How’s your marriage doing? Do you feel closer to your spouse now than you did last month? How about compared to when you said your vows? Nobody’s relationship is perfect, and it never will be, but we want to be striving towards a closeness that improves over time, pushing us to have a stronger relationship a year from now than we have today. Here are 7 signs you need to reconnect with your spouse (and don’t despair, here are 7 simple ways to reconnect with your spouse).
1. You find yourself wanting to share good news with a friend (or a pet!) before your spouse
I love when my wife tells me a story or a news for the first time. There seems to be a different dynamic and passion when it’s the first time she tells it. In our experience, we found that once we start sharing most of our stories with someone else first it is a sign that we need to reconnect.
2. You never use “we” and “our”
This may sound silly but it is a reflection of our mindset towards our spouse. Try this right now: say out loud “I’m so proud of my kids” and “I’m so proud of our kids”, which one elevates the relationship behind the kids? When discussing things common to both partners it makes a huge difference to use “we” over “I”. This can bring a team spirit to the couple and will encourage participation and valorization.
3. You don’t have a babysitter
This title, of course, only applies if you have young children but it is something we believe very strongly in! If you don’t, replace the title by “You never go on dates”.
The moment we moved into our new home and realized our neighbour two-doors-down was a 13-year old girl we asked her immediately if she could begin babysitting our kids, and she is still doing it 3 years later! You don’t need to go out every week (though if this is a possibility by all means, go for it!) but we recommend at least once a month consistently, working up to twice a month if you are able.
Even if finances are an issue you could swap services with another couple, or cut out your daily coffee-run to pay for the babysitter. It is an investment in your relationship, so how much is your relationship worth to you?
4. You only talk about the kids…or the house…or the kids…or the bills…
Relationships thrive when there is diversity and creativity. Once you find you are only discussing mundane daily tasks it can be a sign that you are in a rut relationally. If you find there is never enough time to discuss the weekly schedule or home repairs, plan a time to do it when you can talk exclusively about those issues.
Also, try not to get into any intense, or conflict-inducing, discussions right before bed. All major issues are best discussed when the sun is still up!
5. You keep secrets from your spouse
This one doesn’t have to be as scary as it sounds. Not every thought and aspect of your life needs to be shared, but if you find you’re hiding things from your spouse ask yourself why you feel you can’t share with them. Is the behaviour something you’re ashamed of and need to change? Are you afraid they will see you differently? Opening up about our imperfections and struggles is what helps us stay vulnerable and is an opportunity for our spouse to show us compassion and love. Not every detail needs to be shared but make effort not to conceal anything either.
6. You never argue
Healthy couples fight. It’s completely natural that you will not always see eye to eye with someone who is possibly your opposite personality! If you find you never have disagreements you are likely not sharing your true feelings or desires. And it doesn’t mean it needs to get ugly. It’s important to learn how to argue, never calling names or being disrespectful. When you are able to resolve conflict in a healthy way, you will grow closer to one another.
7. You have sex less often than you cut your hair
Yes, we’re going there. A healthy sex life is both a reflection of the current state of your relationship and it can also improve the state of your relationship. Are you satisfied with the frequency and quality of sex you are currently having? There are certainly seasons of life where your physical relationship may suffer (having a new baby or dealing with an illness for example) but a season is temporary and should change once the circumstance passes. Communication is vital to a happy, flourishing sex life. So turn off the tv and ask your spouse how you can improve your physical connectedness, or better yet, just show them!
If any of these warning signs raised a flag for you, don’t despair! The first step to making changes is to realize there is a problem. Go back through the list and pick which one applies the most to you and your spouse and decide to address it this week. Small, continual progress today will result in a healthier, happier relationship tomorrow.