With a demanding job, the kids, our friends, and life in general begging for our attention at every moment, we often feel like, despite living under the same roof as our spouse, it’s been a while since we’ve really connected with them.
It’s incredible how an entire week can fill up with errands and commitments in so little time. We might have a few pressing assignments at work to focus on, or maybe we’re caught up with making sure the kids have their homework done, are showered, and ready for school, or we could have a friend who’s especially needy right now after a breakup, or maybe we decided this week would be the week of appointments.
A million things can take up our time, and before we know it, the days have whirled by, and we’ve barely paid any attention to our spouse – we have no concept of how their week was. It’s all too common for us to see someone every day, even share a bed with them, without really seeing them amidst the chaos of life.
So what can couples who regularly find themselves busy, distant, and juggling the demands of life do to reignite their connection?
1. Share a Kiss
Kissing is something that often falls by the wayside as our lives get more demanding and our relationship gets older. One study found that a fifth of married couples could go a week without kissing at all and that the grand majority of couples don’t kiss before going to bed.
Engaging in a six-second kiss has enormously positive effects on a relationship.
But the science of kissing doesn’t lie – sharing a kiss (and we’re talking more than a mindless peck on the way out the door) with our spouse can serve as a means of reconnecting with them in an intimate, loving way. In fact, studies show that engaging in a six-second kiss has enormously positive effects on a relationship.
2. Ask Them Questions without Distractions
Distractions are all around us: our phone, the news, the kids, social media. We live in a world that expects that we’re constantly accessible, and this often leads us to forget to actually pay attention to the people right in front of us.
Asking simple questions like “How did you sleep?” or “What was your day like?” and making a point of listening to their answers without distractions and asking follow-up questions will help them feel like you truly care about them, their life, and their day.
3. Check-In with Them During the Day
If we have time to check Instagram or an email, we have time to reach out to him to see how he’s doing. Nothing kills connection like going for extended periods of time with no contact whatsoever, so even if it’s just a quick “Hey, how’d that meeting go?” text, it’ll mean so much more to him that in the midst of our busyness, we thought of him, what he was doing, and took the time to reach out.
4. Say Something Nice (and Never Nothing at All)
It’s easy to assume that our spouse already knows what we love about them – we married them, after all. And we’ve told them before how much we love their cooking or their sense of humor. But once really isn’t enough.
When it comes to maintaining connection in a relationship, the most effective way to build a deeper bond is when we think something nice, say it. Keeping it to ourselves makes it a wasted thought, in a sense. If we’re able to say anything that encourages our spouse, or just lets them know that we acknowledge something unique about them, we absolutely should.
5. Express What You Need from Them
Sometimes it’s simpler to allow the little things that annoy us or the needs we feel aren’t being met to slide, but this approach creates a dynamic of stuffing down our emotions and desires and neglecting to express ourselves to our spouse, leading us to resent them.
Our spouse deserves our honesty and openness with them.
It may be uncomfortable to open up about how we’re not being given what we need from our spouse, but it beats the emotional distance and grudges that form otherwise. Our spouse deserves our honesty and openness with them, as well as the chance to work on their faults.
6. Do Something They Love
A quick scroll through TikTok will show countless wives who complain about their husband’s silly hobbies, video games, or interests. And not everything of his is for us to partake in, but what if we made an effort to see why he loves what he loves, and even show curiosity about it?
This could look like cheering him on when he wins a video game, watching an episode of his favorite "guy" show with him, or asking to come next time he mentions going to shoot hoops. Even if we don’t fully understand his "thing," it’ll be meaningful to him that, rather than roll our eyes about it, we showed interest or participated.
7. Know Their Schedule
Few things say “You matter to me” like making a note of someone’s schedule. Especially when we already have our own commitments to worry about and keep track of, making an effort to know what his schedule looks like, if he has any important meetings, or is just hanging out with old friends will help him feel connected to us, even if our days look totally different.
8. Create a Daily Rhythm
Connection often isn’t lost because of something we’re actively doing to hurt our spouse, but because of what we’re not doing – intentionality in marriage is the greatest key to maintaining a loving relationship that feels like it’s alive.
Intentionality in marriage is the greatest key to maintaining a loving relationship.
It’s essential that we create daily routines with our spouse to keep our connection around, like watching an episode of a show together every night, or reading a book together, or catching up on each other’s day while you tidy up the kitchen together after dinner. Not every couple’s rhythm will look the same, but the most important thing in carving out our unique rhythm is consistency.
9. Don’t Forget Date Nights
Once you get married, date nights are often swiftly and easily forgotten about. We’re around each other every night anyway, so why bother spending extra money and going through the annoyance of getting out of the house when we’d have dinner together either way? And if there are kids, we’d have to find a babysitter and worry about them the whole night.
It’s tempting (and more comfortable) to stay home, but planning out a date night at least once a month will do wonders for our relationship. It takes us out of the context in which we see him everyday and offers us a fresh look at him, gives us both the opportunity to get gussied up, and makes space for new memories to unfold. Date nights may sound so pointless, but they’re crucial in our pursuit to keep romance an active part of our marriage.
Marriage is a relationship that’s easily neglected because of how used to it we become – we just expect this person will always be part of our lives, so we forget to continue investing in fostering a meaningful and loving connection with them. But the health of our marriage inevitably reflects the effort we put into it, so implement some of these rituals for a marriage that will only get stronger over the years.
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