One of the best pieces of advice that my wife and I received when we were married was to read together. We have spent many hours cuddled up together with a good book. Before the kids came along and when they were still very little (because they are still little I needed to qualify it with VERY little) we could read a lot more. Now we have to wait until they are in bed or we get interrupted every two seconds. Even now we probably read five to six books a year together (in addition to scripture reading). I cannot recommend this enough. If you and your spouse like to read, READ TOGETHER. You don't have to read everything together but reading a book together out loud to one another does three things for your marriage:
- Forces you to spend time together. How can you read a book out loud to one another if you aren't in the same room?
- Creates shared experiences and memories. Here's an opportunity to discover new inside jokes and find fun ways to describe events. We read the Eragon books together and several times we have used examples from the books to describe things in real like like "the color of the nail polish she was wearing was just like Saphira's scales" (if you haven't read the Eragon series you're missing out).
- Gets you interacting with each other. We find that TV and movies, while we enjoy them, don't typically do that. While we're reading a book we'll often stop and try to guess where the story is going, who's the actual bad guy, how is the hero going to win, etc. It's fun to have those real conversations with your spouse.
I speak from experience as I make this recommendation to read together. I recognize that reading isn't necessarily everyone's favorite hobby (it just so happens that it is mine and Cami's) and if that's the case and you and your spouse hate reading (which my guess is that you don't since you're reading this right now) then reading together might not be the thing for you. But if you have an interest in reading, even if it's not a burning passion, give reading together a try.
Now, two more pieces of advice.
First, don't give up the first time. The first book that Cami and I read together ("The Other Side of Heaven" by John H. Groberg) we barely got through it and it took us months to read it. It's not that long so it shouldn't have, however, despite it being a good book we just couldn't get into reading it together. It didn't quite engage us. So don't give up. Keep looking until you find the genre that is right for you. We have found that fantasy type fiction is what we are able to get into (it's weird too because most of it neither of us would typically read on our own but together we eat it up). From time to time we try to branch out again but it doesn't usually pan out. A few years ago we tried reading Pride and Prejudice together and I couldn't stay awake. :)
Second, if you're not enjoying the book that you're reading pick a different one. You don't have to finish a book. Again, with Pride and Prejudice I just couldn't stay awake, I wasn't engaged in the story, so we took it back to the library and checked out a new book to try it (I don't remember what that one was). Also, if you find that reading isn't for you don't sweat it. It's not for everyone. My wife and children love having waffles, pancakes, and french toast for dinner. I don't. That's okay.
If you're looking for suggestions of books to read with your spouse and you are interested in the list of books that Cami and I have read sign up for my free newsletter. In the next edition I will be including a list of the books that we've read that we really enjoyed and whole-heartedly recommend.
I also welcome suggestions from you of books that we should read so leave me a comment with your recommendation.
Photos taken from respective official book websites