How to Connect With Your Spouse

A happy and successful marriage requires a lot of time and effort. In this day and age, who has that kind of time? In a crunch to show your genuine love, here's 12 quickie suggestions for how to connect with your spouse.

1. Daily Touch: Don't let the sun set on the day before you at least touch your spouse. Whether it be a kiss, a high-five, holding hands, a hug, or a back scratch — humans need physical contact, it's one of our most basic needs! No matter the type of touch, make it last for 30 seconds. Any kiss over five seconds has wonderful possibilities. 

2. Be Curious: Ditch the obligatory "How was your day?" and replace it with unique, thought provoking, open-ended questions. Demonstrating genuine interest in your partner and opening dialogue shows that you C.A.R.E. and enhances one of the joys of marriage — the sharing of lives.

3. Side With Your Partner: Nothing is worse than complaining about a stressful moment than to have your one true love see "eye-to-eye" with the enemy! Increase trust, partnership and the likelihood that your mate will confide in you in the future by taking his or her side during a vent-fest. Even if you agree with the "enemy" (such as your spouse always being late), save your honest feedback for another time.

4. Express Gratitude: At times, it's all too easy to make a laundry list of ways your spouse annoyed you. Chances are, your mate has contributed in at least one way that made your day a little easier or more enjoyable. Let them know how you appreciated him or her today.

5. Sleep Naked: It takes more time to put on your flannels than it does to slip into your birthday suit. In a recent survey, couples who slept naked reported more satisfaction with their sex life. It appears that removing the outer barrier (pajamas) is a quick secret to staying active under the covers.

6. Relive a Memory: When two people feel disconnected, it's important to remember what brought them together in the first place. Every now and again, share a memory from the courtship or an especially loving time. Relive a funny story, a touching moment, or look through some old photos. 

7. Create New Memories: Boredom and predictable routine can suck the life out of any relationship. Lack of intensity can sometimes be confused as lack of intimacy. It's important to try new adventures and create new rituals of affection. Not all new memories need to be elaborate. For instance, just before going to bed, step outside to gaze upon the stars together or discuss your ideas for a future date night. 

8. Listen to him or her: You may know your spouse better than anyone, but making assumptions regarding what the other person intends to communicate is a potentially damaging mistake. Instead of assuming what your spouse means, try asking more questions or simply reflecting back what you heard. For example: "I think you are saying..., Did you mean...?, etc."

9. Share a laugh: When things get tense, remember the humor in it all. Humor can reduce tension and lighten the mood. Think about what makes you and your spouse laugh and share it. Likewise, don't forget to laugh at his or her jokes, it's polite! According to research by Dr. John Gottman, sharing humor with your partner is one of the most effective ways to strengthen your relationship.

10. Expressions of loving-kindness: People in successful relationships treat others with love and kindness, expressed through kind thoughts, loving words, and kind actions. Think of the smile on your spouse's face when you post a loving sticky-note onto the car's dashboard or write a message via the steam on the bathroom mirror. L-O-V-E.

11. Flirt: If you want to emotionally and physically connect with your spouse, it's more likely to happen with some effort and dialogue. In other words, wear something special that you would on your honeymoon or behave like you're going on the first date. Couples who make an effort to mate, copulate! Also, couples who talk about sex have better sex and more of it! Don't know what to talk about? Try downloading relationship apps (here) to your phone or computer that are intended to deepen your understanding of your partner and create more intimacy.

12. Turn off the electronics: We live in a world of electronic overload: DVR, laptops, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, plus a plethora of i-Gadgets. Switch your whatchamacallit to the off position then do #11.

Can you commit to practicing at least one act of affection each and every day? Try it and watch how your relationship grows! If you and your partner have a special connection technique, please share it in the comments below.

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Copyright © Jamie Long, Psy.D. | Finding Cloud9 

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