Day in and day out you may be feeling stretched to the limit. Between work, home, family, friends, etc. life can move at a fast and hectic pace. How can you continue to balance the expectations of life while continuing to maintain a connection with your spouse? A relationship is an investment, and the same as you would invest funds in your 401k for future success it's important to make the same investment into your connection with your spouse.
Here are three tips to help with maintaining that spark in your relationship:
1. Listen: We live in a technology fueled world and it can become easy to get caught up in the next thing on your to-do list or the next task that you need to accomplish. When your spouse is turning towards you and making a bid for your attention disengage yourself from anything that can serve as a distraction from that attempt at connection. Make eye contact and let them know that you hear them, and want to connect.
2. Reflect: Everyone likes feeling understood, but everyone also brings their own worldviews and past experiences into interactions with others. If you would like clarity about something your partner has expressed take the opportunity to reflect back your perception of what they said. This can allow for further understanding of one another and contribute to authentic connection.
3: Validate: You do not have to agree with your spouse about everything. In fact, conflict is a normal aspect of human interaction. You can, however, validate your spouses expressed feelings letting them know that you heard and respect their point of view. Validation does not mean that you have to agree with their perspective, but it does show your partner that you appreciate and will be mindful of their feelings. Feeling understood and cared for contributes to a safe and warm connection with your spouse.
If you feel that your relationship continues to be at a point of disconnect or would like to explore further skills and techniques, it may be appropriate to reach out to a trained therapist who can meet with you and your partner to assist with re-establishing your connection. Reclaim Counseling and Wellness has experienced couples therapists that use evidence-based strategies to help couples work on skills to increase the functioning of their relationship.
By: Sarah Hess, LMFT
Licensed Marriage Family Therapist