~“We had a happy marriage because we were together all the time.”~
This is a quote from Julia Child, discussing her 48-year marriage to Paul Child. This sentiment reigns true for me and my husband as well. We spend most of our time together.
For instance, at the drive-thru window the pharmacy. I needed to drop off a prescription, but I had also spent much of my day at my office. Knowing full well that this mission had the potential to take longer than I would like, I decided to ask the hubby to go with me to drop it off.
SN: My hubby often refers to me as Miss Daisy, claiming he spends half his life driving me around.
Any who, spending time together is a huge part of our relationship. We run a few businesses together and we collaborate on our individual projects as well. Even before we were married, we talked on the phone all the time. We didn’t live in the same state until the day after our wedding, so we “courted” long distance all the way up to our wedding day. But even though we weren’t physically in the same location, we talked on the phone constantly. Literally. Like we would easily clock 14 hours straight on the phone on the weekends.
Many couples I see for counseling are missing this integral piece of the relationship puzzle. They’ve forgotten how to spend time together. Some even find it downright uncomfortable to be around each other, as though they are living with a stranger. Simply put, they have forgotten how to be friends.
If you’re having relationship issues and you find yourself not hanging out with your spouse anymore, here are 5 tips to get you back on track:
Just be together—Even if you find yourself in the same situation as one of the couples I was seeing for counseling and you flat out feel uncomfortable because you no longer know what to say to your partner, spend time together. There’s nothing wrong with doing separate things together. For instance, there are times that I may be reading or working on something and the hubby is working on something separate or watching a show with his headphones on. We’re still in the same space, but there is little interaction. And that’s ok. Everyday isn’t going to be filled with deep, passionate conversations; and it doesn’t need to be.
Talk to each other—Now that you’ve practiced just being together, its time to start talking. But here’s the catch. When I say talk, I don’t mean asking one another yes or no questions. The goal is to have a conversation. And that takes more than two-word answers. Set aside time a few times a week to chat with your spouse. I do this with my friends as well, especially when its hard to slow down and catch up. Still don’t know what to talk about? Try out some of my couple’s conversation starters here. None of that “what’s your favorite color” nonsense either! These questions are designed to help you conversate with your partner and fall in love all over again.
Work on a project together—I know, I know. Some of you out there are groaning about how this will lead to a fight. I totally understand that not all couples work well together on projects but hear me out. This goes back to point #1. Just be together. Do you have individual talents that you can work on separately (in each other’s presence, of course) and put it together at the end. This way you are both playing to your strengths and still creating something together. For example, when the hubby and I decided to do a DIY patio in the backyard, I did the research and came up with the design, while he hauled the materials and did the heavy lifting. In the end, we worked together to get it laid.
Try something new together—Salsa lessons, anyone? If there is an activity that you are both a novice at, why not learn it together and support each other along the way? Shared experiences build bonds. If your bond with your partner is wavering, learning something together is a great place to start getting back on track.
Go on a date—I know I’ve said this before here and here. And now I’m saying it again! That’s because I can’t stress to couples enough the importance of dating. It’s a time to dedicate all your attention and focus on strengthening your relationship, whether you’re struggling or perfectly happy. Great relationships take some effort and date night is a fun way to put in that work!
Of course, if you are having serious concerns as a couple, you may need to take a more intensive approach. If that is the case, it may be time to seek professional help. If this sounds like you and you’re interested in us working together to strengthen your relationship, don’t hesitate to contact me.