Are you yearning to connect with your partner but you aren’t exactly sure how to do it? This is completely normal, especially for couples that have been together for many years. I often find myself meeting with couples that are very distressed about the fact that they no longer know how to open up conversations. Many of my clients worry that this is indicative of a failing marriage. It is not!
Here are the 3 things I’ve found to be indicative of a failing marriage:
And what is the most pivotal part of a successful marriage?
The ability to recognize the things that need repair and taking the effort to follow through.
My clients will often retort that since it no longer feels “organic” that maybe they are not meant to be together anymore. This is a romanticized version of marriage. We deeply wish that it could be as spontaneous and natural as those first few months, or even years, and when it isn’t we blame the relationship. Sometimes, couples even begin looking at options for separation or divorce. Loneliness in a marriage is a powerful thing.
I can see physical discomfort in couples when I suggest that they start “practicing” and “scheduling” the way in with they connect. This is not what we see in the movies. However, this is what real life, really successful couples do when they are in a rut.
My hope for you, my reader, is that you and your partner find a way to entertain these suggestions in order to begin building your friendship and intimacy again.
5 Ways to Reconnect with Your Partner
- Create or reinstate a ritual of connection
- Rituals of connection can be big or small. They are the ways in which you can rely on your partner for connection. For some couples this might be a morning coffee together and for others it is the kiss good morning and good night. Read more about rituals of connection here.
- Create a reliable “conversation time”
- This might be daily or weekly. Find a time where you will sit down with your partner, sans cellphones, and discuss anything that comes to mind. You might need to talk about tasks, upcoming events, or maybe just your week.
- Learn to be a better listener
- Hearing and listening are two different things. You might hear what your partner said but are you listening to understand? Listening to understand means that you set aside your own agenda, and in doing so you create quiet space in your mind to be curious about your partner’s perspective. Most people hear in order to respond, I want you to listen in order to understand.
- Make deposits into the emotional bank account
- To have a healthy bank account you need to make more deposits than withdrawals. A relationship is like this too. Every time you turn towards your partner in a loving way, you make a deposit. When you turn away you make withdrawals. Turning towards could look like bringing home their favorite dessert, listening to them talk about their day, or asking them to go on a walk with you. Turning away looks like turning the TV on when they ask for you to hang out in the kitchen or forgetting their birthday.
- Maintain Commitment
- Please, please, please don’t tell your partner you are leaving or you want a divorce unless you really mean that. In order for their to be connection in a relationship there needs to be vulnerability. In order for their to be vulnerability there needs to be safety. For safety there needs to be commitment. Your message should be “even when things are tough I am committed to you and there is no changing that”.
Elizabeth Earnshaw, LMFT
Elizabeth supports individuals and couples to have better relationships with themselves and others. Elizabeth provides couples with the guidance they need to reach deeper connection, manage conflict, and improve their overall satisfaction.