Do you find yourself going to bed without hearing about your partner’s day? Is your significant other running out the door to work before you can say good morning to each other? If the distance between you and the person you want to spend your life with has become too great:
1. Make decisions together
In a society that encourages individuality, it can be hard to think in terms of “we” in a serious relationship. A romantic commitment means more than just giving of yourself; show your significant other you depend on him/her too. Dream with your partner. Ask your spouse how a vacation to visit an old friend would make him/her feel. If you want to go back to school, start a conversation about it before doing all the research. When your spouse tells you what he/she dreams about, really listen. Opening up the decision-making process reinforces that you are life partners, not just roommates.
2. Check in with each other
If your partner tries to describe his/her day while you’re in between phone calls or sending an email, not only is it difficult for you to actually listen, chances are he/she feels like a last-minute addition to your busy schedule. Setting aside even ten minutes a day to sit across from each other without distractions can be a powerful way to reconnect.
3. Be there for each other
Interactions with colleagues or siblings are often shaped by personal opinions and desires – you might react critically when a coworker goes on vacation during a busy time at work. When it comes to events in your partner’s life, set aside your own motivations. If your spouse gets promoted, recognize the talent and hard work that went into the promotion before asking how her/his schedule or salary might be affected. Respect is an essential ingredient in a successful romantic relationship for men and for women.
4. Show and tell
When you feel angry, it can be difficult not to speak your mind. When it comes to love, it can be all too easy to assume your partner already knows how you feel. Don’t let your positive feelings about the life you have together go unsaid. Let each other know how you most feel appreciated, and take what you learn to heart. If your partner doesn’t like big surprises and is stressed about your financial circumstances, a letter might help her/him feel more loved than buying an expensive gift. When two people in a relationship become separately busy, their physical connection usually suffers. Bring physical touch back into your relationship.
5. Find a balance that works for both of you
It’s clear from browsing any bookstore’s self-help section that finding a balance between work and life is a common theme in today’s constantly on-the-go world. Many of us have put a lot of time, money and energy into getting a degree and landing a job. A successful career often validates all that work. If your relationship is suffering as a result of your professional commitments, spend some time thinking about your priorities. When you leave the office, make sure you leave it mentally as well. Don’t go home and jump on Facebook or begin your evening texting on your cell phone. When unavoidable demands are made on your time, remind your significant other how much you still care and value him/her.
If you know you have an overwhelming week ahead of you, plan a date night with your partner for the weekend or send a thoughtful email or text during your workday. Structure your commitments around an activity you can do as a couple. Take your significant other to a movie or simply cook dinner together. By planning ahead, you might find that you have more time to spare than you realize.
When you make New Year’s resolutions for the coming year, make “reconnecting to my partner,” your first!