Updated: Dec 8, 2021
My partner and I recently decided that we needed a break, not from each other, rather the opposite. We needed a break to reconnect with each other. We had not been away together without kids hanging off us in over 5 years. It was more needed than we knew!
My Mum used to tell me that marriage was work. I always shrugged that off with the unsaid retort “maybe yours does, but when I get married it will be to my soul mate and we will just click and forever engage with and stimulate each other until the end of time and we will die in each others arms like the final scene of The Notebook. How naive was I? It turns out the answer is VERY!
Every couple needs time to connect. But these past couple of years, with all of the added stress’s we have all had it has been easy to push this to the side. We’re frustrated. We’re stressed. We’re frustrated and stressed about being frustrated and stressed. It’s easy to ignore the simple things a relationship requires but the upkeep — staying interested, staying creative, finding new and exciting ways to learn about one another — is more important than ever to continue moving through. So, if you’re feeling as though some things have slipped and are looking for ways to reconnect with your partner, I spoke to a couple of relationship experts for some simple tips that we can all embrace, including just embracing! Incorporate a few into your lives — some require as little as five or 10 minutes — to get back to that being in that good place again.
Ask Insightful Questions
Despite the scary novelty of everything this year, the COVID pandemic has made many lives boring. It’s easy to go about our routines and forget to learn about our partners, assuming we already know what there is to know about them. We assume we know what our partner is feeling and thinking which, of course, likely isn’t true. Think: What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?’ ‘If you could reverse one mistake in life, what would it be?’ ‘What was the most difficult thing you’ve ever had to share with me? These examples might feel a bit weird. But they’re examples of the types of probing questions that can help a couple explore their relationship in less familiar ways. In turn, they will help you learn more about each other as individuals, and as a couple.
Learn Something New Together
Exploring uncharted territory together is an easy way to bring about more teamwork in a relationship. When you start something new together, it takes a lot of pressure off. During these high-stress times, it’s easy to end up working ‘against’ each other through bickering and fighting. In order to reconnect, a fun, innocent, random hobby can be perfect.
Try baking or learning a new dish to cook together,
go for a walk, cycle or hike together,
Start perfecting your poker face, learn how to play black jack like a pro or opt for a round of rummy—either way, you and your other half are sure to enjoy the screen-free entertainment and friendly competition with nothing more than a standard deck of cards.
Volunteering is not only a good thing to do in the altruistic sense, research has also shown that it can improve your mental and physical health, life satisfaction and social well-being.
Boredom is the enemy of romance, but sometimes the fix is as simple as changing up your living space with exciting, new design elements. If you and your significant other co-habitat, you’ll both reap the rewards of this hobby—but when done as a joint endeavor, redecorating promotes collaboration and offers both people an opportunity to get their creative juices flowing in the same direction.
Stress can kill anyone’s sex life and unfortunately it doesn’t even take two to tango: If just one half of a couple is experiencing unmanaged stress, it can have disastrous effects on the quality of a relationship. The good news? Doing yoga with your partner on a regular basis is an ideal way to spend time together, while releasing the tension that might otherwise get in the way of your quality time. I did this with my partner via Youtube and we have never looked back.
Write Weekly “Thank You” Notes
We notice our partner’s flaws more readily than their virtues which is a recipe for resentment. You need to create a habit of expressing gratitude, so that you don’t lose sight of all the good things about your relationship. Gratitude naturally makes us refocus on everything we do have, including the connection with our partner. So heres an idea that a number of experts advocate - Writing one thank you note each week can be helpful for your mental health, your spouse’s mental health, and your health as a couple. Be creative with your delivery, too, by packing them in lunches, hiding them under your partner’s pillow, or taping one to their windshield.
Synchronize Work Breaks
If you’re both working from home, use it to your advantage and schedule mutual break times. We’re all very busy but these breaks don’t need to be long. Take a five minute break at least every two hours, and try to coordinate interactions with your partner. What you do with your time is up to you — it could be anything from grabbing a snack, to venting about a frustrating colleague, to having a family dance party with the kids.
Set Aside Time For Silliness
Laughing can create the same chemical bond as intimacy, which makes it essential to connection. So instead of watching Breaking Bad or Succession every night, mix it up and watch a stand up comedy show or comedy series instead. Ask for recommendations on social media and watch your inbox fill up.
Compliment Each Other
Lockdown had a way of making us all feel a bit self conscious. Many of us, me included, are moving less and wearing ‘comfies’ way more. While it is always important to make your significant other feel desired and attractive, acknowledging a physical attraction is even more crucial right now. As we begin to feel more self-conscious about our looks, it’s really helpful to know that your spouse still finds you physically attractive. It’s important to leverage the language of physical attraction. Something as simple as holding hands can help re-establish this connection, even if it’s only for a few seconds.
Check In At the End of Each Day
A proper couples nightcap without the booze. Spend a few minutes together at bedtime to check in with each other, cuddle into bed, and practice showing gratitude for the things you experienced during the day. Obviously, every day isn’t going to be ideal, but stretching and looking for something — anything — that you can celebrate will help you establish connection in a positive way. This simple ritual is grounding, It’s a moment we can use to eliminate the negatives of the day, and wind down together.
Love is not built on the big vacations or expensive gifts. Often it is the seemingly insignificant moments of connection that are the most significant of all.