365 Days of Fun in Marriage

No more boring marriage! Try 365 for communication and ideas to add fun to everyday life.

Valentines–Did You Forget?

February14

Tip 390

Last Minute Love

his and her shoes in love with each other

from Clipart.com

I am guilty as charged for letting Valentine’s Day slip up on me. How could I do that when we try to focus so much on love, romance, and fun? That’s probably exactly how Valentine’s Day came without us thinking about it. Plus, we had both our birthdays within the past 2 weeks and we celebrate so much for those.

So, if you are like us and did not make advance plans for Valentine’s Day until the day is already here, never fear. Having a memorable Valentine’s Day is not lost. For the people who give their mom a Valentine’s gift, just make sure that what you give your honey is drastically different than what you give your mom. Nothing worse in the world than being treated like someone’s mother—and I love Mothers—but Valentine’s Day is a day for a different kind of love than focusing on maternal love.

Whatever you have done for Valentine’s in the past, do something different. Going out to dinner on Valentine’s is one of the worst days of the year for eating out. There are usually crowds, lines, and waiting for the food. How can you gaze into your sweetheart’s eyes in circumstances like this? The food is not the highpoint of the day so make sure your priorities are straight instead of just going out for a Valentine’s meal because that’s what the commercials say to do. Oh, and giving your sweetheart a heart shaped box of Valentine’s chocolates??? Where’s the romance in that? It would be more romantic to put individual Hershey’s Kisses all throughout the house and say “I love you all the time and everywhere” than handing a box of commercially decorated box of candy. Think outside that box of chocolates.

Maybe buy a take out dinner or even deli sandwiches and small cheeses and crackers and small chocolates. Set out everything to have a picnic in your own home in a room in which you never eat: a blanket on the floor, dinner on top of the bed, even the garage, or outside on the sidewalk if your area is private and the weather is workable. You can even use a picnic basket for the dinner–or laundry basket with colorful cloth to carry the food in. Set all the candles in the house around the area you are having dinner. If you know no one can see your sweetheart’s email, write a carefully worded email to create anticipation for getting together that evening. Be original!

Make simple signs expressing your love and tape them all throughout the house. Use lipstick to write a note on the bathroom mirror.  If your schedules are too busy for Valentine’s Day, give your mate a teddy bear with a note attached for a special date you are arranging very soon.

Just don’t let your plans include every cliché of Valentine activities. When you first met your mate, you had no problem thinking of romantic and fun things to do. Reach back into your memory and do some of those same things now.

Doing the same things year after year and in the same way, loses the serendipity and excitement in your relationship. Think outside of the one day a year when people are told to celebrate love.

~Glenda

 

Best Gift for Your Mate

December24

Tip 389

Christmas Gift

 

Christmas tree and gifts

from Clipart.com

Merry Christmas to each one of you. I hope this season brings the most loving Christmas memories you’ve ever had.

Don’t forget that one the best gifts you can give your loved one is yourself. People can buy all the material possessions in the world, but when it comes down to what means the most, it is to have a love between you that outlasts everything else.

Put your mate first in your thoughts. Plan fun and loving things that would especially please your mate. Think of things that may not interest you in the least. However, our mates want us to be interested in the things they do. Maybe your mate bowls or fishes or does computer games and you have no interest in those. You don’t have to become experts at any of those, but in a marriage you need to show interest. Find out enough about the things your spouse loves doing to be able to carry on a viable conversation.

Some people think they have to focus on themselves first. If you do, that’s not going to maintain a spousal relationship in which people relish being together.

Put your mate’s interests before yours. Maybe it will be a little lopsided for awhile but sooner or later, your mate will start reciprocating and wanting to put you first. After a while, the relationship will build into something you never thought possible. It’s the law of reciprocity.

Merry Christmas and we wish you all the marriage happiness possible.

Our love to you,

Glenda and Jack

 

Don’t Overlook 11/11/11

November10

Tip 388

Rare Time in History

from Clipart.com

What an extraordinary day this Friday is. If you live in the United States, you celebrate a special US holiday: Veteran’s Day, which is a day to honor men and women who have served in the United States Military. A special service at Arlington National Cemetery is held each year on November 11 at 11:00. Thank you immensely to all those who have helped defend and stand up for the United States as a country.

For this year the date of November 11, 2011 (11/11/11) is also almost the last palindrome date any of us will ever participate in. Next year’s 12/12/12 will be the final hooray for palindrome dates for centuries to come.

If you’ve read many of the blogs on this site, you’ll know there’s a focus on looking for anything for which to make a celebration to help create fun and happy marriages. Don’t let this special date in history pass by without making plans to make it a day you’ll always remember. Look for ways to honor your marriage and your mate.

Las Vegas has capitalized on the palindrome dates for the past several years with thousands of extra weddings on those easy-to-remember dates. Many of them are planned for 11:11 on 11/11/11. You know, come to think of it. I don’t think any spouse would ever be caught forgetting an anniversary date if they chose such a vivid one to tie the knot. That’s not a bad idea!

Whether your plans include eleven unique things or not for 11/11/11, just make it fun and memorable for the two of you or your whole family.

A little tidbit you might do is take 33 small pieces of paper and divide them into 3 stacks of 11. For each of the 2 first stacks, spouses write down what they love most in each other. For the 3rd stack, work on this together and record 11 things that have made you a better person because of your marriage and your mate’s influence.

I would suggest writing in lipstick on the bathroom mirror 11 things you love about your mate, but lipstick is not so easy to clean off. . . .

~ Glenda (gj)

Change Things Up a Bit

September8

Tip 387

Don’t Have the Same Ol’ Same Ol’

from Clipart,com

Some of us love change, but it probably makes most people feel uncomfortable. However, when things are always as they’ve always been, it’s easy to get into ruts with the same ideas, the same attitudes, the same old thoughts, the same old conversations.

It’s a small thing in life to change, but think about rearranging the furniture in your house. Even if it’s just switching places between a sofa and a chair, that’s a tiny bit of change.

Maybe put different pillows on the sofa or bed. Have different colors of sheets on the bed for different times of year.

Think about switching around the way you serve meals or use different dishes for different times of year. They don’t have to be expensive and you could easily find some at 2nd hand stores or discount places.

The point is to liven things up and create enough change that everything is not always as it has been. Small changes like this add fun without feeling like it’s an overwhelming change that thwarts your existence.

Try it.

What do you think? How can you institute changes that will seem like a welcome difference?

~ Glenda (gj)

A Surprise Waiting

September5

Tip 386

More Intrigue

from Clipart.com

Another way to add intrigue and excitement is to draw a red heart (or use a heart sticker) on a particular date on the calendar for which you have something fun and exciting planned.

A red heart on the calendar might be used for a romantic evening you’ve planned but not talked about.

Or if you both have plans for something you’d like to do, be sure to put a heart sticker, a star sticker, or something else signifying fun on that date. A bright colored sticker helps to visually keep it in your mind at all times and leads to more anticipation.

What do you think? How can you make fun use of your kids’ stickers—if they let you use them?

~ Glenda (gj)

Bits of Intrigue

September1

Tip 385

Anticipate Exciting Things to Come

 

from Clipart.com

It’s September 1 today. Can’t you feel that breeze blowing and the seasons changing? Fall events are starting soon whether that’s kids’ school activities, fall harvest activities, holiday activities, Christmas celebrations—our minds are full of things soon to come.

Well, maybe I stretched the part about “feel the breeze blowing and the seasons changing.” I don’t feel much change either, but whether you live in the northern hemisphere or the southern, soon the weather will be changing, at least by the end of this month in most places. This is a time of year that thinking positive goes a long way to hurrying up a change in weather—at least I think it helps.

It’s also a time to plan upcoming family activities.

Plan something fun for you and your mate or for you and your family. It adds to the intrigue if you don’t tell anyone what you are planning. Put a big note on the refrigerator or somewhere obvious with nothing but the date written on the note.

Tomorrow, put more notes around with only that one date written on it.

As the days pass, you might add little hints of what’s going to take place on this date you’ve chosen.

Your plans don’t have to be for anything expensive or elaborate—just make sure it’s something worth the wait.

What do you think? What fun plans can you make to surprise your family?

 

~ Glenda (gj)

Acrostic of Love

August22

Tip 384

It’s What Comes First

from Clipart.com

Use your sweetheart’s name to create an acrostic.

If you don’t remember, an acrostic is a poem or message with the first letter of each word or phrase that is the word of choice. Here we’re talking about writing your mate’s name down the line and then filling in words across that start with each letter of your mate’s name.

You could also use the words like Love or Forever and make an acrostic with your mate’s name included.

Have you made games or word puzzles for your mate?

~ Glenda (gj)

Fading Messages

August18

Tip 383

Rain, Rain Wash It Away

Actually you don’t have to wait for it to rain to wash it away.

from Clipart.com

Write your sweetheart a message with kids’ sidewalk chalk. You can use it a lot of places other than sidewalks or driveways. It’s not permanent so you can leave messages any time you want.

What a treat for your mate to come upon a personalized message anywhere in the great outdoors.

How would you personalize a sidewalk message for your honey?

~ Glenda (gj)

Enjoy What You Do

August15

Tip 382

Fun Anytime of the Year

man carrying ladder and woman with paint brush

from Clipart.com

Wow, it’s been almost two months since I’ve posted here. That was certainly a huge slip-up for me, and I have as many excuses as everyone else can name for why things aren’t done.

It’s been a great summer for us, including:  more trips than I can name, a marriage class Jack and I taught, lots of BBQ’s outdoors, a week in the mountains in our RV for non-stop writing, hundreds of hours spent in preparing for Jack’s mom’s 90th birthday, attending a graduation at the Cardinals Stadium in Phoenix, “camping out” in our RV (some don’t call that camping), and lots of fun watching dvd’s of a TV crime show (NCIS) some friends hooked us on. It’s been a productive summer, too. I’ve worked countless hours on several projects.

I have a friend from years ago with whom I email frequently. She often says, “You need to take some time to relax.” Hearing something like that always leads Jack and I to talk about that concept.

To us, the statement “you need to take some time to relax” implies that whatever you are doing is drudgery. You are forging through until you can finally get around to having a good time with nothing to do or think about.

I think that’s what’s different in our married life. No matter what we are doing, we find ways to make tasks enjoyable. Rarely do we treat anything as just something to get through so that we can start having a good time later. If we are doing a project that is energy draining, then we take frequent breaks together and maybe share something to drink (usually it’s iced tea or Diet Coke).

We also probably do more projects together than singly, so we get the luxury of enjoying each other’s company, too.

For us, fun in our marriage is all about our attitude towards each other no matter what projects or tasks we are doing. The year we put ceramic tile in every single room in our entire house (and changed out all the woodwork at the same time) was literally the most task oriented, grueling, energy draining, yet rewarding year we’ve had. That was 2005 and we always joked that we were heading for divorce court the second we were through. To rip up carpeting in every room and have to move every single item out of each room (including closets) is work. We had plenty of moments where we weren’t jolly and pleasant to each other throughout the nine months it took us to complete the project. It was done most nights when Jack came home from work and on many weekends.

However, throughout that ordeal (and it was an ordeal), I still looked for ways to make it fun for us and not just months and months of grueling work to struggle through.

Our motto could best be summed up as look for ways to enjoy each other’s company and have fun no matter what you are doing. Don’t put the good times off until you retire or take some major vacation around the world when you can afford it. If you wait for times like that, the real enjoyment for each other won’t be there.

Hope you are in the midst of enjoying your mate!

Are there ways you can suggest for enjoying your mate when life’s tasks loom over you?

Glenda (gj)

Packing for Travel

June23

Tip 381

Itemized List

from Clipart.com

This may be the midst of travel season for some, but in today’s world, it seems anytime is a time to travel: summer, winter, holidays. Yet, what is the one thing that makes couples more irritated with each other than anything else when leaving for fun and relaxation?

If you said, packing, that would surely be correct. Trying to remember all the essentials to take (yet not take too much) often means days of irritation with the most agitation towards the last few minutes and hours of getting everything ready to leave. Who wants to start on a trip being frustrated with one another and creating a less than happy marriage?

It’s a mundane activity but one which will help get your trip off to much more fun and agreeableness.

Make a list of what you need to pack or do before leaving. Keep a permanent copy so that way you don’t have to strain your brain (and nerves) each time to think through what you need. You’ve made it simple to to make slight adjustments for each trip.

We began doing this several years after we were married when we’d back pack into the mountains. When you are carrying everything on your back that you have to use for the next few days, you need to make sure you have exactly what you need—and not an ounce more. Packs can get very heavy and cumbersome if not done properly, plus there’s no chance of running to the store to pick up a much needed item.

This may not be fun in itself to do, but it sure makes the end result (your travel) more fun and enjoyable not having to scrounge and strain each time you take a trip. It’s one of the best ways to keep the dialog between you less stressful when you’re aiming towards leaving for a good time.

Do you have other travel tips to make the event less stressful?

~ Glenda (gj)

More Work Fun

June20

Tip 380

It Doesn’t Have to Be Drudgery

---from Clipart.com

Have you thought of special things you can do for your mate which at first might seem mundane?

How about—

  • organizing the book shelves so the books are placed according to subjects
  • clean the “nasty” keyboard on your spouse’s computer
  • put the music cd’s in order according to artists or types of music
  • organize the kitchen cabinets or other cabinets so that your mate can find things easily
  • stocking the bathrooms with your mate’s toiletries

Sounds like work and sounds oh, so ho-hum, but things like this can really make your mate happy.

I must include that today is our 41st wedding anniversary. You know how much we enjoy being outdoors during full moons. We missed it by about 5 days this year, but it’s still ¾ of a full moon (the Waning Gibbous stage). That much moon shines beautiful moonlight where we are in the mountain pines in our RV trailer. Fun!

By the way, at our house all the above suggestions reap happy smiles.

What everyday activities can you think of doing which would delight your mate?

~ Glenda (gj)

Fun Can Be Work

June16

Tip 379

Find Fun in All Things

from Clipart.com

Too much of the time when we want to have fun, we only think of leisure activities, places to go, or celebrations in which to participate. Once in a while we need to shift our attitude.

You can add fun to your marriage by thinking of simple things that might at first seem mundane, but your partner gets so much enjoyment from that it’s worth it to see his or her reaction. Part of the enjoyment in happy marriages is doing things that your mate receives pleasure from and knowing you’ve pleased your partner.

Of course, you have to know your mate well enough that what you are doing is helpful and not intruding.

Some basic, everyday things to consider:

  • matching up all your mates socks and getting rid of the unmatched ones
  • organizing his or her closet by outfits, colors, or wearability
  • sorting through a stack of newspapers or magazines to weed out the unwanted ones
  • filing all the videos and dvd’s so they are in some sort of usable order
  • do a job (or get it done someway) that your mate has been putting off

What little things can you think of that would please your mate that aren’t routinely done?

~ Glenda (gj)

Happy Marriages Take Work

June13

Tip 378

Why Should Fun Be Work

from Clipart.com

I’ve heard some people say that happy marriages should not take work—it should be natural if you have a good relationship. I agree that it is all natural the first few hours or days, weeks, and possibly the first few years of marriage.

However, when you think about it, marriage is a relationship of two people living in the same household. What’s the big deal about that? It’s how it’s supposed to be.

Yet, no two people agree on everything—how the toilet paper is hung; what kind of peanut butter is best; eating white bread or whole grain bread; good quality deli meat for lunches or the cheap water packed, pressed whatever stuff; choosing pictures on the walls of Great, Great, Great Aunt Prudence or hanging homegrown oil paintings that need a few years to master the techniques, or pricey originals that only increase in value.

How can two people meld cohesively yet maintain each person’s personal identity?

That’s where the work comes in—some days couples can breeze right through their differences. Then there are days when one or the other is tired or having a bad day at work or the cat threw up just before leaving for work—well, some days are just like that.

That’s why marriage takes work. Every moment is not lived in bliss. It’s what you do with those darker, moody moments when things don’t go right that create happy marriages. Sure, it may not seem happy that particular day, but if you don’t wallow in it and you work to get through it and focus on the blessings and the positive, that’s when the marriage will not seem like work every minute of your life.

What do you think? If a couple is happy, why do you think it should take so much work to stay that way?

~ Glenda (gj)

Branch Out

June9

Tip 377

Can’t Argue with Mother Nature

from Clipart.com

If you routinely walk together, sneak out ahead of time and put a note for your sweetheart along your route in the crook of a tree or wedge it in a branch (a note—not carved into the tree, but a paper note).

When you’re out for your walk, all you have to do is say you want to rest for a bit and lean against your chosen tree.

You might also put your note on a leaf-shape piece of green paper and stick it on one of the tree branches. Don’t put anything you’d be embarrassed about in case the note blows away or is found by someone else.

Little surprises like this keep your mate guessing about what you’re going to do next.

What do you think?

~ Glenda (gj)

Make Pets Work for You

June6

Tip 376

Deliver Hairy Messages

from Clipart.com

Write a small invitation to your sweetheart—even if it’s just for a moonlit stroll in the park with a carafe and blanket for the grass.

Keep the invitation small and wedge it under your furry loved one’s collar (the pet, not your mate). Then when your furry friend jumps into the lap or rubs against the legs of your mate, (hopefully) your mate will find the invitation. If you are worried your mate might not find the invitation, you could always attach some bells to the pet’s collar—that will surely get your mate to investigate the collar more thoroughly.

Of course this tip won’t work if your pets are goldfish. But, if you have a feline, canine, or somewhat traditional furry pet that wears a collar, your mate will certainly be surprised and create a happy memory.

And, yes, I probably did get the basics of this idea from watching that wonderful Fancy Feast commercial where the guy has an engraved heart that says, “Will you marry us” attached to a kitten’s collar. I think that has to go down in history as one of the all time best commercials.

By the way, watch the Fancy Feast commercial here if you haven’t seen it.

What do you think? How can you adapt this idea for what you’d like to do?

~ Glenda (gj)

A Loving Gift

June2

Tip 375

It’s the Thought that Counts

from Clipart.com

Remember all those Valentine things we talked about that you were supposed to buy during the after-Valentine’s Day sale—things like glossy red gift bags; cloth covered, red-heart boxes; heart tins?

Dig one of those out from your stash and use it now. (OK, if you didn’t stock up, you can use something else.)

Write on separate small pieces of paper 101 (or more) reasons you

♥  love your sweetheart

  believe your mate is special to you

  know your life is more meaningful because you have your partner

  would chose your mate all over again

Put all these little pieces of paper in one of those special bags, boxes, or tins and give it as a “just because I love you” gift.

Accept that everyday of your marriage hasn’t been the greatest. That’s life. Things happen. We’re human. But, don’t put the bad things at the top of your thoughts.

What do you think?

~ Glenda (gj)

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