Hold my hand
Hold my hand

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So, you read our last post (7 signs you need to reconnect with your spouse) and decided that yes, you could stand to inject some life into your marriage. Where to begin? Here are 7 simple ways to reconnect with your spouse to get you started.

1. Go on dates

Too often in our relationships we confuse spending time together with being a date. But going grocery shopping or routinely eating a meal at home together is not a date. Think back to why you went on a date when you were first together, it was to show the other person how special they were and to devote time and energy to get to know them. The need for spending special time together doesn’t go away with the years, in fact it is often more necessary as life’s obligations increase. Keep it simple… there is a place for extravagance but not every date needs to be that way. There are dozens of inexpensive (or free!) things to do together that will be both fun and meaningful. Try not to overthink it and don’t try to create the perfect date, in this case excellence will come from regularly going on dates [tweet this]. Devoting time to your partner will show them that they are still a priority and will rekindle the flame of your relationship.

2. Speak their language

There is an interesting and useful concept that was developed by Gary Chapman called the 5 love languages. Do you feel loved when someone gives you a gift? If so, you might think others feel as loved when you give them a gift. According to Chapman and in our personal experience it’s not true. Each of us has our own predominating way to express and receive love (http://www.5lovelanguages.com).

Some feel the most loved when they receive compliments and encouragements (words of affirmation). Maybe your wife lights up when she notices you’ve done the dishes (acts of service) or your husband melts when you give him a massage (physical touch). Others respond best to receiving a token of appreciation (receiving gifts) or simply by being together (quality time).

We all tend to give love using our strongest language. But this does not mean it’s our spouse’s strongest. Discover how your spouse feels love the most and start to communicate love to them in that manner, you’ll be surprise by the response.

3. Treat them like a friend

Ever notice how we sometimes treat the people who live outside our homes with more courtesy and respect than those who live with us? Treating your spouse as a friend will help you be kind to them and not take their love for granted. We usually have greater expectations for our spouse than our friends and we should – they are part of why you are with your spouse. But unrealistic or untold expectations are dangerous. I’m a man and like most men I don’t read minds. If Cheryl expects me to do something she never told me before, I’ll probably never clue in. She’s also sometime afraid to nag me but in my books if you tell me once or gently remind me, it’s not nagging. By communicating our expectations, discussing them following them through we can improve the respect and friendship in our relationship.

4. Give them the benefit of the doubt

When I haven’t brought up the laundry basket upstairs after Cheryl asked asked me to do so, she might feel that I’m doing it to spite her. She shouldn’t. I usually just forget.

Assuming the best intentions in your spouse will help you keep a better connection to your spouse. It is one of the hardest things to do on a regular basis but it will have such an impact in our perceptions and attitudes towards our spouse and how satisfied we are in our relationships. Unless you cannot trust each other, it is unlikely that one of you would go out of their way to do things just to bother the other. Then why do we so often assume the worst? Some habits might drive you crazy such as crumbs being left on the counter or socks not making it into the hamper, if so you probably have to, at least temporally, adjust your attitude towards it. Now we’re not condoning abandoning responsibilities and living a dorm lifestyle again, but sometimes what seems to be a major issue for one person is really just a difference of perception or style, plus habits are hard to break. Talk honestly with your spouse about what is bothering you, but always assume they had pure and honest intentions towards you. This will reinforce trust in your relationship.

5. Say please and thank you

As said earlier, not taking your spouse for granted is important. A practical way to achieve this is by showing proper manners to each other. As silly as it sounds, a simple please and thank-you can go a long way in how you perceive your spouse and how valued they’ll feel.

Other courtesies like not interrupting, asking about their day, and going out of your way to make things easier for them will go a long way into strengthening your relationship and will also encourage a more positive and enjoyable environment.

6. Go to bed together!

Whenever possible, go to bed at the same time. This will bring a sense of unity into your relationship. Bedtime can be a good opportunity to start a light conversation, compliment each other and spend time together.

7. Don’t wait to take the first step

When you notice that you need to reconnect with your spouse, don’t wait for them to make the first move. ACT! This is demonstrated in former Governor of Rhode Island and US Senator William Sprague’s saying: “Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.”

Seize the opportunities before you to change the state of your relationship today.

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