Are You Spending Quality Time Together?
Are there things you can say to or do with your partner before bed that will bring you closer, other than the obvious? As you wind down your day, this is really a good time to reconnect with your spouse. Dinner’s over. Baths are done. The kids are finally asleep. Your daily chores are finished. Work is done, even if you’ve worked late.
So you’re both exhausted. Still, make it a habit to spend some quality time with your spouse at the end of every day. But what does that quality time look like for you?
Do you collapse into bed at the end of every day, and just the thought of adding one more “task” to your “to do” list exhausts you? I challenge you to give it a try for just one month. By the end of that month, you’ll be surprised by how much more in tune you are with your spouse, and you’ll find that this time with your spouse has unexpected value.
Try Out This List
So what can you and your spouse do before bed to bond as a couple?
1. Share a glass of special wine, some single malt scotch, or even a high-calorie dessert. Make the evening special; ignore the guilt. Splitting a special treat when the kids can’t demand their share will make you feel a bit naughty, and conspiring with your spouse after the kids are asleep is always fun.
2. Ignore your technology. Focus on each other. Your iPhone, your iPad, and your laptop will always be there, but your spouse may not be if you don’t give her some uninterrupted attention. Don’t just “hear” her; sometimes you need to actually “listen.” Actively listening is even better. [This was my husband’s suggestion.]
3. Discuss what happened at work, in your business, in the world, or with your kid at school. Not only is it important to your intimacy to be aware of what is going on in each other’s lives, these conversations will remind you both of those concerns, interests, and values that you share, as well as the differences that made you fall in love with one another. Discuss your successes and celebrate them. Discuss your failures and how to avoid repeating them. This is your helpmate here . . . so let him help!
4. This one’s easy and obvious. Play a game that you both enjoy. Card game, board game, video game, whatever game it is, playing together keeps your romance fresh. Better still, do what my husband did one day; he went to Target and bought a game I’d never heard of. Funniest game we ever played.
5. Take a bath together or relax in the Jacuzzi. Why do you think they make those new baths so big? If you have time, light some aromatic candles and play some soothing music. Maybe some tunes that are important to you both, reminiscent of a vacation or some other special time together. When you unwind in a hot tub, water pressure, buoyancy, and heat work together to reduce your stress levels and the tension in your muscles. The shared intimacy of relaxing together is a powerful bonding technique about which most masseuses can tell you much more than can I. (Have you not heard of couples’ massage?)
6. Here’s one you won’t think of yourself. Go to bed at the same time. Building a sense of connection requires being in the same place at the same time.
7. Hug your spouse. Physical intimacy reduces stress. Even if “physical touch” is not your love language, being physically intimate in a relationship helps lower blood pressure and reduce stress responses in the brain. And it isn’t just sex. Studies show that other forms of physical intimacy, such as handholding or hugging, can trigger the beneficial release of oxytocin.
8. I, personally, am not much for physical touch, but when my husband hugs me, he also scratches my back, and it takes me a minute of indulging in the pure ecstasy of that to realize that it might be nice if I scratched his back, as well. After all my hands are right there! So, scratch your partner’s back. It is a relaxing form of physical intimacy that doesn’t require much effort, for nights when you’re especially exhausted. (I credit Mike Myers in the movie So I Married an Axe Murderer for this one.)
9. Trade massages. There are many benefits to massage. It promotes relaxation and improves sleep. Couples who engage in frequent physical intimacy are happier and less likely to divorce.
10. Tell your spouse that you love her. You can never say it enough. Concluding each night in this positive way sends both of you off to sleep with a positive emotion to your relationship.
Healthy, resilient relationships are built from constructive, shared experiences. End your days with your spouse in the ways we’ve explored here, and you will not only start the next day on a positive note, you will also create a closer, stronger relationship.
Too many new habits to try at once? Choose the three that appeal to you most. Let me know what they are at Joryn@OpenPalmLaw.com, and let me know how they work for you, too. Your success is mine, as well!
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About this week’s author, Joryn Jenkins.
Joryn, attorney and Open Palm Founder, began her own firm here in Tampa after a 14-year career in law, two of which she served as a professor of law at Stetson University. She is a recipient of the prestigious A. Sherman Christensen Award, an honor bestowed in the United States Supreme Court upon those who have provided exceptional leadership in the American Inns of Court Movement. For more information on Joryn’s professional experience, take a look at her resume.