In my birthday reflections post, I shared that Dane and I had developed a nighttime routine that really helped us connect and grow in our marriage. One of my longtime readers reached out on Instagram to say she was curious about what that routine might be and I was happy to share. She wrote me back “I love how intentional you are with your time and even though you didn’t change much it’s a huge difference to your day.” Quite honestly, I didn’t have any intention of sharing, but it really did help us get out of a weird routine we had fallen into, so today I’m happy to share how one small change in our after work routine strengthened our marriage.
How One Small Change In Our Nighttime Routine Strengthened Our Marriage
Dane and I had fallen into a pattern of he came home, we ate dinner and we went to bed. It was very, very monotonous and even though I work from home, I always found myself asking him how his day went by the time he told me, we were on to the next topic.
I always would tell Dane “you are so lucky to be able to GO to work and have people to interact with, meetings to attend where you talk, etc etc”. Being at home all the time is isolating and human interaction, whether wanted or not, is very important.
So, we talked things through and developed a routine that has worked out and helps us connect.
When Dane gets home, the first thing he does is ask about my day. And he really wants to know. He never asked before, because he always said that after he shared about his day I would change the subject to something else (probably true). But now it’s the first thing we discuss. Then we talk about his day. And then we don’t talk about work AT ALL. It’s hard to strike a good balance with this, because some weeks are more overwhelming than others.
The dogs help with the next part, but when we are doing the talking about work we always go on a walk to “debrief”. We try to get in around 2.5 miles, because it helps us both decompress, the dogs get exercise, and most importantly — we are able to talk without phones or other interruptions.
When we get home, we cook dinner together. Unless the meal has 100 steps, I try to wait until Dane is home so that we can interact with each other in the kitchen instead of just sitting down, eating, watching a show, etc.
We try to watch one show per night and then follow that up with something productive where we are able to interact with one another and do something that doesn’t involve mindlessly scrolling our phones. Sometimes we take the dogs for a late night walk, do a puzzle, have a cocktail, etc.
Before bed we read and talk through anything that might be going on (upcoming trip, finances, stuff that needs done, etc.) and then it’s time to sleep.
I recognize that none of this is reinventing the wheel. It is simple a proactive approach to being intentional with our time. It’s also important to note that this is what an ideal night looks like in our home. Just like everyone else, we run into weekday commitments, having guests in town, being in a bad mood, etc. But for the most part, this is what things look like around here in the evenings Monday-Friday 🙂
Let’s chat…Do you and your spouse have a routine? How do you work to be intentional with your time?