Since I’ve been featuring my husband Mackenzie on my Instagram stories more often, I’m getting more comments and questions about him, and our relationship! Seeing as it’s nearly Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d get more personal, and write about some things we do in our relationship to stay connected. I put these into some simple, practical tips on how to keep your relationship fun – whether you’re just dating, newly married, or have been a couple for years! Read below, and don’t forget to add your own tips in the comments.
Surprise each other.
Routine can get old – whether that’s what you cook, how you dress, or even the way things go down in the bedroom. Predictability can lead to complacency sometimes. So spice things up by planning a random day out, eat dinner in the garden (if it’s Summer!), leave him a cute post-it message on the fridge, do stuff differently to the day, week or month before.
Educate each other
I can’t tell you how important intellectual stimulation is to a relationship. If you’re reading a book – tell him about it. Discuss the news, debate the latest movie, go to a local gallery. Feed yourselves with culture whether it’s gossipy pop culture or far more highbrow. A constant curiosity to learn more from each other and your opinions, makes a partnership grow and deepen. And I know your versions of culture don’t always match: I once took Mackenzie to the ballet. Which is my favorite thing in the world. I knew it was a long shot, and he hated it. But he did give me the giggles with his comments about the men in tights. So it doesn’t always go to plan – but we had a laugh, left early and went to a wine bar instead.
Take him on his dream date
Not yours. If that means paint-balling or going to the golf range followed by a dive bar (which actually sounds quite fun!) then do it. You’ll have more fun than you expect, and he’ll appreciate the major effort on your part.
Not in that douchey, look-at-us-in-matching-Lycra kind of way (I’ve lived in LA too long), but getting those endorphins flowing together is very bonding. Mackenzie and I were having a silly tiff the other weekend, on our way to a circuits class. Well halfway through we looked in the mirror, and couldn’t help but laugh. You can’t stay mad at someone while they’re sweaty and gross, halfway through a burpee. Plus, he’s male, and you’re in workout clothes, so he’s going to want to get jiggy the minute you leave…
Take an interest in his job
Mackenzie and I met at work – on the set of Plain Jane – and we still work together often now. But many couples don’t. If you do completely contrasting careers, take an interest in what he’s up to, what his goals are, and how the office politics go. Sometimes an outside opinion can actually help problem-solve, and the meer fact that you’re asking questions, shows you care.
And then don’t…
Judge the situation. Sometimes work is the last thing you need to be discussing, and as a wife or girlfriend, the best thing you can do is open a bottle of red and crack some jokes. Being able to take each other’s mind off a stressful situation, is key. Mackenzie and I have a rule we won’t discuss work at bedtime, and although we don’t really stick to it, at least we try!
I remember having dinner with a super important TV exec last year. He was going to Positano with his wife that summer. ‘So romantic!’ I said. ‘Are you kidding? We’re going with five couples. We’ve been married 35 years – this is way more fun in a group!’ At first I was taken aback, but thinking about it, why not? Having close friends around on a trip is actually a really fun way to keep the laughter going, and in a weird way brings you closer together as a couple, when you retire to your room at night. Plus, I love watching Mackenzie get animated as he tells a story across the table. He’s the life and soul of the party, and it makes me even more attracted to him.
Watch a hilarious movie, go to a stand-up show. There is nothing like simultaneous LOL-ing to make you feel in love.
Tell him he’s hot
And this works both ways. Couples often forget to compliment each other entirely. Confidence is crucial for everything from sex to affection to careers, even to parenting. So tell him how damn handsome he looks today.
Remember how silly and care free you were the night you met? How, for those first few weeks or months, you laughed your head off and really didn’t care about anything except seeing him? Then real-life creeps in. Bills, paperwork, deadlines, responsibility. Well I get it. I think I married the world’s most light-hearted man, so by comparison, I often find myself stressing out over things he doesn’t even notice – sweating the small stuff. But when the big kid in me comes back out to play, Mackenzie and I get along the best. It’s not always easy, but acting silly and goofing off when you can, is, – I think – the fastest way to a happy partnership.