Thinking about ways to reconnect as a couple can be difficult when you're busy with work and/or kids, and just real life stuff that always gets thrown at married couples. It's easy to see yourselves as “mom and dad” rather than “husband and wife”, and even easier to put the husband and wife labels on the back burner when you are tired. We get it, but we are here to talk about ways to keep that spark – or ways to get it back if you've lost it.
Ways to Reconnect as a Couple
Maybe you've been married for some time now and have fallen into the “doldrums”, the everyday routines that we tend to fall into when we get married and settle down. Or, maybe you're newlyweds and just preparing – making sure you don't fall into a routine and drift apart. Either way, reconnecting with your spouse and kicking it up a notch is sure to make even the dullest marriage fun again.
What is settling down anyway? Why do we get married and settle down? We were having fun dating and going out and now that we are in a relationship we stop those things. You don't have to! Start dating your spouse on a weekly basis just like you did when you met.
We know kids come into the picture, work is demanding more hours from you, and the stress level is higher. But you were working when you met and you still made time to date, right? The kids… well, hire a sitter or have a family member watch them for a night. Do what it takes to keep the marriage fresh and the relationship strong. There will be times when you just can't for whatever reason but think back to when you were just dating and how you would overcome most obstacles to make sure you got to see your partner as often as possible. Use that type of thinking to come up with ideas to make time to date your spouse.
Make Your Spouse a Priority
Whether you started the relationship with children or you had them after getting married, you have to continue to make your spouse a priority in your life. We don't mean to be crass, but the kids will grow up and move out and start lives of their own. Show them how they are supposed to make a relationship last. To do this, you have to continue to prioritize your own relationship.
Strengthen your bond and grow closer to each other at every opportunity. Your relationship deserves to be a priority. Work at it! Make sure you are putting in the time to advance in your relationship just like you are at your workplace. Remember how you felt about your spouse when you met, the butterflies? We always hear “you guys are new, wait until you have been together for some years.” That new feeling does wear off a bit… or it changes, at least, but you can recreate the butterflies and the feelings time and time again by taking your spouse on surprise dates. By putting in the effort, you're already fighting against the dullness many couples run into a few years into their marriage. These little things go a long way to helping you to reconnect with your spouse and get that loving feeling back if you've been missing it.
Date Your Spouse
Take your spouse on a movie date! Get dressed up leave the house early, come back half an hour later and pick your spouse up for the date. It may seem silly to leave and come back, but taking that extra step makes it even more special. Take the time to look and smell your best. Do the things you did in the beginning to win their affection.
Once you're on the date, turn off your cell phone! At the very least, put your phone on “do not disturb” and let only the babysitter's call through. Pay attention to what your spouse is talking about. Don't talk about the kids or work if you can help it. Make it a point not to mention these topics, and if your spouse does, redirect the conversation as soon as possible. Again, it may seem silly to do little things like this but it makes a world of difference. You can talk about the kids and work any time. Make this date special. Sit close or even on the same side of the table. Kiss, cuddle, and hug often (if this is something your spouse will appreciate).
Look into their eyes not only when they are talking, but just because. Admire your spouse as they walk, talk, stand, sit… it doesn't matter what they are doing, keep your eyes and hands on them. This is a show of affection and love and when you are trying to reconnect, you want to show that you are still in love with them. Dating is an excellent way to reconnect with your spouse. Know you spouse and what their Love Language is. Knowing this will dictate how you show them love. If your partner isn't the touchy feely type, you'll need to put a little more effort in to show them you're paying attention and you are making them a priority.
Write a Love Letter
Writing love letters seems so old fashioned, but taking the time out to sit down, put your thoughts on paper and send them to your love one is an exceptional way to show how much you care and that you are thinking of them. If you are not that good at writing, look up some ideas online (but make sure you use your own words). Talk about the last date you went on that was special, or special moments you have had in the past. Talk about how much you love them and how you are looking forward to the future with them. Yes, even if you've been married for ten years. Talk about the future you want to have. Little things go a long way and professing your love in writing is another way to reconnect emotionally with your spouse. Letters make great keepsakes as well.
We are busy, busy people and making time seems to be harder and harder to do these days. A quick kiss on the lips that lingers longer than just a peck on the cheek is a way to show more intimacy and affection towards your lover. We hold hands in the store, kiss in public, look at each other as we are walking away. These things keep our relationship strong and our intimacy directed at each other. Again, it's important to know your spouse's Love Language. If they aren't keen on physical touch, you may have better luck with words of affirmation. Telling your spouse you love them or that they look beautiful may be more meaningful to them. Make sure you're communicating in their Love Language, not yours. It's easy to make the mistake of communicating in your Love Language because that's what comes natural to you, but it's not as effective as communicating in theirs.
Put in the Effort
Reach out to your spouse and let them know you are thinking of them. A quick text, a phone call in the middle of the day, a quick note before leaving for work, all of these things let them know you're on their mind. Reach out to your spouse and engage them in the loving process. Remember when you first got together and recreate the experiences, the dates, the dinners, the lunches. Remember how you made the time to date your spouse and do it again. It was fun and exciting for both of you and it will be again. We love going on dates and enjoying each others company. We love to love each other and if you are still in love with your spouse but feel like you need to reconnect, just take a moment and decide to make time for them and enjoy the moments anew.
Other Ideas for Reconnecting With Your Spouse
In true Smiley fashion, it wouldn't be a complete blog post without being as long-winded as possible. 😉 Sadie's going to give you some more tips to help you reconnect with your partner.
Steal a moment. Or two. It can be tough to get any alone time when you have kids, or opposite work schedules, or whatever the road block may be. When the baby naps, head to the bedroom for a quickie. Don't feel like having sex? That's okay, too. A “quickie” can mean 15 minutes of alone time, together, talking about whatever you feel like talking about! It can mean cuddling, watching a TV show, or whatever else you want to spend your time doing. Instead of thinking about how you “don't have any time”, figure out where you can squeeze in 5, 10, 15 minutes together. Put your phones away and just appreciate each other in the moment.
Look back. Chances are, you spent a small fortune on wedding photography. I mean, most of us did. If not, you still have wedding photos, right? Right. Get the wedding album out and go through it. Talk about what you loved about your wedding day. Look back on your wedding night. Then, look back on your first date. Your first kiss. Your proposal. Talk about the awkward times, if you had any. I always tease Kevin about how awkward our first kiss was, and we get to laugh and talk about our first date all over again. It's a great way to connect with each other without being too sappy.
Find (new) common ground. Kevin is super into watches. Watches have never been my thing, but I figure if he loves them that much, I might as well listen when he talks about them. In the process, I've learned a little and have also taken an interest to get a watch (or two, or ten) myself. He was extremely excited when I told him he could start looking for watches for me. Are watches important to me? Definitely not. Is taking an interest in something he loves important to me? Absolutely. I know this isn't always possible (don't you dare try to get me interested in fishing), but if there's something new you can find common ground on, do it. You may surprise yourself and find new interests together.
Listen. Oh man. I'm not a great listener… at all. I have to make a conscious effort on a regular basis to listen. Why? Because every time I listen, I learn something. And I know Kevin appreciates it when I listen, so it makes it worth it to me to put the effort in. Showing him that I'm willing to put effort into the relationship goes a long way (especially when I ask him to do the laundry). We both have similar Love Languages, so it's fairly easy to put the effort in because it's like second-nature. But on some things (like listening), it's a little more difficult. When your spouse sees you are putting effort in, they're more likely to return the favor. Obviously you shouldn't do it just to get something in return, but a little effort goes a long way in reconnecting with your spouse.