Every couple needs time to connect. It’s essential for happiness and satisfaction in a marriage. But this year, with all its many diversions, has made it easy to push this to the side. We’re frustrated. We’re stressed. We’re frustrated and stressed about being frustrated and stressed. It’s easy to ignore the simple things a relationship requires but the upkeep — staying interested, staying creative, finding new and exciting ways to learn about one another — is more important than ever to continue moving through. So, if you’re feeling as though some things have slipped and are looking for ways to reconnect with your spouse, we spoke to a variety of experts for some simple ways to do just that. Each of these exercises, recommended by relationship therapists, have been proven to help couples get back on the same page. Incorporate a few into your lives — some require as little as five or 10 minutes — to get back to that good place again.
1. Ask Insightful Questions
Despite the scary novelty of everything this year, the COVID pandemic has made many lives boring. It’s easy to go about our routines and forget to learn about our partners, assuming we already know what there is to know about them. Nicholas Hardy, a Texas-based psychotherapist who specializes in individual and couples counseling, notes that this is common even during normal times: We assume we know what our spouse is feeling and thinking which, of course, likely isn’t true. He suggests using this time as an opportunity to grow closer through questions you might not normally ask. Think: What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?’ ‘If you could reverse one mistake in life, what would it be?’ ‘What was the most difficult thing you’ve ever had to share with me? These are Hardy’s examples and, yes, they might feel a bit weird. But they’re examples of the types of probing questions that can help a couple explore their relationship in less familiar ways. In turn, he says, “they will help you learn more about each other as individuals, and as a couple.”.
2. Learn Something New Together
Exploring uncharted territory together, per Hardy, is an easy way to bring about more teamwork in a relationship. “When you start something new together, it takes a lot of pressure off,” he says. “During these high-stress times, it’s easy to end up working ‘against’ each other through bickering and fighting. In order to reconnect, a fun, innocent, random hobby can be perfect” There’s no shortage of options, either. You could improve your iPhone photography skills, master the Moonwalk, practice pitting an avocado, or play 10 easy songs on a guitar using just four chords. All for free, and all perfect for partners. Keep this in mind during your next downtime.