SidebySideThe other evening, my sweet friend came over for some late night coffee. We began talking about relationships in general and how quickly and easily they can begin to just feel like really hard work.

In hard seasons and in hard relationships, we get so tired of venting, hashing stuff out and having the same conversation over and over again. It leaves us feeling incredibly drained. When you continue to talk about the same problems, with the same people, with little change – it is bound to wear your out.

Right now, if you are feeling worn out, whether it be with your spouse, your friends, your in-laws, your co-workers or your parents, it may be necessary to take some time away from that “face-to-face” relationship.

Instead, live life with them. Build your relationship side-by-side.

What do I mean?

In seasons of hardship, when my husband and I are both drained, instead of sitting face-to-face at a restaurant – knowing that we will have that same battle for the thousandth time – we choose to go rock climbing or bowling, side-by-side.

We know that the face-to-face moments are important, but sometimes,
we just need to be friends again.

When you put aside the stresses of work, life, parenting and finances and the serious conversations that come with them.

And then – you laugh together until your stomachs hurt. You play games in the car, sing obnoxiously, jump from restaurant to restaurant and stay out super late.

You need to remember one another as who you are and see each other outside of life’s responsibilities. As husband and wife, you need to remember the amazing, fun-loving, incredible person that you married.

And you have to do this often.

Our God has the power to redeem relationships. And not only to redeem them, but to make them beautiful and good.

Friendship is essential in any relationship, isn’t it? It allows us to love better. It frees us up to find joy in areas where we normally wouldn’t, even in relationships that we didn’t ourselves “choose.”

What if you switched things up for date night? Go and work with your husband on a project that he is passionate about or go on a date to do something he loves. Witness his cute quirks and habits that you so often overlook.

When it comes to dating, it’s not just about the traditional face-to-face dinners. Research has shown that going on activity-based dates side-by-side can be a game-changer in building stronger connections, especially for men.

<style=”text-align: left;”>Studies, like the one published in “Psychological Science” in 2018, have pointed out that couples who embark on thrilling activities together tend to report higher relationship satisfaction and stronger feelings of love. For guys, this can be particularly beneficial as it’s an opportunity to display their skills and interests, which can boost self-confidence.

Want to work together toward a healthier, happier marriage? Join thousands of other couples around the world in ‘The Marriage Project’ today! 

But there’s more to it than just having fun. Engaging in these kinds of activities often leads to personal growth. It’s a two-for-one deal – you get a stronger connection with your partner, and you also get a chance to develop yourself.

Research from the University of Illinois has shown that trying new and challenging things with your partner can lead to increased happiness and overall relationship satisfaction. So, side-by-side, activity-based dates are a win-win – they help men connect with their partners while also growing individually.

Through these efforts of love, you will watch the powerful work of our Lord work in your relationships. Be encouraged, sweet friend. Jesus wants to make this relationship that you’re struggling with one that brings joy to your life, all while pruning your heart to make you more like Him.

Do you want more like this? Join thousands of other couples in The Marriage Project, two marriage courses in one, focused heavily on strengthening your relationship with God and one another for a thriving, healthier, happier marriage. 

Subscribe to The Living Easy Podcast wherever you get your podcasts for more conversations like this. 

With Grace,