“The things I do for the family are barely noticeable, but they call me quickly for every mistake. Nothing I do seems good enough.”
“Spending time together seems to be at the bottom of the list of priorities. I know our lives are full, but sometimes I feel so alone.”
I heard these comments from Sarina and Sean (not their real names). Like many, they invested a lot of time and energy in their work and their children, their massive to-do lists, and their goals. In the process, they seemed to lose sight of each other. Their relationship was in the background. At the same time, their commitment to doing things right led them to do a quality check at home. They criticized each other at every step. Before long, Sarina and Sean found an emotional abyss between them. Neither one felt important in the other’s life, nor did he feel valued. They began to wonder if they still loved each other.
Reconnection for busy couples
What helped them reconnect required reoriented attention and exchange, but a minimum of time. I gave Sarina and Sean research-based tools to strengthen their bond and rediscover what they loved for each other.
- They actively sought ways to let the other person know that they are important and valued.
- They both started looking for what the other was doing well and then shared their gratitude for their efforts.
- Sean started consulting with Sarina in the middle of the day to see how he was.
- Sarina began to turn off the sound of her phone at dinner so she could concentrate on her conversation without distractions.
- They began to focus on what they love for each other and to share these thoughts regularly.
- When Sarina realized that Sean was teaching children to play a new game, she let him know that she thought he was a fun, loving father.
- Sean shared how much he admired Sarina’s compassion after hearing her comfort a friend.
- When Sarina listened to Sean’s conflicting thoughts and emotions over her head, Sean shared his gratitude. Then Sarina thanked him for being so open and honest with her about her feelings.
- They added a few new connection rituals. These are things you do on a regular basis and show deep affection.
- They usually kissed good night, but also decided to have a few hugs before bed.
- After learning about the health benefits of the six-second kiss (a German study showed that men live an average of ten more years if they do it every morning), they chose to give themselves a long kiss before starting the his working day.
- Weekly planning of couple hours or nights became a priority. They looked for “home dating nights” and had lots of wonderful ideas for things to do after the kids had fallen asleep.
- They made sure they spent at least twenty minutes each day talking.
- This was especially difficult because of his children. If they waited until the end of the night, they were too exhausted to pay attention to each other. After some trial and error, they discovered that if they left the dishes soaking after dinner and instead of cleaning, they spent that time sitting and talking while the children played, they had the energy to really listen to each other and offer support to each other. This became another connection ritual.
- They started talking about their sex life and sharing what they liked.
- This was a little awkward at first, but overcoming it and taking the time to talk about sex made them both feel wanted. These discussions, and her recognition that sex sometimes had to be planned to fit into busy schedules, elevated the pleasure of her intimacy to a new level. His whole world seemed right.
A new culture of appreciation
It took Sarina and Sean a few months to slowly incorporate these activities into their daily lives, but they both reported that it was a time well spent. They felt better about each other and changed the atmosphere of their home. Even her children were happier. The whole family embraced this new culture of appreciation.
Attend the Art and Science of Love virtual workshop December 4-5 and learn to share affection, admiration, and more. Register today!
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