealed dogma of Christian marriage, according to Dr. Eggerichs.[3] Men need to be looked up to by their wives. Belittling or critical remarks wear them down, but respectful comments energize them.

Some people may voice an objection to being taught how to write love notes (or to speak these words to your spouse) because, they say, if you have to be shown what to write or say, it isn’t sincere. The simple answer to that is: only write in your love letter what you sincerely mean! Ladies, most men really do love their wives, but they literally don’t know how to express their love in a way you understand. The same goes for you: women may not really understand what kind of love a husband needs. These love expressions can be taught, but the words you use will always be your own.

Look for Part II of this article, which features even more ways to add zest to your marriage, keep it Catholic, and reawaken the love you and your spouse have for each other.

  1. Willard F. Harley, Jr., Ph.D., “Why Should a Couple Plan to Be with Each Other When They Are the Happiest?” (online from Marriage Builders (

  2. Jeannine Virtue, “Nature: An ADHD Treatment,” Mental Health Matters (online from

  3. Emerson Eggerichs, Ph.D., “About Love & Respect” (online from