Most couples find themselves feeling disconnected from each other at different times in their relationship. Considering all the things we juggle with work, children, activities, socializing, family commitments, etc. – we might only see our partner at the end of the day when we are too exhausted to do anything but lay our heads on the pillow and sleep. Oftentimes our relationship falls to the bottom of the priority list and we find ourselves feeling resentful, arguing, and probably lacking in physical/sexual intimacy. If you recognize yourself in this description, there is hope. There are several ways to reconnect and rebuild intimacy in spite of hectic schedules.
1. Make your relationship a priority.
Time to connect with your partner may not always be easy to find but it is worth it. Your relationship is as important (if not more) as going to the gym, getting the children to soccer practice or meeting that work deadline. Add a date night to your calendar. Putting couple time in your calendar demonstrates that the relationship is important and makes couple time more likely to happen. Carving out this time does not mean jetting off to Paris for a night – it can be as simple as lighting candles and putting on some romantic music in the living room. Be creative, it can actually be fun to find ways to reconnect!
2. Institute weekly check-ins.
Think of this as a team meeting. You might try a format similar to the following: share something you appreciate about each other, something about your week, something that is bothering you, make a nonjudgmental/complaint-free request (e.g., “Please replace the toilet paper roll, there was none when I went to the bathroom this morning”), and end with a hope, big or small (e.g., “I hope we watch our favorite show together next week or I would love to travel Europe with you this summer!”). Another approach to check-in time might be more practical like planning for the week ahead (e.g., work, family, childcare, couple time). These plans can also be more long-term such as financial goals, vacation planning and/or even sharing dreams. Sharing ambitions can be an exciting way to reconnect and feel excited about the future.
3. Find shared interests.
Having common interests can really help couples stay connected. Doing something enjoyable together can add something special to your week/month and allows you to build new happy memories together. You will begin to have something to talk about other than the children, work and chores. A shared interest can be something like cooking classes, hiking or a dance class. It can also be something simple like having coffee together before work or saving one night a week to go to bed together. The more you can do as a couple, the more opportunities you have to reconnect and feel bonded on a consistent basis.
4. Show your support for each other.
It sounds simple but it is so important to be there for each other. Encourage each other. Look for the positive in your partner, give praise and show appreciation. Your partner might have a special interest or have just reached a goal – show them that you are proud of them, cheer them on, celebrate. It is a great opportunity to help each other feel loved and supported and these small moments strengthen your bond.
5. Touch each other.
Simple acts of physical intimacy like a hug or holding hands can go a long way especially if sexual intimacy is not quite where you would like it to be. Touch can help you to feel physically connected. Along with showing physical affection at random times, you might try incorporating cuddling into your bedtime ritual. Using bedtime to reconnect physically can increase feelings of caring and closeness and ends the day on a positive, connected note.
6. Reduce commitments if necessary.
For those who have children, remember to consider the impact of their schedules on the couple. If you have two children and each takes part in three after school activities, chances are you cannot implement most, if any, of the suggestions above. It is difficult to feel connected when you do not have any time together! You might consider cutting back on the children’s activities.
If you can relate to having lost a sense of connection with your partner you are not alone. Most couples feel this way at some point due to the demands of everyday life. Reconnection requires re-evaluating your priorities and making some key changes. By working on some of the points outlined in this article you can preserve and improve your relationship.
If you need more support to improve the connection in your couple call us to consult with one of our therapists at (514) 223-5327.