Advice Needed:  How to Best Bond with Your Spouse

What’s the best part of your day?  Mine is easy.  When we finally finished the bedtime marathon; all the waters have been drunk, the songs sung, the stories read, the prayers said, the hugs and kisses dished out, and Rich and I shut the door and give each other that raised-eyebrows I-can’t-believe-how-long-that-takes-every-night look.  And we go downstairs and raid the kitchen for the junkiest thing in the house (which unless it’s the day of grocery shopping is usually something lame like hot chocolate because all the best junk was consumed the night of grocery shopping) and open the laptop to watch something funny and snuggle on the couch.

Husband. Junk food. Sitcoms.  These are the things my dreams are made of.


Here’s a picture from our former blogging life back in 2010 with the caption: “Priorities: The three most important things in our life right now all captured in one picture.” …. 2010 – it was a simpler time.
But sometimes and lately I’ve been feeling like our Netflix sessions just aren’t leading to the husband/wife bonding time we need.  Which makes me a little sad, because…. refer to my 3 favoritest things listed above.

And sometimes (too often) we’ll both get caught up in this net, we’ll call it the internet, and we sit next to each other both glued to our respective screens until it’s time for bed.  What is that?  That’s not bonding.  It’s like we’re stuck, trapped in this web, we’ll call it the world wide web, and it’s sticky and alluring and hard to leave.

So, here’s the question of the week: what do you guys do at night when your kids are in bed?  Or when you both get home from work?  How do you balance screen time/ spouse time/ productive time? What do you love to do and what brings about the best bonding?  Are those things the same?  (ok that was more than just one question).

We have a special *surprise for the best suggestion.

*** The surprise is that we are going to do that suggestion.

***** I’m not good at surprises.

63 thoughts on “Advice Needed:  How to Best Bond with Your Spouse

  1. We have been working on this as well. Lately we have been trying to play more board games together in the evenings. That’s been fun! It’s been nice to treat more nights like “date nights.” Another idea that I had (would just be a one time thing though) is having a contest with Jershon to see who can read Dr. Seuss’s “Fox in Socks” book the fastest and with the least mistakes. Haha.

  2. Something that Josh and I like to do when we are both pretty beat after a long day or week, especially when we haven’t had much time to be together, is a game we call “chy.” First we find a bobby pin. (Yes, that small piece of bent metal used to hold your hair in place.) Then we set a timer. (Usually 5 to 10 minutes.) If I am the person holding the bobby pin, I gets to ask Josh any questions in the whole world during the allotted time. While asking questions, I lightly move the bobby pin across his face, or hair line, or forearms. Sounds weird, right? Try it; for some reason we like the bobby pin better than like a back scratch with the fingernails. So Josh would be lying on my lap, in a trance, answering my sometimes random, sometimes deep or penetrating questions. When the timer goes off, you say, “Chy!” and hand over the bobby pin and switch roles. It’s a win/win, because you either get to find out anything you want about your spouse, or you get a fantastic relaxation session. Just know that the questions you ask, often get asked to you when you hand over the bobby pin :). It’s a silly way to catch up on the week, relax, and come out feeling closer as a couple.

    1. That’s pretty awesome Janessa. It almost sounds like something you would learn from a hypnotist, or if you were trying to coax secrets out of a spy you captured. But, you know, much more relaxing. Where did the “chy” game come from?

  3. We do the same at night, but our junk food is chips and dip, dark chocolate, fizzy drinks, ice cream, and occasionally bread.
    Married at first sight? That is a great bonding show to watch because you end up talking about your own marriage.
    Last thought, recently we tried a no Netflix/Amazon Prime nights. We end up reading to unwind. And then we interrupt to tell each other about something we read…and then…we like, talked, instead of watching TV.

  4. Unfortunately our nights sound pretty similar to yours just with one more baby added to the mix…which reminds me I already bought my Halloween candy….drat it’s too high. Must be why it’s still around.

  5. we once got some advice to go out/hang out with other couples on a regular basis. When you see your spouse interact with other people, it reminds you of all the things you love about them and how awesome they are. Having friends over to play games or eat dessert doesn’t sound like bonding time for you and your spouse, but it really strengthens our bond.

  6. Last night we did cardio kickboxing. It was a hoot.
    One time we took turns shooting spitballs at each other’s faces, point-blank. The rule was that you had to leave the spitballs on your face the whole time. That was a hoot for one of us. The other one almost puked.

    1. Normally Jershon’s ideas exceed my expectations. Not that one. That was the worst date night ever. Gross spit balls on my face. And it’s true. I almost puked. 🙂

    2. Jershon, I have no words. I think this is now the dictionary definition of a spouse being “up for anything.”

  7. My other half and I are always watching tv shows on the laptop once our boy is in bed, I guess it’s our ‘thing’.

  8. My husband and I recently got married, but we have been together 6 years and living together 5 of them. We don’t have kids yet, so we go grocery shopping together, and try to run all of our errands together so that we have detached time together. We live in the islands, so the weekends are for being outside with friends and most of our cell phones don’t really work so we connect then. But nights are a struggle. I get obsessed with blogging and prepping for the next day or tweaking a layout, and he is currently obsessed with his fantasy football team. But I think it’s normal. I trust that we are connected. We talk and are interested in what the other one is doing, but we don’t need to be staring at each other all the time. Im interested to see everyone else’s tips.

  9. My BF and I often find ourselves doing the same thing- both glued to our computers. It’s especially bad because I work at home so it makes me be a bit of a workaholic. I do recognize when we need to both put them down and spend QUALITY time together, though!

  10. We’ve been struggling with this every since our third little guy came along three months ago. Watching TV together isn’t always the best for bonding but after a full day and the hard work of bedtime it’s frequently all we have the energy for.
    The last week we have been taking a walk before we start bedtime. The kids like it (and tire themselves out so added bonus of them being easier to put to bed!) and we get to walk and chat about our days and really connect. Neither of us have phones or iPads. It’s just family time!

  11. I don’t know you, but I love you! That’s not weird, is it?!?! I love this post and the way you right- it’s like we are sitting across from each other trying to catch up on gossip as the kids run in chaos. My husband and I are consumed every night by the internet, it seems to be my only adult quiet time the whole day gives me.

    1. Yes! Stacy- let’s be friends 🙂 And trying to catch up on gossip as kids run in chaos happens to be one of my specialties 😉

  12. We’re guilty of watching tv and not really interacting, too. It’s so hard sometimes since he works full time and I work part-time from home while simultaneously watching our toddler. Eek! When we need to bond, we’ll turn off the tv, and get this book of lists down from the bookshelves and just go back and forth asking each other questions. We’ve known each other for a decade, but we still manage to find out something new!

  13. HAHA! I love the two disclaimers at the bottom of the post – too cute.
    Well, my husband and I don’t have kids (yet) – and since I work all day and can get my internet browsing out of the way by the time he gets home. I make sure to put down and “electronics” and chat to HIM about his day, no mattter how badly I’d like to check instagram. I feel like if I always was nose-deep into my phone, I would be pushing him away, and we’d slowly grow apart. Not something I want.
    So, here’s a few suggestions that I do.
    My husband is a triathlete who trains CONSTANTLY. I ask him if he wants a full-body massage. His legs always kill, so I massage those, and also his back. He seems to like it. Too bad he never returns the favour Lol.
    We don’t have a TV or cable, so we never watch mindless television, instead we have “Saturday Night Movies” at home. I kinda like that tradition 🙂
    Another: Plan something exciting for the weekend. Whether it be a new park, or a picnic after a walk/hike some place new.

  14. I do have to say that right after bedtime is a time I look forward too. My husband and I always spend some time together but It also gives me my “me” time that I need so badly

  15. I definitely agree that computers can be a killer. My boyfriend and I always get so wrapped up in what we’re both working on on our computers that we don’t get to talk all that much until it’s time for bed. Our best time is in the morning. My alarm goes off about 30 minutes before I get up, waking us both up and give us a bit of time to snuggle and chat.

  16. I’m not married or have kids yet, but I can totally relate to not fully being present at times. The internet is a great invention, but sometimes we get too consumed with it, especially with social media. We need to learn to detach ourselves and cultivate the relationships we currently have- it’s what life is all about 🙂

  17. I feel like I can’t contribute because I’m not married and I do not have children, but I am a full time student and I work a full time job and two part time jobs.
    I do have to try and find time for my boyfriend along with my personal time, and it gets difficult so we have set date night for Wednesday and then other times we are together we will snuggle in front of the TV with popcorn and beer while I work on school

  18. My bf and I do the same quite often, but we try and recognise when we need to put the laptops down! We can amuse each other for hours though as we really are quite silly. I guess we don’t have the responsibility of kids so we can just go out for dinner or for a walk if we feel like we need to reconnect!
    Katie <3

  19. We get caught up watching tv, netflix, playing games… I blog while he plays NFL… it’s hard because we’ve spent all day talking to people, and being busy… we just want/need some time to unwind. We are going to make a point of 1 evening a week being board game night, because we both love board games and just bought a new game of thrones one that we haven’t even played yet.

  20. I’ve been feeling this way too. I just hate watching TV with him and it’s not something I really do on my own, either. I feel like there is no point in both staring at a screen together. We just recently went on a little one night trip away without the kids and it felt so good to have some time to breathe together and only worry about each other.

  21. I am separated, so I can’t really offer you advice. Just on how to find out if your husband is cheating you or not. If he’s spending time with you, and doesn’t desapear during the nights (either when the children are up or in the bed), I’d say he’s not doing it.
    Enjoy the time you have together. It’s amazing that he’s willing to bond and you too. That is the best thing ever!

  22. Making an effort to play board games together and not just watch shows has been our latest strategy for bonding time. We do watch shows, just not every night. This may sound funny, but setting aside one night a week to take care of our own projects is helpful because you can take care of those needful things and then leave time for doing fun things with your spouse on other nights.

  23. Great post! I’m a big advocate of date nights. we usually ditch our 3 kids with a sitter on fridays or saturdays and just go enjoy eachother’s company. During the week our schedules are so busy! we try at night to just down and catch up with eachother but on date nights it’s just us. no talk of of work or kids.

  24. When we first had kids I worried about this. We came to realize that we had enough stresses that it was ok that our bonding time some nights are just watching a show and falling asleep after the kids are in bed. We are blessed to live by gpa and gma’s so we do date night at least once every two weeks. That definitely helps. It’s always dinner where we talk uninterrupted by kids, and it’s awesome.

  25. We read a little thing called love blog and then get out our yellow planners and pray about the following week’s activities, trying to avoid door-to-door contacting as much as possible. And companionship inventory is something we do that is good that we do.

  26. We usually talk…about favorite memories, together or from our childhood. Favorite family members. Funny moments or thoughts. We watch something and then overexaggerate an expression or movement? Take turns playing a game on our phones/game boy, etc. Or cartwheels….wanted to be official 😉

    1. Favorite memories is SUCH a good suggestion. I’m always SHOCKED at how much Rich and I still have to share with each other about our pasts that we haven’t heard before. And bonding over shared memories is a great way to bond. As are cartwheels 🙂

  27. Have you ever seen those videos that teach you how to do the old boy band type dances? I forgot what they’re called. . . .but it’s pretty hilarious. You definitely need to start learning back street boys choreography. And then you need to post a video of yourselves doing it for all of us to see. I mean, can you think of anything that would bring more traffic to your blog? Yeah, I’m feeling pretty much like a genius right now

    1. Joni- You are hilarious! Another person said they did cardio kickboxing, which would probably end up looking quite a bit the same as boy-band dancing. When Nelson does my DVD workouts with me, I end up laughing way more than actually exercising . I think Rich and Celeste would actually just be really good at it since they’re both dancers, but it’s way more funny if at least one person in the couple is not a formally trained dancer 🙂

  28. ummmm. Is sex a completely inappropriate suggestion on a public blog post?
    Also, shows where we can be snarky about the contestants (like Project Runway) are totally bonding shows. I think you can totally bond over mutual hatred of others.
    This is a terrible response in so many ways.

  29. We like planning and working on projects. Right now we’re trying to flesh out Halloween costumes and figure out how we can contribute to our friends’ Halloween night zombie yard.

    1. Projects is an EXCELLENT suggestion. I keep meaning to do them together, but we just get so lazy together 🙁

  30. Sounds like a tricky question for winning the first prise 7 day trip to Venice. But the answer is not so hard for some of us best observers. And it goes; after you two put all your pretty little children to bed, say all the prairs, you probably do not want to miss your favorite tv show on the abc. But if you rather play the game of Monopoly then I did not win the price. Never mind though I live just few cilometers north from Venice and it would not be the problem to take a little trip there to learn some romance.

  31. Although, if I would have a serious boyfriend I would probably in that late night time plan with him quick trip to Madrid or Barcelona and book a cheap flight from Zagreb.

  32. I LOVE and agree with this totally! I do the same thing with Brand and it bugs me that we do that. I need to change it up!

    1. Sarina! I’m a huge fan of your work 🙂 I read all your articles and most definitely will check this one out 🙂

  33. We end up watching a lot of TV as Justin “studies” on the couch. I’ve recently really appreciated that he’ll watch chick flicks with me. Like, British soap opera drama chick flicks. 🙂 But when we have more energy and time, we just play a quick game, or I tell him funny things our (or frustrating things) that our kids did that day. Especially now that I’m teaching, I really like to update him on what our kids are learning and what I’m planning, so he has a chance to give input and feel included even with his busy schedule (this usually happens while watching some TV or cleaning up the kitchen). And we go outside and pick up toys together in the moonlight. 🙂 that’s fun. It’s almost like a romantic walk. or we go to bed early.

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