As part of our family goals for every new year, we read at least one book together.
What we read.
We enjoy reading books that will help us learn, improve our life, and grow together in our marriage. Most of the books we read are about self-development, marriage, finances, and parenting.
Each year, we have chosen one marriage book to read. Sometimes we take turns reading the paperback version (that way we can highlight and take notes), or we’ll get it in audio format.
We then discuss what we learned and how it will improve our marriage and family before we move on to the next book or podcast. This is like our own mini book club and it’s interesting to see the different marriage lessons we each take from the same book.
Reading a book together has definitely opened up different conversations and helped us to connect with each other on an intellectual level. This goes for podcasts, TED X talks, and blog articles we find useful and pass along to each other.
Self-development is an excellent way for growing together in marriage.
In addition, we listen to marriage podcasts on our long car rides, or days we do grocery shopping together. Sometimes we listen while snuggling.
These podcasts are focused on marriage, sex, parenting, finances, business, health, and self-development. Examples of the podcasts we listen to are Where Should We Begin?, Dave Ramsey Show, The Marriage Talk, and 48 Days to the Work You Love podcasts.
A huge benefit of listening to podcasts is the opportunity it presents listeners. You will learn something new from different perspectives.
It also challenges our way of doing things and thinking.
Listening to podcasts is a fun and relaxing way for growing together in marriage.
It helps us strike up conversations easily, go off on tangents, laugh together, and even spice up our love life. 😉
Apply what you have learned from this post to grow together with your spouse today.
Other ways we grow together.
We plan. Our day, week, month, and our year are all planned ahead of time together. This keeps us on the same page. The night before, we talk about out to-do list for the following day and our expectations.
Each week, we glance at the calendar that’s set up at the end of each month. We make sure we aren’t too busy, leaving time each day to spend with our children and each other while balancing running a business and guiding their self directed education at home.
Planning includes budgeting together, meal planning, mapping out goals and the steps to achieve them in our personal and professional lives together.
This keeps us on the same page, and working towards the same goals.
We spend time together having quality conversations.
One sure fire way to grow together in your marriage is to have intellectual conversations with your spouse.
We’re always together, so our conversations happen to be continual throughout the day. But it’s not easy when our children are also with us 24/7 to have those deeper talks. Every single night, after the kids go to bed, we have time for just the two of us.
We talk about what we’re learning, what’s going on in the world, ask each other’s advice, talk about our dreams, reminisce where we’ve been and how far we’ve come. If we are not sure where to start, but want to have a great discussion, we use our Questions for Couples book.
Some nights we watch a show or movie together, but it’s usually less than 2-3 times a week. We prioritize our face to face conversations (usually while snuggling) to stay connected and grow together in our marriage.
We learn new skills.
This can be done individually or together. So many couples feel they are missing that “new” and “exciting” feeling in their marriage.
One way we keep that alive is to be learning something new consistently. When we share that with our partner, it helps them to grow together with us in marriage. You’re meeting your need for that “new” feeling and including them in it by sharing your excitement, or what you find interesting or challenging.
We add fun to our marriage and plan new experiences to share together in order to grow together in marriage.
This can be something fun and active like ropes course, rock climbing, hiking, camping, tennis, etc. Or, this can be a new type of food, state or country to visit, experience a pedicure side by side, or a couples massage. Go fishing, join a protest, start a new tradition, go fruit picking, make a bucket list and then do it!
Whatever you choose to do doesn’t have to be new to both of you, but it’s a bonus if it is.
We are vulnerable with each other.
Yup, we went there. One if the best ways to grow together in your marriage is to share your emotions, your fears, doubts, struggles, but also the joys, wins, and excitement.
Your spouse should be your safe place and you theirs. If you’ve built that trust and respect between each other, the next major thing that can take your marriage to the next level is emotional intelligence.
It can be scary at first. But if you are both committed to growing together in your marriage, then emotional vulnerability is a must. We need to be able to rely on each other when we need help. Likewise, we have to be willing to be our spouse’s rock when they feel like they can’t stand alone anymore.
We’ve had our fair share of struggles with this. Living with an invisible autoimmune disease, anxiety, and depression as well as dealing with job losses, immigration issues, and all the stresses life has thrown at us.
We’ve learned that we can’t do it all on our own, staying in our lanes. We married each other to have a partner in life, and a true partner is one we can be open and honest with about anything.
It wasn’t easy, but so worth it. We had to start at the beginning because identifying what emotions we felt, or were behind the mask of anger or grief was challenging for two people who were never taught the value of naming our emotions, or in some cases that it wasn’t even okay to express emotions.
See how it always comes back to work on self?
If you got married thinking it was going to be magical and fix everything, or even just that you were done putting in the work, you were dead wrong. If you want to have a healthy, happy, lasting marriage, then you need to put in the work on yourself and always keep growing together with your spouse your top priority.
What do you and your spouse read or listen together to help you grow together in your marriage?
Even if you do not have any hobbies in common, you are both committed to your marriage right? So start there. Use the suggestions on this page and come up with some that you and your spouse are willing to try.
P.S. If you enjoyed this post on growing together in marriage, feel free to share it with your friends and family.