As a fatherhood and family leader, you no doubt know the importance of your marriage in your ministry. It’s why, in my book, 52 Ways to Connect as a Couple, I spend one chapter challenging couples to get active. In the book, I included ideas like kayaking, zip-lining, and taking a Segway tour.
It’s great to get active as a couple. That said, it’s also great to take life down a notch, slow down, or stop and smell the roses. To take a break from texting, deadlines, clients, bosses, classrooms, and time clocks. To be grateful. To remember, together. To hold hands and be friends again. Here are 11 ideas to strengthen your marriage this summer.
11 Ideas to Strengthen Your Marriage this Summer
#1 Concerts in the Park
Within a short drive – or maybe in your own hometown – there’s a downtown park that features summer concerts once a week. Or maybe a music festival that goes on for an entire week. The type of music isn’t nearly as important as the atmosphere. Bring lawn chairs and join the other couples, families, and teenagers enjoying life. It’s usually free. Be ready to have some nice conversations with your significant other.
#2 Horsedrawn carriage
This is one of those things you’ve always wanted to do. Clip-clop through Central Park or around a small town square. Snuggle up and celebrate your life together.
#3 Drive-in Movie
According to Mental Floss there are 336 drive-in movie theaters remaining. On a clear summer night, find one. Maybe even watch the movie.
#4 Take the tour bus
For years, I dismissed the idea of sitting on a bus while some wannabe comedian squawked over a tinny microphone about who this building was named after or what happened a hundred years ago at this intersection. But Rita and I tried it once, and it gave us an entirely new appreciation for Chicago. Then we tried it again in Dublin visiting our daughter, Rae Anne, at college. In one afternoon, you can see an entire downtown area saving footsteps, energy, and cab fare.
#5 Acquire some hard-to-get tickets.
To a professional sporting event, rodeo, monster truck rally, symphony, or the reunion tour of your favorite rock band from high school. Something you’ll talk about for years.
#6 County fairs
Stay away from the rickety tilt-a-whirl. Stay away from the sticky, greasy, deep-fried elephant ears. But go ahead and waste ten bucks on the skills booths. You won’t win anything. The rifle sights are bent, the basketball rim is oval, and the milk bottles are weighted and can’t be knocked over. But it’s still a hoot. The carnival barkers can be pretty entertaining as long as you keep your cool and keep your hand on your wallet.
#7 Recreate your first date
Ask her out with the same hesitant words. Rent the same movie. Go to the same restaurant. Play the same music. Talk about the same topics. Relive the same awkward good night kiss (or not.)
#8 Rent your dream car
If it’s a Ferrari, Porsche, Jaguar, or classic Mustang remember to watch your speed!
#9 Art fairs
When the arts community takes over a park or shuts down a side street and erects a long row of tents, that’s your cue to pretend you’re art connoisseurs. Stand together at the entrance to each booth and nod thoughtfully. Point to a particular piece and whisper to each other and, again, nod thoughtfully. People nearby will think you’re sophisticated dealers. Just don’t stand too long at the velvet Elvis paintings.
#10 Pack a picnic
Pick a summer Sunday afternoon. Or meet each other for a long lunch midweek. You can plan a gourmet brunch-in-a-basket day in advance or go to a local deli at the spur of the moment and ask for two box lunches to go. Find the perfect grassy area to spread your blanket. It could be a local park bustling with joggers and dog walkers. Or it could be an out-of-the-way strawberry patch or wooded glen that gives you all kinds of privacy.
#11 Stay home and fake a power outage.
No lights. No computers. No television. Get out the candles and . . . do stuff slow and easy.
Do what you can to pick at least one idea from this list and do it in the next week. Trust me, your marriage—and your ministry to families—will thank you.
Portions of this post originally appeared at Jay Payleitner’s Blog.