Friday, January 29, 2010

Marriage Enrichment

Several months ago Nick added a new line item to our monthly budget. The line item reads "Marriage Enrichment". The amount designated? $10. It's a cheesy title and not much money, I know, but stay with me for a minute.

When we were just a couple of DINKs (double income no kids) we had plenty of time alone and even went out on dates once a week. It was wonderful and probably why Nick dragged his feet so long in the "let's have kids" department. Well, that and the road trips. I think we both miss the mini-road trips. Anyway, I have especially become increasingly dissatisfied with how often we get out. It's expensive though lining up a sitter and then going out to eat or to a movie or what have you. We're cheap. We admit it. We're ok with the cheapness though because it's allowing us to pay down debt early and hopefully pay cash (or mostly cash) for a van sometime in the first half of 2010. That's a whole separate post though.

So after many conversations and complaints about how we never do anything together, Nick came up with the Marriage Enrichment plan. I was skeptical. How would spending $10 a month and staying at home help us much? Turns out my husband is a genius.

The Marriage Enrichment rules are simple. We alternate who is in charge of the $10 and planning each month. It's an unspoken rule, but we don't tell each other what the plan is until the day/night comes. It's kinda fun!

November was our first one and Nick was in charge. He took the $10 and bought a book that we've used a couple of times. It's got some interesting quizzes that you take together about how you think things are going and how you think your spouse thinks things are going. The quizzes have led to awesome discussions and some real change in our relationship! The book link is below and as you can see, it's quite cheap at right now.

December I was in charge and I decided we'd have a throw back night. A night to honor all the fun we had before the boys arrived! (I know, I know - we still have fun now, but it's a different kind of fun.) After the boys went to bed I went and picked up some Chinese take out and we played Monopoly.

Last night was our January night and Nick was in charge again. He bought supplies for S'mores and we cooked S'mores on the S'more maker I had forgotten we even had! They were delicious of course and then we took another quiz from the above book and had more great discussions. 
Bottom line: If you don't get out often, or if you only get out occasionally but your marriage still isn't quite there, consider adding a Marriage Enrichment night each month. The fun of trying to come up with something creative for $10 or less, plus the element of surprise may be just what you and your spouse need!

Oh, and here are a couple of cute pics from yesterday ;)

Jackson & Chase

Tyler, Chase & Jackson



freckletree. said...

this really is ingenious. thanks for sharing.

and love the pics of the boys all laid back. how long did they stay that way and at what age do multiples lay on the floor together and r.e.l.a.x?

Laurie said...

What a fantastic idea! My husband and I try to plan "date nights" but we get bogged down in finding a babysitter, time to get away, what to do out and for how much $- it never occured to me to dedicate time to 'date-night-ins' instead of 'date-night-outs'! Thanks for a great tip!

Brenda said...

I had no idea about the book - I think I may check that one out and even give your "marriage enrichment" nights a try :)

MamaOtwins+1 said...

That is a great idea! And I love that you are saving money so you can pay in cash!

Helen said...

LOL freckletree! I'd say they stayed like that for 20 minutes or so before someone got up and moved :) It's the first time I've seen them ALL laying side by side on the floor like that. So nice to have a relaxed feel in the living room for all of 20 minutes.

Laney said...

Great idea! Where is the link to the book though? I don't see it...

Helen said...

Laney, it should be right after that paragraph. There's an Amazon box with the link to the book in it. In case you can't see it, the book is called "The Marriage Checkup Questionnaire by Norman Wright".

Anonymous said...

Love this idea. Kudos to Nick for coming up with it! I think we may try this out!

Heather said...

Wow! I love your "marriage enrichment" idea. This is definitely something that I think my husband and I need to try. Thanks for the fabulous suggestion!

Charlotte Cooper said...

What on earth is Tyler doing to his eye in the second photo? That's sure to become the "gross mom out pose".

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