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At the beginning of new relationships, we invest lots of time and effort into getting to know our partners. Over time, however, the distractions and pressures of daily life gradually begin to deteriorate our romantic bonds. If both partners are engaged in full-time work outside of the household, it can be particularly difficult to find time to reconnect on a daily basis. Studies show that many busy couples end up spending less than 10% of their time alone together!Falling in love is easy; maintaining a loving, romantic relationship for years is much more difficult! Creating a love that lasts requires the active and intentional creation of moments of bonding and intimacy.
Whether you’ve just begun dating or have already been in a committed relationship for some time, now is the time to begin integrating romantic rituals into your daily routine. Here are a few good ideas for getting started!
Be Mindful of Sources of Distraction
Before integrating daily rituals into your relationship, it is important to first address the ways in which you fail to connect with your partner on a daily basis. Most of us, for instance, are constantly distracted by our digital devices. Do you half-listen to your partner while scrolling through your phone? Do you two have discussions while the TV is playing in the background? When your partner comes through the door, do you put down what you’re doing to greet them? If you’re guilty of these behaviors, you’re not alone!
Though integrating mindful bonding rituals into your daily life is one of the best ways to enhance your connection with your partner, it is also important to identify the small ways in which you are generally disconnected from your partner. Most of us are “time poor.” We spend a lot of time working, engaged in household chores, commuting to work, and running errands. Unfortunately, “unwinding” from our busy lives often involves plugging into our devices and disconnecting from those around us. Instead of immediately switching on your phone and streaming your favorite TV show, spend a few minutes reconnecting with you and your partner’s inner worlds. Doing so is guaranteed to strengthen your relationship.
The way you greet your partner when you are departing or reuniting can have a powerful impact on your relationship dynamic. The tone of your entire day or evening is set by the way in which you engage with one another when parting or reuniting. Unfortunately, many of us fail to mindfully engage with our partners at these times, particularly as the years go by.
Research has shown that a thoughtful, prolonged greeting has the potential to boost your emotional connection to your partner as well as your partner’s self-esteem. A prolonged kiss that lasts for six seconds or longer is a powerful way to show your partner that you love them. A lengthy hug can also work wonders for your bond; consider hugging for half a minute or longer. Taking a few deep breaths to calm your nervous system while hugging will help you and your partner both relax and unwind after a busy day. Ask a few questions about your partner’s day ahead and wish them well, or sit down with them after they’ve arrived home to discuss their day and how they’re feeling. Simply acknowledging your partner before or after a busy day can greatly enhance the ways in which you engage with one another.
Most of us are guilty of engaging in “distracted dining” more often than we’d care to admit. Whether we’re scrolling through our phones while eating breakfast or watching television while preparing dinner, most of us are distracted before and during our mealtimes.
Instead, commit to more thoughtful meal preparation and dining with your partner. Discuss your meal planning with one another. Who plans on buying the food? Who will prepare the meal and who will set the table? Consider finding a schedule that works for both of you. Perhaps you make your partner’s favorite meal once a week, they do the same for you, and you eat out together each weekend.
Think about reconnecting while preparing your meals, too. Enjoy a glass of wine, put some soothing music on, and discuss whatever is on your mind. Think about eating in a less distracting environment, too. Perhaps save your favorite TV show after dinner. Turn off the television and put your phones away. Be more mindful of the subjects you discuss at the table, too. Perhaps talk about things that you’re grateful for or experiences you’re looking forward to, like upcoming vacations. It can sometimes be helpful to clarify what topics are not suitable for the dinner table, too. Subjects that often lead to conflict, for instance, might be considered off-limits. Have a mindful ending to your meals, too. Consider cleaning up the dishes together and enjoying a cup of tea or coffee at the end of your meal.
If you and your partner are on different schedules or don’t eat most of your meals together, find little ways to make your shared dining experiences more ritualized. Enjoy tech-free “date nights” or at-home Sunday brunches together. These more mindful mealtimes will lead to a greater sense of connection between you and your partner.
Sometimes, the best way to reconnect is by getting out of your mind and back into your body. Does your partner go out for runs alone? Do you usually head to the gym by yourself? Instead of only exercising alone, find ways to get fit together, too. Consider starting or ending your day by going for a fifteen-minute walk with your partner. Consider joining a sports team together, just for fun. Look up YouTube fitness videos and exercise together, side by side. Practice at-home yoga and meditation and enjoy a few quiet minutes together. You don’t always need to talk to your partner to reconnect with them. Simply being fully present with one another can be enough to strengthen your bond.
Mindful Mornings & Engaged Evenings
With our phones and devices keeping us awake far into the night, many of us fail to go to bed at the same time as our partners. Sometimes, partners may simply have mismatched sleeping schedules. Even if you’re an early bird and your partner is a night owl, it is important to have rituals that allow you to reconnect upon waking and heading to bed. Not doing so may lead to a sense of disconnection and a lackluster sex life.
Make your mornings cozier by cuddling in bed. Even if you plan on getting up before your partner, spend some time together before getting up. Tell your partner something you appreciate about them. If you really need to sleep in, consider getting up with your partner, sharing a coffee, and then resting for a little while longer. Give your partner a compliment upon waking, and go through your morning routine together. Prepare breakfast together and enjoy a few phone-free minutes just chatting and admiring the sunrise.
In the evening, wind down together. Remind your partner of why you love them while gazing into their eyes. Spend a few minutes before bed simply admiring each other. If you’re not ready to fall asleep yet, consider having a cup of chamomile tea while chatting for a few minutes. Consider reading a book together, alternating who reads aloud each night. By winding down together in a meaningful way, you’ll be much more likely to fall asleep with a smile on your face.
A relationship is like a home; even a well-built structure will deteriorate over time if maintenance is ignored. For this reason, it is crucially important to cultivate daily rituals to help you reconnect with your partner.
Remember that every small act of love is significant and meaningful. The next time your partner comes home, greet them with a long hug, a passionate kiss, and a few minutes of your undivided attention. Simple gestures like these will create a relationship that lasts a lifetime.
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