You can spice up your marriage this week (Part II)

Published 8 years ago

Tags: Marriage

The previous article discussed ways to spice up your Catholic marriage. Part II 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.

Play one of your favorite songs from when you were dating, and dance together.

Like the love notes, this is more important for a couple who danced together in the past, but fell out of the habit. If you think your spouse won’t like dancing, try it anyway and see if your assumption is true. If neither of you enjoy dancing, stop and do something else. On the other hand, you may have both found a new activity together.

Music is very powerful. A relatively new field of study called "Music Cognition" shows that music affects the brain and can strongly affect memory. The Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, held a symposium in 2006 on music’s ability to affect memory. Topics included musical therapy and psychology. [1]

In the early 1980s, Dr. Howard Gardner developed a theory of "multiple intelligences." The idea is that children and adults learn best one certain way. Some learn through hearing, some are visual learners, some hands-on, and others are musical learners. Put words to a song, and the words will easily be memorized. [2]

What this means for your Catholic marriage is that music has an emotional and cognitive power that you can use to help bond your relationship with your spouse. The Church recognized this long ago; that’s why Gregorian chant is so old and has a place in the liturgy.

Pick a song you remember back when you were dating. A flood of memories will more than likely accompany that song. If they are happy memories, play the song when you and your spouse are alone together. The song should be a love song that doesn’t blatantly go against traditional marriage.

Play Charades together (a word guessing game where you cannot speak).

This makes the two of you focus on your body language more, and ironically, it will really improve your communication! Hint: A great time to play this game is when the baby is sleeping. It’s a quiet game that won’t wake the baby.

There are many forms of communication. Verbal communication is simply one of them. The really interesting thing about non-verbal communication is what it reveals. You may begin to feel "connected" with your spouse in a way you haven’t felt recently.

Unfortunately, this is because much verbal communication with one’s spouse is, shall we say, "charged." There is urgency to the voice, perhaps a critical tone; couples talk about what is important to them (the laundry, child care, bills, bills, and more bills).

Non-verbal communication in a relaxed, playful atmosphere (in a game of Charades or any other body language / non-verbal game) does not have this charged, stressful tone. Women in particular may learn a lot from this, as their husbands may readily agree to the game. This is because multiple studies have shown that women speak, on average, two to three times as many words per day as men. There are many conflicting studies regarding this, but all the research points to more words out of the mouths of women.

This kind of game might just be the thing your husband agrees to do with you.

If you’re both super busy, meet for lunch.

Make it a lunch appointment. Try to get a longer lunch hour for that day if you can.

It sounds weird, but treat your spouse as if he or she were a client or someone important to meet with. Write the lunch appointment into your calendar and actually make time for it. A babysitter at home and the couple going out for lunch alone is best. Both spouses at home during a lunch break, however, works almost as well.

Use this time to talk about whatever you want. Some couples may want to "catch up" and talk about all the errands they need to do; others may wish to only discuss non-stressful topics. The important thing is that both spouses agree to discuss whatever is mutually agreeable for the lunch break. This should not be an acrimonious time.

The important thing is to purposely break up a work day and force yourself to spend time with your spouse. Doing this once or twice a month (or more if you can) is a great way to stay "connected" with your spouse and show you really do care about his or her day.

You see, minds wander. For women especially, when too much time is spent away from each other, all kinds of nagging doubts enter the female mind. The devil knows just when to plant a little negative suggestion into the mind of your wife. If you don't spend enough time together, your wife may begin to wonder what you are doing. Trust may slowly break down over the course of several months.

Husbands, you can avoid all of this by showing your wife by your lunch appointment that she is so important, you are making time for her. This goes the other way around as well. Men will appreciate the respect and trust his wife has when she schedules a lunch date with him.

Spend 15 minutes in front of the tabernacle. Together.

Take a break from work (perhaps a lunch hour), meet your spouse at the nearest traditional Catholic Church, and spend 15 minutes of quiet time together, kneeling in front of the tabernacle. Ask God to bless your spouse. Trust and peace are critical to a good marriage. As Bishop Fulton J. Sheen once wrote, there are three to get married: the third party is the Holy Ghost. Bishop Sheen also wrote in his book Three to Get Married that true love rises up to meet the one who is loved. This is why the two of you should physically travel to the home of the third party in your marriage and visit Him.

"Because love goes up to meet the beloved," wrote Bishop Sheen, "it follows that the nobler the love, the nobler the character... Love is useless when alone, as it is in sleep or death." [3]

Bishop Sheen then drove home the real problem that modern people have:

[M]any hearts develop a restlessness and a fatigue which keep the rich busy running to psychoanalysts to have their anxiety explained away, and the poor having recourse to the cheaper charlatans of alcoholism and sleeping tablets.... The basic error of mankind has been to assume that only two are needed for love: you and me, or society and me, or humanity and me. Really it takes three: self, other selves, and God; you, me, and God.[4]

The 15 minutes of time you spend in prayer with your spouse, directly in the Real Presence of God, is in addition to the time you spend at Sunday Mass surrounded by a thousand other people. At the very least, try to spend 15 minutes every month at home if you can’t make it to a church. Pray some prayers together, asking God for help, re-consecrating your marriage, and thanking God for your spouse. As always, the husband must lead these prayers.

All of these activities have one thing in common: time. Life gets pretty busy with work, kids, and church activities. Sometimes we don’t remind our spouse how much we like him or her. It’s one thing to love someone, but do you like them?

You didn’t get married just to spend time away from each other. No one ever says, "Yes! I think I’ll get married so I can spend time away from my spouse, drift apart, and not enjoy any activities together."

Re-awaken the reasons you married in the first place. You might not like your spouse very much right now. Perhaps you can relate to some of these comments:

"He is grumpier than he used to be."
"He isn't patient with the kids."
"She isn't as pretty as she was when I married her."
"She criticizes me way too much."

Find focused activities you can do together like the ones in this article. It really is true that people have an affinity for those with whom they spend enjoyable time together. Shouldn't that person be the one you married in the first place?

  1. “Music Cognition Symposium 2006-2007,” Music Theory Dept., Eastman School of Music (online from

  2. Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D., “Multiple Intelligences” (online from

  3. Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, D.D., Three to Get Married (New York: Dell Publishing Co., 1951) p. 69.

  4. Ibid., pp. 71-72.