One of the things I talk a lot about on social media is how Jon and I prioritize intentional time together to focus on each other and our marriage – therefore making us the best versions of ourselves in the other roles in our lives. I get tons of comments and questions about what we do to maintain a strong partnership and love that people are interested in starting a dialogue about this. We’re certainly not experts but after 10 years together, we have learned so much about our own and the other’s needs and – unfortunately – how easy it is to start feeling more like roommates than spouses if we’re not careful. Life is busy and messy and sometimes (especially in parenthood), logistics can overshadow love if we don’t make space for it.
We work really hard to honor and pursue one another daily and these are some of our favorite habits and tools to do just that. None of these things are sponsored – we really use and love them and hope they help you, too!
1. WELL KNOWN
My best friend Kaitie and her husband created Well Known, a series of books designed to help people connect intentionally and know and love one another better. Jon and I keep a copy in the car because we drive at least an hour away each weekend (and thankfully Zuri is great in the car and normally sleeps) and this helps us have thoughtful conversation instead of just listening to NPR.
2. STATE OF THE UNION
My friend Matti mentioned this on our podcast episode last week and it’s such a great idea! She and her husband have a weekly meeting where they go over a set of family questions they call “The State of the Union.” Jon and I do something similar on our Thursday date nights (see below) and it’s been so special to help guide conversation and keep us from talking about work or how cute Zuri is the whole time. Lots of people asked if we would share the questions and the answer is duh, yes! I’m sending it out to my newsletter crew later today so make sure you’re signed up.
No spam, just me being honest with you and sharing some of my favorite things a few times a month ;)
3. FAMILY PLAN CALENDAR
My friends Brooke and T.J. created the Family Plan Calendar and – you guys – it has changed our world. Jon and I waffled back and forth between cheap wall calendars, trying to keep a shared Google calendar updated, and texting each other “what’s for dinner tonight” every day. We need structure.
The Family Plan Calendar live on our fridge and we spend Friday evenings over a yummy meal planning our week and being talking through what and who we’ll focus on. There’s space for weekly chores, meals, a grocery list, things we’re grateful for, and things we’re praying for. Our favorite parts are the word of the week and the section about how to refresh and reset during the weekend. If we’re not careful, the weekend can feel like an extension of the week, especially with a baby. This section forces us to plan activities that make us feel connected and like we spent quality time together enjoying our city. We feel way more organized since using this magical tool – which brings both Jon and I so much joy. A+++ :)
4. FRIDAY HOME DATES
Our Friday nights look significantly different these days than before Zuri came along (who am I kidding, we stopped staying out past 11pm when I was like 6 weeks pregnant and have never looked back) and sometimes I feel like I can’t look forward to Friday because it’s just another day. I’m excited to have Jon home for the weekend but the evening ends up just like the other nights of the week. We need to meal plan and grocery shop over the weekend and I can often feel the weight of these tasks because I’d rather just have brunch and hang out at a brewery all weekend.
So, we turned Friday nights into an at-home date and weekly planning session and love the routine! We cook a special meal or new recipe, bust out a bottle of wine, and put on a record so it feels exciting and then fill in our Family Plan Calendar and order groceries for pick up the next day. This keeps planning from being either a long drawn-out process that takes Zuri’s whole nap time on a Saturday or a rushed Sunday evening sprint.
We admittedly haven’t spent much time on this but it’s an incredible tool and I’m really excited to build this into our Friday dates. My friend Callie works for Lasting (a company of The Knot) and they specialize in accessible and affordable couple’s counseling and taking the stigma out of therapy. I love self discovery and growth and think therapy in any form is one of the healthiest habits. Marriage counseling does not mean you’re on the verge of divorce (and personal therapy does not mean you’re “crazy”). The best and strongest relationships are those that ask the hard questions, show up with an open mind, and focus on growth. We’re so excited about this.