A new year means a new start, and if your relationship in 2017 wasn't quite what you wanted (or even if it was), there is no better time to start improving your connection than 2018. Try these 18 ideas to add a little more laughter, depth and intimacy in your marriage.
1. Ask each other these 36 questions
Have you heard about these? In 2015, an article saying these 26 questions could help you fall in love with anyone was the top article on New York Times. Put it to the test and check out the questions (with the instructions) here.
2. Make your love story into a movie
And you're the stars! Do your kids (or friends) know how you met? Your love story? Make a low-budget film together of those early memories together. Or write a story about it together if that's more your thing.
3. Ask permission first when giving feedback
Kindness is a basic building block of a relationship, and yet it so often slips when the stress piles up. If you're learning to be kind to your spouse again (and vice versa), try this practice therapist Margaret Rutherford recommends:
Agree together to only make comments about your spouse's choices if they give you permission to do it.
"For example," writes Dr. Rutherford. "'Would you like my opinion on what you dressed little Mary in today?' Or, 'Can I offer a suggestion on how you might get same little Mary to take a bath?'"
You'll likely learn there is more than one right way to do something, and you'll be on your way to more kindness already.
4. Kiss each other 18 times a day
OK, so it doesn't have to be a specific number, but remember when you first started dating and it felt like you could never get enough of each other's kisses? If you've stopped kissing just for the fun of it, try it again!
5. Sign up for a race together
This past year my husband and I signed up for a half marathon even though I HATE running. It was a huge goal. We spent mornings before work going on small runs, and our summer Saturday mornings were spent training for the long runs.
And at the end of our half marathon, you know what? I didn't hate running any less, but I loved that time we spent together. We learned we could accomplish huge goals and do hard things TOGETHER. We enjoyed that time so much, we signed up for a sprint triathlon to do together afterward.
It doesn't matter what race you do, but having a physical goal to work towards together proves you can accomplish big things. Plus studies show couples who do physical activity together are more satisfied with their relationships.
6. Send a really flirty text
Grocery lists get kinda boring. Make 2018 a year scattered with saucy texts that keep each other laughing.
7. Go to a therapy session together
Even if there is nothing wrong with your relationship, give your relationship the gift of a therapy session. It can't hurt, and who knows, it might help in ways you never expected.
8. Buy an alarm clock (and leave your phone in a different room)
Make your bedroom a sacred space for just the two of you. When you're in there, it's just you and your spouse. There is no competition with any app. It's just you two together every night.
9. Keep a journal together
Every night write down one line together of something you're grateful for. Or if you want something that makes you think less, try this Q&A a day journal for couples.
10. Try paragliding
Or any new adventure. Trying a novel activity together helps shake up your routine and can help couples feel better about their relationship.
11. Go on a first date (again)
Have your husband pick you up from your house, your office or meet at a restaurant as if you were on a first date all over again. What questions would you ask to get to know each other? What would you dress up in? Get to know each other all over again on a first date.
12. Start doing "Sex Talk Tuesday"
We love this brilliant idea by marriage therapist Mary Fisher. Learn more about her instructions on how to do this at the end of this article.
13. Read a book together
This doesn't have to be a relationship book. Pick something you've both been wanting to read and read it aloud.
14. Have an electronics-free day
Spend a day together with just you. No Instagram. No work emails. No calls. Leave behind your phones and do something together.
15. Sneakily weed your neighbors yard for them
Doing service together has an almost magical, binding power. If you're interested in community service, pick a group to volunteer for. If you're more into watching out for your neighbor, find something that would be really helpful for them and see if you can do it together without being noticed.
16. Start a tradition of walk-talks
If you have kids, this is something you can easily include them in. One evening a week, set aside time to go on walks together and talk about your week: what happened that was good or bad and what's coming up for the next week. People tend to open up more when they're doing something other than just sitting there.
17. Make a goal and ask your spouse to help you stick to it
You don't have to do everything together. If your hobbies are so different, pick something YOU want to accomplish in 2018, but have your partner help you be accountable for it.
18. Destroy the relationship from yesterday
Dr. Dain Heer suggests couples should destroy everything their relationship was yesterday (resentment for not doing the tasks expected or annoyance at a less than sensitive comment) and create a new relationship today. Letting go of those frustrations will help you ditch the things that create distance between you two.
(and a bonus one because your marriage is just that important)
Say thank you every day
Tell your spouse one thing you're grateful for about them every single day.