When my husband and I catch up with old friends, we are quick to ask, “what show are you watching?” We often enjoy relaxing together in the evenings throughout the work week by watching a season (or more) on Netflix or Amazon Prime. After recently finishing a gripping series, we habitually returned to our designated spots on the couch, but found ourselves at a standstill.
I hope my husband and I are not alone in the dull experience of spending more time scrolling through a streaming platform than actually watching a show. In an effort to increase the quality in the valuable time we spend together, I offer suggestions to stay on the couch—without turning on the TV. We hope you will share your own ideas for high-quality time with our community on Facebook or Instagram.
A recent post offers additional inspiration and encouragement to Reduce Screen Time in your Marriage.
Read a book
Rather than deciding on a show to watch together, consider deciding on a book that sparks both your interests. You and your beloved may enjoy having an intentional dialogue at the end of each chapter, or perhaps you prefer to sit side-by-side and silently read for pleasure. Even more, you may prefer to read completely different books. The primary intention is to share an experience in the quiet joy of companionship.
Plan a dream vacation
Where would you go? What would you do? What would you eat? Even if you don’t anticipate the possibility of making this imagination vacation a reality, creating a dream together builds communication, collaboration, enthusiasm, and shared goals. But hold onto your plan--you never know when the opportunity for travel will present itself in the future.
Look up new recipes
...Then set a date and plan to make the recipes for a stay-at-home date night. It can be overwhelming for one person to plan a romantic menu, find recipes, purchase and prepare ingredients, and set a full meal on the table. Sharing the process, responsibilities, and experience provides quality time with each step. Bon appetit!
Complete a personality test
If the last time you took a specific personality test was before you were married, have any of the results changed? Do your personality test results compliment each other in surprising ways? Snuggle up on the couch, independently complete the questionnaires and review the analysis together; the results may offer a new insight about your spouse, or a different perspective to understand their unique quirks.
Use an interior design template to brainstorm your ideal home or room decor
There are a number of DIY interior design books on the market, and many of them include a blank worksheet to help organize the ideas in your brain into a two-dimensional vision on paper. If there is a room in your home that needs some renovating, make time to create a plan and prepare the next steps. Beginning the brainstorming process in a relaxed setting can provide a calm environment to discuss potentially conflicting ideas. If your home is already decorated or the budget is too tight for renovations, have some fun creating a far-fetched dream room. Would it be a game room, at-home gym, or movie theater? Maybe the far-fetched dream is to update a pre-existing room with luxurious features and decor. Dream big while you use your creative imaginations together.
Focus on spiritual intimacy
Journey together through a devotional designed for couples, and follow the given prompts for each day or week. Pray a rosary, chaplet, or novena. Work together to memorize a new prayer—with one spouse looking at the words and the other spouse practicing from memory. Read and reflect together on the Scripture for the upcoming Sunday’s Mass. Although daily Mass and adoration are beautiful, sacred experiences to share with your spouse, Christ dwells in your home—even with you on the couch—and yearns to be an active participant in your domestic life.
Travel through time
Ask your families to share old photo albums or home videos with you. If you and your spouse were not friends during the childhood years, get to know the child who grew up to marry you. Videos reveal the sweet voice of their younger years. Pictures are a provocation for stories, faded memories, and old relationships. In what ways do you see your spouse’s inner child still alive today?
Muster up new energy
Dare I suggest you break routine, get off the couch, and do something different? My husband and I live walking distance from a bowling alley; it has quickly become our favorite place to get some pizza and hang out on a weeknight. Find a swing set and push each other so high the posts start to rock. Go on a walk around the neighborhood. Stuff your purse with snacks and visit the nearby movie theater. Invite a friend or another couple over for dinner.
Taking time to relax, prioritizing your friendship, and enjoying little pleasures together in this season of life—before your evenings are potentially filled with children’s bedtime routines—helps establish a foundation for a strong, resilient marriage.