If you’ve been married for any amount of time, you know how this goes. You have an incredible weekend away, with no distractions, and you feel as connected as you’ve ever been. You hold hands and gaze into each others’ eyes to pass the time. As you go to sleep, the stars shine brighter. And as you wake, the sunrise is more beautiful and birds are chirping…and they’re not even annoying you! Your marriage is everything you ever wanted it to be. You feel strong and in love and on target.
Then you get home and it’s back to real life.
I don’t mean to be pessimistic, just realistic. Those weekends away are absolutely vital to the health of a long-term relationship, but they’re definitely more fantasy than reality. You don’t need to worry about paying bills or going to work or cleaning-up your kid’s puke on your weekend away. It’s all about each other. When you get home, though, your love is tested. Things aren’t perfect and life happens and your resolve and loyalty to one another is challenged.
That’s what I’m speaking to right now. That time where things are ok, but not “weekend getaway” perfect.
And here’s the thing: Most of the time you don’t need a seminar to get back on track; you just need a reminder.
I asked my wife, “What’s good about our marriage?” The look on her face was my queue to rephrase the question. “No, I mean, our marriage rules! But why? What makes it so good? That’s what I meant!” I stammered. We talked for a little while and I decided that while that’s a good question and something we should continue to think about, it wasn’t what I was really after. I just wanted that little jolt of energy for us. Something that would punch us in the gut real quick and remind us of how good we are together. Something to get us through the “we’re ok, but not great” time. These were the two questions that did the trick; the ones that served as the reminder for us.
What always makes us laugh? This question is so fun to answer. It could be anything! For us, one of the things that always makes us laugh is coming up with titles of books we will someday write as the powerful marriage advice duo, Drs. Ryan and Julie Haack. Usually we come up with these right after having a fight. Just being honest. Fighting Fair Is For Losers by Drs. Ryan and Julie Haack. When Husbands Cry by Drs. Ryan and Julie Haack. Making-Up Is NOT Overrated by Drs. Ryan and Julie Haack. This is only funny to us, most likely, but that’s the point. What makes you and your spouse laugh without fail? We love watching Modern Family and Parks and Rec, too. Always funny to us. What are your shows?
So, think about it: what always makes the two of you laugh? A friend of mine said, “Farting!” Perfect. I guarantee you’ll laugh just answering the question.
What do we always like to do together? One of the things I thought of while answering this question is not something we do very often, but we always love when we get to. Not that, though it’s a good answer. We’re big Milwaukee Brewers fans and we’re lucky to have one of the best radio broadcasters in the history of the game. Whenever the two of us get to listen to Bob Uecker call a game, we’re happy. It’s comforting and fun and hilarious and makes for a relaxing car-ride for sure. We also love to go to Brewer games together and tailgate. We love to go to movies together. We’re huge documentary fans, too, and are always on the lookout for good ones.
What about you? What kinds of things do you and your spouse like to do together? Maybe you like to camp or hike or bike or run or sing together or perform on stage together or paint or build things or volunteer…seriously, the list could go on forever. What I love about this question is remembering all the fun times you’ve had together already, while simultaneously looking forward to doing even more fun things together!
While these two questions may not fix a broken relationship, they certainly can inject some much needed life into one that’s stagnant. So stop being roommates and remember what makes you an awesome couple.
Then fart in the movie theater and laugh about it together.
I LOVE to hear what makes other people laugh! Share what makes you and your spouse laugh every time and some things you like to do together!