My husband and I have a different marriage than most. He works out of town for two weeks and then comes home for one week. Reconnecting after separation from work is a large part of our relationship, and is for many commuter couples, where one spouse works in a different city or state. Reconnecting simply means coming back together. It can happen after a day at work, weeks apart, or after some bump, you encounter in your marriage. Whether you’re in a commuter marriage, or just struggling to connect to your spouse, the research is clear: what we all strive for in life is connection. One of the lead researchers in our field, John Gottman, talks about the “Six Magical Hours” that can improve your relationship by increasing connection.
Here are six tips for reconnecting with your spouse:
Part on Good Terms
Before you and your spouse set out for the day or physically leave each other for some time, make sure you understand what is going on with your spouse. Find out one thing that is going on with their day, what they are fearful of or what is exciting that day. In our home, we always seal that with a kiss and an “I love you” before leaving or hanging up the phone.
Reunions with a Kiss
I am not talking about a quick peck and go cook supper or put the laundry away. I am talking about wrapping your arms around the one you love and locking lips for at least six seconds or longer. That may not seem like much, but time your kisses and you’ll discover that six seconds is a fairly lengthy kiss. Once you give one another a lingering kiss, set aside 10-20 minutes to have a stress-reducing conversation. Take this time to share the struggles and triumphs of the day. I realize that there could be a lot going on in your home but try this at the end of a long hard day at work. It is surprising how this reunion will build the connection between you and your loved one. This signals to each other that you care about what’s going on in your partner’s life.
Give Admiration and Appreciation
This world offers plenty of negativity, criticism, and pressure. Speaking kind words to and about your spouse, and focusing on the positive things can be incredibly refreshing and connecting. When was the last time you told your partner what you appreciate and admire about them? Try sharing those thoughts and feelings aloud each day. You will be amazed at the difference that breathing positivity into your relationship will do!
Show physical affection in the simplest of ways. A pat on the back while doing some chore. A quick smooch in the kitchen while setting the table. Hugging. Kissing. A back/foot rub. Hold hands while walking or riding in the car. It’s those simple, everyday moments that continually remind each other that we are there for one another and that we love each other.
Plan a Date Night
Life can be very hectic, so planned date nights are very important. This private time with you and your mate (not with other adults) allows you to enjoy one another and have FUN! It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of running a household, working a job, and raising kids. It’s also easy to forget to prioritize our spouse. Date nights can be simple and inexpensive or lavish and time-consuming. Most importantly, they offer you a chance to connect with your mate and remain friends who have fun together. Check out our three rules for date night that we think are important for you to follow.
State of the Union
Plan time once a week to sit down and review the past week and the upcoming one. What is going on for each spouse and member of the household? Share what went well last week. What went wrong? Ask, “How can I best support you and show you that you are loved this coming week?”
This conversation is a cross between a business meeting and a self-driven therapy session. Talk openly about what each of you needs in the upcoming week. Also, reflect on what you wish could have been done differently last week. This sets you up for success in establishing and maintaining connections.
A great relationship doesn’t just happen. You have to nurture it, point it in the right direction and not be afraid to ask for help when you need it. If you find that you feel disconnected from your spouse or are struggling to feel that connection again, check out our other article, Six Questions To Ask Your Partner to Connect.
Feel free to contact us to make an appointment to help you and your spouse get set back on the right track to a better relationship.