How to keep falling in love with my wife?
April 23, 2012 9:44 AM   Subscribe

Resources on how to foster passion and "have fun" with your spouse?

My almost-wife and I have had a whirlwind, stressful, emotionally draining life together from almost the very beginning - not due to each other, but due to outside forces like relocating across the country, unemployment, opposite work schedules, being away from family and friends, worry about money, etc, etc. Oh, not to mention planning our wedding.

The good news is we've gone through all this together and have a really solid foundation. We make excellent partners to each other and have our routines, communication, etc. down. But we've never really had a chance to just have fun together!

Most of the big things will be over in the next six months to a year, and we want to start pulling together resources/ideas to make sure that once we have the money and time, we start developing our spontaneity, romance, passion, intimacy and just fun. We want to make sure that in ten years we haven't turned into just "really excellent roommates." Basically we want to know how to develop a habit of "being in love."

Any book, blog, article, website recommendations? Personal examples or ideas?

posted by ohsnapdragon to Human Relations (16 answers total) 86 users marked this as a favorite
One thing that I think has helped us (married for 10 years, together for 18) is taking weekend mini-trips and staying in cute local inns or bed & breakfasts. These don't have to be to big tourist destinations - several times we've just gone to random small towns around our area. We've found that there are interesting things to see and do almost anywhere, even if it's just wandering around a new-to-us neighborhood and trying the local restaurants. The idea is just to get us out of the routine of daily life and focused on experiencing new things together.
posted by something something at 9:50 AM on April 23, 2012 [9 favorites]

eat meals together.

schedule occasional evenings to hang out together and *not* have one or both of you with their head in a book or tech device. it can be watching a movie or tv show or playing games together, but avoid the "we're in the same place, but not really focusing on each other" trap that often happens if you're both nerding around on phones/computers.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:01 AM on April 23, 2012 [5 favorites]

Co-op board games! Seriously, they get you two to have fun together, working together, without faces buried in separate tablets or screens or books or whatever. Teamwork FTW.
posted by jbickers at 10:07 AM on April 23, 2012 [3 favorites]

I recommend that one or both of you listen to Dan Savage's Podcast. He has some of the best (sex-focused) relationship advice that I've heard. He's certainly not everyone's cup of tea (he's crude and isn't always "nice"), but I find him the perfect balance between someone who is compassionate but also "tells it like it is." I think that he really inspires in his listeners a frankness and honestness about sex/passion/relationships that you don't see really anywhere else.
posted by Betelgeuse at 10:09 AM on April 23, 2012 [3 favorites]

Most of the big things will be over in the next six months to a year

I think the most important thing to get in your head is that the big things will never be over! There will always be stress, there will always be surprises, there will never be as much money or time as you might ideally like. You don't want to have a habit of "having fun once things settle down and get less stressful," you want to have a habit of "having fun while things are unsettled and stressful." Because that's when you really need the fun!
posted by escabeche at 10:42 AM on April 23, 2012 [16 favorites]

I'm assuming you're in the US, some of these suggestions might not work in other countries:

Take a fun class together. Cooking classes, crafting classes. Make something together, it's really fun and you'll bond quite a lot. There are probably some inexpensive "Community Ed" options in your area, and many specialty cooking stores offer decently priced cooking classes.

Also check your local library, many of them will have events throughout the week which are free and usually quite interesting. Here in SLC, for example, the city library puts on free science lectures every friday night and they are really cool and informative.

Just wandering around together is very rewarding for us. Doesn't have to be anything planned, either. Just: hey, "let's walk through the neighborhood". Bring a camera.
posted by Doleful Creature at 10:42 AM on April 23, 2012

We have a few shared google docs of places we want to travel to, local destinations and museums that we want to visit, and restaurants we want to try together. Each of us can add ideas, and we take the "done and might want to do again" options to the bottom of the list. It works pretty well for keeping us thinking about fun, and doing the fun stuff.
posted by ldthomps at 10:52 AM on April 23, 2012 [5 favorites]

Agree about eating a meal each day together--it's the perfect time to decompress and sharing food is inherently bonding and intimate. I also like taking evening walks around the neighborhood together, going to little hole in the wall joints, and day trips a bit out--the kind that aren't a hassle to plan but remove you enough from familiar settings to remind you to really see things together.
posted by ifjuly at 10:54 AM on April 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

Board games are great!

My partner and I also got a membership to LivingSocial and basically we have date nights once a week where one or the other gets to pick what we do. Normally it's pretty standard fare (like, dinner and a movie, an ice cream date, coffee, etc) but because of the Living Social coupons we can, once a month, do a "memory building" date, like go go-cart racing or whatever.

If you want, you could check out What Nobody Tells the Bride, which I think has a section on staying in love and being spontaneous.
posted by spunweb at 10:56 AM on April 23, 2012

I agree with the first suggestion. Look for an inn or bed and breakfast and go for a little weekend trip. Research the B & B carefully beforehand so you end up with one that is romantic and fun and not something where you feel like you're staying in your grandma's attic, though. There are both kinds. Bonus points if you can find one associated with a vineyard!

Take lessons together. They don't have to be ballroom dancing lessons -- cooking, glass fusing, couple's massage, etc. are all fine choices. Along the same vein, my husband and I took the standard class at Tom Brown's Tracker School a few years ago and that shook things up in our lives for a while. (And we can still each make a fire with a bow drill!)

Take up a hobby, such as homebrewing, woodworking or gardening that you can do together.

If you don't have kids, institute mandatory "Naked Days." You know, pick a lazy Sunday and stay naked all day. Have a naked picnic in the living room. Sing naked karaoke in your bedroom. Vacuum and dust naked. Avoid frying bacon, however, as that can be problematic.
posted by Ostara at 12:51 PM on April 23, 2012 [5 favorites]

Kiss a lot. Grab each other's asses randomly.

Seconding going for walks. On these walks, make with the kissing and the ass-grabbing.

We go for dates to McDonalds or equivalent crappy places. It makes us laugh, and it's so cheap that we can do it regularly without even worrying. But to make it work, you have to treat it like a date. "I'm going to take you out this evening! It's going to be fancy! We will share a chicken burger and then walk home hand in hand."
posted by lollusc at 8:35 PM on April 23, 2012 [9 favorites]

Oh yeah, the funny cheap date! One Valentine's we went putt putt golfing at like midnight and my husband gave me the plastic ring he won in the gaming area. Another, right after we'd just watched all of Seinfeld including the Puddy/Elaine "I had the roast beef" episode, involved going to Arby's and making sure to get little cups of all of their serve-yourself sauces. Depending on the couple, these can be a lot of fun, much easier than going to a fancy romantic place.
posted by ifjuly at 4:37 AM on April 24, 2012

Things I like:

- Date nights (in which electronics are not allowed), as aforementioned by just about everyone else
- Creating rituals or habits, like reading the papers together on a Sunday morning
- Building things together. For some reason, shared projects are a really great way to bring closeness, particularly if they involve skills from each party that amount to more than the sum of the parts.
- Taking time to appreciate the other person. To stop and say "thanks for doing that pile of washing up", "I love you", or whatever else, most especially when things are not so constantly romantic any more.
- Having sex, even when neither party particularly feels like it, in order to avoid the habit of not bothering. Besides, once you get started the missing motivation usually arrives pretty quickly!
- Hiring a cleaner or housekeeper, if you can afford to do this and if house cleaning is responsible for any kind of disgruntlement in your household.
posted by emilyw at 7:52 AM on April 24, 2012 [6 favorites]

Seconding rmd's suggeston to eat together. And eat at a table that is not in front of a television. Delete your Facebook accounts.
posted by bellastarr at 8:22 AM on April 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

This is going to sound weird, but invite another couple over for dinner [i.e., not a party]. This promotes teamwork, because:

- you have to clean the house
- plan a menu
- cook
- be entertaining

Kick them out around 9. Then you have a clean house, a belly full of good food, you're tipsy, you're stimulated by good conversation, and you have a shared social identity as a couple. I find this brings us much closer together. the tipsiness almost always leads to sex. You can clean up the kitchen the next day.
posted by desjardins at 12:38 PM on April 24, 2012 [14 favorites]

The cheap date idea is a great one. It's worked well for me over the years. And any time you can have a meal together without the TV on is a great thing. Also, my wife asks about my day frequently, and knowing that she's interested enough about me (and my nerdy IT job) really helps me feel open and loving to her.

Also, look for opportunities to hold her hand
posted by melancholy_okie at 7:24 AM on April 27, 2012

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