Couple Projects might seem indulgent and merely cute but perhaps they serve a deeper purpose.
Counselors and educators often talk about the importance of fun in a marriage. For those of us raising families, often couple fun is one of the first casualties in the busy family schedule. A Couple Project is one way to put fun back on the agenda.
One of the things that helps us bond as a couple is to share a joint project – something about which we are both passionate and which takes a significant time commitment. These joint projects benefit us at multiple levels.
- Spending time together is itself important for our relationship. It doesn’t really matter what the project is, time in each other’s company in any activity nourishes our togetherness. In fact, many marriage counsellors will demand that their ‘recovering’ couples prioritise time together, up to 15 hours a week. This can be daunting to the estranged couple and here’s where a joint project can help; you don’t need to rack your brains trying to think of something to do with your couple time.
- Recreational companionship is one of the most common love needs and also one of the best divorce-proofing strategies. Too many spouses stray from their marriage because they are attracted to someone else who shares their interest at work or in a particular hobby. Being able to share a recreational interest helps protect your affections from seeking someone else’s attention.
- Projects that challenge us and throw up obstacles such that we really have to apply ourselves to succeed, help us grow in our own skills and virtues – all things that can (if desired) be put to work in building a better relationship. When we undertake these challenging projects together, we learn more about the other as we discover their unique character, particularly how he or she handles setbacks.
- Joint projects help develop our team building skills and enhance our sense of being on the same side. Like protective padding, this gives our relationship layers of resilience memories that help us resist the negative impact of future challenges.
- And at the end of the project, when we look upon our joint accomplishment with pride and satisfaction, we inherit a veritable treasure trove of stories and memories from which we can draw encouragement. These memories provide ample fodder so that we can brag about our spouse’s tenacity and cleverness with real conviction.
Finding a Joint Project
Many couples discover love through a shared interest like hiking, cooking, travelling, ball room dancing, astronomy to name a few. These couples do well to maintain these shared hobbies as recreational nourishment for their relationship although it often gets trickier when children come along. Our new interest in hang gliding was surrendered for scuba diving when we began our family.
Raising children is the ultimate couple project, providing opportunities for testing and the development of virtues as well as abundant heart-warming memories. However we also need some shorter term, more frivolous ones as well, for example, renovations; these can really test our character as we tackle frustrations and negotiate who knows more about painting, tiling or decorating. Camping is another and has long been associated with particularly happy families… trying to salvage your swamped tent in the middle of a night time downpour is great for team building skills and provides enduring memories…after the event!
A cause or ministry when undertaken by only one in the marriage is often a point of resentment and tension, especially if it is time consuming or expensive. When a cause can be shared as a couple project, not only does it bring two instead of one to the service of the community, it helps us build a truly meaningful legacy. Our work in SmartLoving over twenty years in supporting marriages has become a cause that has the added benefit of keeping us up to date with the latest tips and tricks in fostering healthy relationships.
Here’s some we’ve come across – we’d love to hear your stories as well… share in the comments below. We love the wisdom of this Canadian mother who tasked her daughter and her new boyfriend with building an igloo when he came to visit the family. What a great couple project this turned out to be!
Stained Glass Igloo
This clever mum tasked her daughter and visiting boyfriend with a five-day building project that would keep them out of mischief. See the construction step by step: here
Cardboard Box Office
It’s clear whose having the most fun in this household. Although baby is central to the enterprise, this one ticks all the boxes for a bonding couple project. Check out their blog: here
Movie: Our Romance
This couple made a video reenacting their relationship from the day they met to an unscripted proposal. See the whole movie: here
Bun in the Oven
Got an important announcement? This couple went all out on their baby announcement. Watch it: here
And for the sequel – check out the musical Gender Reveal:
A House Made of Windows
Everyone has a fantasy. This couple made theirs a reality in this house of windows then made a movie about the project: Here