Don’t you hate it when you feel disconnected from your spouse? When it just feels like there’s a distance between the two of you – whether emotionally, geographically, or spiritually. Fortunately, you can learn how to reconnect with your spouse. And it’s not that hard.
Sure, we’ve all been there. Well, those of us who have been married more than a few weeks have been there. Those times when conversation is difficult. Or when it feels like you’re missing each other. When there have been misunderstandings.
Stop the marriage killers
Now, if you’ve done something to alienate your spouse, I’m not going to tell you how to fix that. There are just too many things you could have done. But I can tell you this: stop it. Whatever you’re doing that creates distance between the two of you, stop it.
Ok, now that we’re done with that, let’s get on to the fun part of how to reconnect with your spouse. It’s something I’ve learned through practice, through reading, and through mentoring. So don’t think I’m this smart guy pontificating on stuff that he’s never struggled with. My wife and I sometimes feel distant and I had to learn how to reconnect with her.
But before we get to a few keys to reconnect with your spouse, I want to give you the most important one. Yes, it’s so important it gets its own section – completely separate from the others.
Make reconnecting with your spouse a ritual
That’s right. Make it a ritual. Weave it into the fabric of your lives. In the same way that you need air to live, you have to be connected to your spouse or your relationship will atrophy. Maybe even die.
Our reconnecting ritual
My wife and I have a ritual called “Front Porch Time.” It’s our time and we try to have Front Porch Time at least three nights a week (I picked that number – we’re not really that focused on counting so much as we’re focused on having it often.) It’s becoming part of the fabric of our relationship. In fact, we’ll be heading out to the front porch in just a few minutes. That’s how front porch time is, but that’s not how it’s always been.
We dreamed up Front Porch Time because I was failing at a relationship-building assignment in a mentoring group. The assignment just wasn’t working with us and the structure of our lives. So we modified it to work for us (there’s a key for you there, too).
How it works
We go out on the front porch. Sometimes we take tea and cookies. Sometimes we don’t. But we almost always vacate our house with all its distractions – TV, Netflix, Facebook, cell phones, Twitter, and sometimes even the mess.
We sit down in our Target porch chairs (they’re not the expensive ones, so don’t think you have to make it a “perfect” place). And we talk. We talk about the weather and the planes overhead and the sound of traffic on the interstate a couple of miles away. We talk about the lawn and the house and our daughter (and upcoming son). We talk about hopes and dreams and sometimes even frustration.
And sometimes we don’t talk much. That’s OK too.
There are also a few things we don’t do. We don’t “work on our relationship.” We never talked about that but we just don’t do it. We share our time together to enjoy each other. If we need to talk about a serious issue, we can make space for it. But not during Front Porch Time.
The focus of Front Porch Time is connecting and enjoying each other.
So, now that you have the most important point (remember, make it a ritual) and I’ve shared our story, you know all the insights I have on this. But since lists sometimes make things easier, here’s what’s worked for us.
How to reconnect with your spouse
- Make time
I’m not saying you need to put it on your calendar (maybe you do) but it needs to be a priority. You and your spouse need to spend time together just enjoying each other. It’s like a mini-date, though you still need dates too.
- Remove distractions
Seriously, turn off the TV and the computer. And if you need to go somewhere to get away from distractions. I can’t emphasize this enough. Distractions will kill your “connect” time.
- Listen and converse naturally
Listen to each other. Share your hopes and dreams. Share your frustrations. But focus on hearing and understanding and honoring each other more than making sure your opinion is heard.
- Enjoy each other
Take delight in the wonder and mystery of your spouse. Discover the amazing things that make your spouse different from you. And choose to find delight instead of condemnation in your spouse.
Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
These are just four things that have worked for us.
What’s worked for you?
What’s the biggest struggle you have in reconnecting with your spouse?
I just want to be up-front about this. I used an affiliate link, which means if you click through and buy something, I’ll get some money for it. But rest assured, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a great book and I’d recommend it without an affiliate link.
Photo credit: Azmil77 on Flickr (Creative Commons License)