By Georgina El Morshdy
Being in love, feeling connected, and walking through life with ‘a special someone’ feels so good!
The challenge is that feelings of love can evolve and change over time. As a result, it’s not uncommon for committed couples to fall into a place of complacency and disconnection.
The good news is that doesn’t mean your relationship can’t be invigorated. Instead, it’s an opening for reconnection and an even deeper connection.
Keep reading to discover some simple practices and rituals you can try to feel more connected than ever in your relationship.
Which one will you try first?
1. TALK more (a lot more!)
It’s easy to fall into the trap of ‘lazy’ conversation. This can happen for several reasons. Making assumptions about each other (thinking you know the answer) or talking about the same topics all of the time. Conversation can become even more challenging when you have kids. It’s not uncommon for parents to spend more time talking about their little ones than each other or their relationship! Work can have a similar effect.
Couples can feel disconnected when lines of communication are neglected or begin to break down.
No wonder conversation is a powerful tool for connection. Conversation is constantly enquiring, which means it’s a powerful way to inject freshness into your relationship.
Developing the habit of initiating conversations about things you’ve not yet explored can open new doors, spark growth, and help you know yourself and each other at new levels.
It can help to widen and expand the conversation topics you explore. Finance is one to include (there’s a section of finance questions in the Relationship Deck). Sex is another.
‘Taboo’ topics take vulnerability and courage to explore. Sometimes, we push off the things we want to talk about because we’re afraid of possible rejection or of being judged or criticized. We may even fear opening a door that we can’t subsequently close.
The benefits can be worth the risk. Talking about uncomfortable topics can help you get on the same page or create a space to work through areas where there’s a conflict in values, understanding, or opinion.
The more you can talk about anything and everything, the less space there is between you.
2. Show your appreciation
It’s easy to take your partner and your relationship for granted. When you’re in a routine, or you’ve been together a long time, you can overlook the everyday stuff - especially when you’ve got so much going on.
Relationships can decline when neglected - in the same way a plant dwindles when it’s not watered.
Gratitude is a proven way to turn the tide - because what you appreciate appreciates and grows.
Appreciation ensures your partner knows that you see them.
It makes them feel special.
Appreciation also proves to your partner that you are not taking them for granted.
When it comes to intentional appreciation, there are all kinds of things you can show your appreciation for. You can appreciate the way your partner looks, the way they love you, or the things they do for you.
And while it’s nice to appreciate the big obvious gestures, it can be as meaningful to acknowledge the little things too.
If you want to develop a habit of appreciation in your relationship, check out the Partner Appreciation Notes.
3. Discover their love language and then use it.
Turns out we all give and receive love in different ways. The well-known marriage counselor, Gary Chapman, discovered there are 5 Love Languages.
- Words of affirmation.
- Acts of service.
- Quality time.
- Receiving gifts.
- Physical touch.
If you don’t give love in your partner’s love language, they may not feel loved - because they don’t receive the love you give.
For example, if your partner’s love language is words of affirmation, don’t be upset if they don’t respond in the way you expect when you present them with a bunch of flowers!
Take a moment to discover your Love Languages - then explore how to show love in a way your partner can understand. It’s a simple way to feel more connected.
4. Know their Core Values.
Your core values are the things you care about most - such as LOVE, FREEDOM, JOY, and CREATIVITY.
Your Core Values subconsciously drive your decisions. For example, if one of your values is SPONTANEITY, you’ll probably jump at the chance to take an impromptu road trip!
Relationship challenges can arise if your core values conflict with your partner’s (and vice versa).
Going back to that road trip example. If your partner values ORGANIZATION, they may freak out at the thought of scrambling to do things at the last minute to hit the road! Instead of the fun and excitement, you’re experiencing; they might feel stress and anxiety.
If you don’t know your values conflict, you could have a disagreement or an argument over the road trip.
In comparison, if you do know your core values, you can figure out how to make plans in a way that satisfies you both.
You don’t have to have the same core values to have a good relationship (although it can help!) But if you understand what each of your values are, you’re better placed to understand the root cause behind the way your partner decides, acts, and shows up.
The Core Values Deck is a fun way to discover your core values. Grab your deck here.
5. Make quality time together
The fairytales lied!
The love journey doesn’t end when you find a SO; instead, a new adventure begins.
It’s so easy to get complacent in relationships. In the honeymoon phase, you spend so much time together, but as familiarity sets in, other aspects of life return to take up space.
Before you know it, you’re feeling disconnected and maybe even a tad bored of the predictability!
Intentional, quality time is your best friend in a relationship. Make it a habit to make it happen.
• If you need to schedule regular date nights, do it.
• If you need to get up earlier to have a coffee together before you head out the door, do it.
• If you need to lock your phones away, so you’re not tempted to spend more time in digital conversations than real-life conversations DO IT!
Plan to do things together and protect the moments you spend together.
Just like anything else that continues to thrive long-term, relationships need the right investments too.
6. Prioritize physical intimacy
According to Marriage.com, “Sex and intimacy are the lifeblood of your relationship and must always be at the top of your relationship priorities”.
Sex brings many physical benefits to the relationship. For example, it can boost self-esteem and confidence. It’s good for stress relief and can promote better sleep too.
Despite this, it’s not uncommon for couples to experience challenges in the bedroom. You can lay the foundations for physical intimacy when you talk about sex. Talking is a great foundation for physical intimacy because it helps couples get on the same page. In this way, conversations can help create closeness, increase feelings of safety, and create space for experimentation.
It can be hard to get your needs and desires met if your partner doesn’t know what they are. Talking about sex opens the door to open, vulnerable conversations about what you really want. In turn, enhanced physical intimacy can follow.
Research shows that we can feel more uncomfortable talking about sex than doing it! (Crazy, right!?)
The Intimacy: After Dark deck was created to help all types of couples talk about sex. The After Dark deck contains 75 conversation prompts to help you pull back the covers on your sexual desires and needs so you can discuss with your partner (and learn what they want).
The deck also contains 75 action cards. Sex can start to feel stale over time. We can get into a predictable routine. The action cards are a fun way to infuse experimentation and playfulness into the bedroom (and beyond). When you try new things, you can expand your connection and feel closer.
How are you cultivating deeper connections in your relationship?