5 Things to Cross Off of Your Year-One Checklist
Once the wedding and honeymoon are past you, it doesn't mean the fun has to stop. Here are some simple (and fun!) things to do as a married couple that'll guide you and help you grow together through the first year of marital bliss.
Take on a brand new activity.
Exploring a different hobby or interest neither of you have done before can bring you two closer together, says Denver-based relationship expert Hilary Silver. (Hint: If you're not sure what to do, Groupon is a great place to start browsing.) Learning something as a couple will replicate the experiences the both of you had in the early stages of your relationship, Silver says. "It helps keep the connection new and exciting," she adds.
Connect the mind, body and spirit.
Choosing activities that satisfy these parts of you will help bring you closer together. Silver says these can be intellectual, like attending lectures, book signings, and art shows, or reading a book together; or active, like sports, recreational leagues, or yoga; or soul filling, such as going to concerts, being in nature, traveling, philanthropy, or religious activities. "It is important to have these 'touchpoints' in common to stay connected in the areas that are significant. I often see couples when they've grown apart, or one partner is leaving the other behind. Being intentional about growing together in some of these ways will help ensure that doesn't happen."
Find a way to play together.
"Couples who play together, stay together," Silver says. So finding fun things to do both inside and outside-like playing ping-pong, which is competitive and flirtatious, or heading outdoors for a leisurely and adventurous activity like camping-will keep flirtation going while building your friendship with each other, which is important.
Establish meetings to share your thoughts.
When our lives get busy, sometimes we can fail to talk to our partners in a meaningful way, Silver says, so setting a time to connect with your spouse on a regular basis (she recommends weekly) will provide structure to couples for sharing and communicating. The meeting has three parts. One: appreciation and attitude. Two: open sharing of each other's experiences (anything you're wondering about, worrying about, noticing, etc.). And three: the things you have to do, as well as housekeeping and planning for the future.
But keep doing the things you love.
Lastly, continue to engage in the activities that brought you two together, so long as you both enjoy them. Silver and her husband met while playing Ultimate Frisbee-and their first date was rock climbing. Now, 16 years into their marriage, she admits, "I don't like those hardcore things anymore, so he still does them with his friends. And now we play tennis together!"