Monday, January 16, 2012

The Night We've Waited For...

One of our family new year's resolutions is to hold family home evening every single week. It's an opportunity to spend time together as a family and learn about church-related subjects in the home. We tried having family home evening when we first got married but it was so...awkward. Without children or siblings, we'd just end up watching a movie or having a normal night. When there's just 2 of you at home, it's really hard to distinguish just what makes a night "family night".

I set out to tackle this problem, because I really believe in the importance of establishing the habit of family night.

This is what I came up with:

Now our family home evenings go about like this:

  • Sing a hymn that goes along with the lesson. Cam plays the piano, we both sing.

  • We switch off who says the opening prayer.

  • We go over finances. I have a little printout in my wallet that has our budget outline in it. Every time I pay a bill or make a purchase, I record the amount in the budget. That way, every Monday it takes me about 5 minutes to calculate how much we have left in each budget. We talk about upcoming expenses, things we'd like to use the miscellaneous budget for, and potential date ideas.

  • We check in with each other on how we're doing spiritually. How are our family prayers? Personal prayers? What are we studying in the scriptures personally? As a family? Are we happy with how family scripture study is going? etc. We also set a goal together that we want to work on the next week.

  • We talk about our relationship. We start off with 3 compliments and an itch. The nice thing is that after you've given 3 sincere compliments to the other person, it's pretty hard to come up with an "itch". BUT, if there is ever something we really need to talk about, this is an easy way to get it out in the open. And then we do 3-minute massages. (Honestly, these normally wait until right before bedtime, but sometimes we sit on opposite ends of the couch and do foot rubs.) I strongly believe that physical touch is an essential part of feeling like you're "on the same page." It's really hard to be annoyed with each other if you're touching, and good feelings between spouses invites the spirit into our home. We also go over current stressors. If I don't know what is stressing Cam out, I can't help relieve that stress and vice versa. Also, a sure-fire way to increase the love you feel for your spouse or your spouse feels for you is to get rid of whatever it is that is setting off red flags in his or her mind.

  • The last part of the paper is a week-at-a-glance calendar. There's VERY little space here, for a reason. This is where we make sure we're both planning on the same things for the upcoming week. It has virtually eliminated any freak outs caused by "You didn't TELL me you were working overtime tonight." And, "No. My work party is tonight. We have to be there at 6. You'll have to cancel with so-and-so." We outline major events in the upcoming week.

  • We have a lesson. (Cam and I switch off who gives it).

  • We have an activity. (This is anything from organizing the nursery to going on a walk to going to concert to playing a card game etc.)

  • We have a treat. (And a closing prayer)

For a while this paper was posted on our fridge for the week, but since we've tried it for almost 2 months now, we've decided to save some paper because it has worked beautifully. I plopped mine in a frame and we use a dry-erase marker to fill it out every week. It sits on our end table next to the couch where we will see it all the time. Here's what it looks like all filled out: (This was last week's)

Every time someone has asked about it, they inevitably ask how long it takes to get through. 15 minutes tops. 10 minute lesson, and then a treat means family night is still about a half hour long, but we are so on the same page and prepared for the week, the difference is incredible.

And we feel like we're on the same team.

I think that's worth every second.


  1. Kristin, I love this! What a great idea! I admire how organized and creative you are.

  2. Are you coming to Logan on Saturday?

  3. Oh Kristin you are amazing! I totally agree that FHE is so boring when you try to do it as a couple with no kids. But I am totally going to follow your amazing example and do something very similar! thank you for sharing your amazing ideas, and being such an inspiration to me! :)

  4. May I steal your brilliance? This is SO what we need. Our FHE's as a couple have also been kind of awkward and it has been really hard for us to be consistent. And FHE is a good opportunity to get some of these things talked about, planned, out of the way. I think this may just change my life (with your permission, of course:).

  5. We have done FHE a few times and we combine a lot with family that lives in town but I really like this idea for just me and the hubs. We are a fam so we better have FHE together. I love the dry erase idea too.

  6. You are soo on the ball. You are gonna make great parents :) I might steal the idea!

  7. I used to think that FHE was awkward with no kids...and then we had those times where we were practically yelling scripture passages above the head of a screaming baby, lol. It's great to get in the habit of it, but your kids probably won't get much out of FHE until they're ready for nursery and even then it's a bumpy ride. Glad you've made it something you and Cameron can enjoy!

  8. We have 4 kids and I'm SO planning on using this as FHE was our goal this year too. Our kids love knowing what is going on for the week and have recently asked more about finances. We believe in being open with them about money so the finance section will be great for teaching them! Thanks so much for sharing your idea. I'm heading to photo shop this minute!

  9. What a neat outline! You really thought this out, there are so many useful things I might have to nab--you're so right about the initial awkwardness of FHE as a married couple. Mac & I are terrible at it, but maybe we can work on that, thanks for the ideas:)