Jared and I have been married long enough to experience the trouble of losing connection. It sounds so awful when I type it out, but it’s something that happens to the best of us, and watch out because it creeps up on you before you catch it!
It’s been the most sneaky during this pandemic and quarantine time. We would assume we’re very connected since we spend most of our time together, but it’s almost more dangerous as spending time apart since we fall into that flow of going through the motions and not truly connecting or having unique bonding experiences!
Jared and I often found ourselves in this position even before the pandemic due to this season of our life where our kids require a lot of our time and attention. We end up putting most of our efforts and energy into them before each other. It’s an easy mistake I think a lot of parents run into. We all want to make the most of our time with our children and do our best for their success. We count our joint time with them as time with each other and we soon start to feel the effects.
From our failures, we’ve learned to make improvements in this department and we’re always learning how to be better. I thought I’d share a few tips that have come to work for us and how we try to prevent ourselves from winding up in that negative space of lost connection.
- Plan a special adventure together seasonally. Experiencing something new or exciting together builds a bond and offers space to connect. Plus memories are made between just the two of you which is significant in a partnership and marriage. It’s wise to keep some memories secret between just the two of you, it fosters a more sacred relationship. The kiddos, extended family, or friends, don’t need to be a part of everything! Also, this doesn’t always have to be extravagant… I had planned for Jared and I to attend the Roots Festival in Fayetteville this summer for our special adventure but the social distancing dilemma put a damper in that so instead we had a simple weekend at home to ourselves. We just caught up on self care and each other, and rested a lot. It ended up being very refreshing and an enjoyable weekend.
- Touch often… this is a really basic concept that I think gets highly overlooked by busy married people. When we’re too busy to connect on deeper levels the simplicity of a special touch shows that your putting effort into staying connecting. I started noticing I’d do this with my children a lot because the kids tend to reach out for that touch language when they aren’t getting enough grounding. I’d hold their hand, rub their back, or let my hand wisp their cheek or hair… It was a way to show them I’m here and acknowledging that they need care. It dawned on me one day that I had stopped doing those things to Jared. Of course as the kids started to demand my attention he withheld and let them steal it. I started reminding myself to care for him that way again too and it is definitely a staple way we show each other our love a lot of times in the midst of chaos.
- Speak less and support more. This is one that applies to so many circumstances that can cause distance between spouses. So many times we want to offer our opinions when our partner is needing to just hear themselves talk out loud. After fifteen years together I finally think me and Jared are improving at this- lol! I’m noticing each of us catching ourselves before we say something that hurts and doesn’t offer a solution. This is one we’ve been practicing a lot this year as we’ve went through so many hardships and turbulence personally and in society. There have been many heated conversations that we’re learning to calm by simply hearing each other out. Most couples tend to talk to their spouses without a filter which adds a complex layer to this concept, but try to keep that in mind when your spouse is talking through things or venting out. I’ve seen this play out with my friend relationships as well. Many times we just need to have a trusted person in our corner to speak out loud at in order to dissect what it is we’re feeling or going through. Most of the time your spouse doesn’t need you to identify anything or give an answer, they just need you to listen and that helps them make sense of things and find a solution on their own. (An added note that I’m experiencing in my personal journey after losing my dad that highlights the need for this in human nature… – My mom has lost that companionship she’s had for so long of having someone to tell her everythings to. It’s interesting to see her turn to me and Jared and my grandpa as well as her extended family and friends for that “talking out loud” time now.
I hope these ideas are useful for you in your relationships and offer inspiration for keeping a quality connection. What one resonates with your personally the most? I’d also love to know what works well for you!
Living For The Most,