Have you ever had a conversation with your spouse that goes like this, “Hey, what do you want to do today?” Then your spouse says, “I don’t know. What do you want to do?” You say, “I don’t know either that’s why I asked you!” Before you know it, if you aren’t careful, you will be arguing over this matter and not liking each other very much. 

The issue in my marriage is that what I like to do is so different than what Michael likes to do.  I tend to be a home-body (maybe because we aren’t home very much and when we are I want to stay there). I like doing projects around the house and accomplishing things together.  He loves to go and explore and do things away from the house. He says it helps him to relax and connect with me when we are learning new things together. 

So, how do you solve something like this? It’s not right for me to get what I want all the time but it isn’t fair for Michael to get his way all the time either. We recently sat down and had a conversation about this. Our time together is limited and we were feeling like it was just passing us by without any compromise and neither of us were feeling good about that.  We talked through why we feel the way we do about time together and then something amazing happened.  After some much needed understanding on the issue, we actually came up with a solution that seemed to feel good for both of us. 

We decided to take a jar and fill it with pieces of paper that listed different activities.  I wrote out 12 things I love to do when we have time together and Michael did the same. We designated whether the activity needed a short amount of time or a longer amount of time. We also agreed that we would stretch ourselves to meet the need of the other person. We folded the papers and placed them in the jar. When we have some time together, we simply draw an activity from the jar and do it. If the activity takes more time than we have, we just draw another activity until we get one that matches the time we have to spend on it. Since we both know that we have each contributed to the different activities in the jar, it makes it easier to do what your partner wants to do when his/her activity is drawn. 

Today, we are headed to the library to find a book we can read together and then we are going to drive through some neighborhoods and look at houses and landscapes to generate ideas for what we might want to do at our house.  We both are excited to do these things because we know they will provide connection for each of us in a way that matches our desires. 

What about you and your spouse? Do you do things together that each of you enjoys doing? If not, maybe it’s time for you to make an activity jar and get busy connecting!