By: Bucky Bateman, LMFT
Let's put the kids down.
Have a light dinner.
Maybe not drink so much.
And do that thing I would rather do with you than with anyone else.
Lie in bed and look at our iPhones.
- John Kenney (poet)
This John Kenney poem hopefully gives you a chuckle and illustrates the modern struggle in our marriages. Remember the days when you were young, in love and you’d rather stay up and talk for hours with the one you love more than anything else. One of the joys of being in a long-term relationship is that we have someone who knows us, supports us and has our back. It’s far too easy to disconnect from each other and find a false sense of connection through our phones, screens and an evening or weekend media binge. We live in a world longing to connect but forgetting how to do it well. Here are some tips to foster connection in your relationship.
· Take time to connect in the morning
This might be asking a lot for those who are not naturally morning people. Pausing, looking each other in the eye, or snuggling up close and greeting the other person into the day goes a long way to building a connection.
· Find a way to let your partner know they’re on your mind
Our days can be burdensome and busy. A positive of having a phone is we can send a quick text, forward an article, video or song that made you think of your spouse.
· Take a deep breath before you walk in the door
At the other end of the day, an evening routine can often go sour when we come home with the day’s burdens on our shoulders. These can easily get put on our partner when we see them. Take a minute to take inventory of your inner world so you can be present when you arrive.
· Build a ritual into your day, week, or month that invests in your marriage
It’s challenging to find time if you haven’t planned it. Just like anything else, we build habits by developing rituals and repeating them. Build the habit of caring for your relationship in small ways. Prepare him/her coffee or tea, ask how you can be praying for him or her today, spend a few minutes before bed listening to a podcast and discussing it.
· Make a Date
With life pressing in, the first thing to suffer is often a regular date night. Making a consistent time, whether it be brunch, coffee, or a nice walk really does nurture your connection. Be active together, go learn something new together and do it regularly.