Let’s be honest, one of the hardest things we can do in life is be married. Now add the stress of being locked in a house together worried about the Covid-19 virus and other things like kids and finances. To be honest, our marriages are normally the first relationship that feels this kind of stress. We tend to take things out on our spouse, it’s not fair, but it does happen. However, we can be intentional in not allowing the stress we are feeling leak out on our partners. We can also utilize this time intentionally to build the relationship we truly want to have. Couples just need to challenge themselves to be vulnerable and be willing to change some of the habits that are not working for them.
Happy couples have learned the importance of connecting on three levels: physical, emotional, and spiritual. Here are some tips for connecting in these ways.
Tips for Connecting Physically…
1. Couples that play together, stay together! When was the last time you played a game together? Play cards, a board game, or even dust off that old Nintendo from your childhood and play some old games. Keep it light! Don’t talk about any pressing issues while playing together. The point is to play! No one wants to talk about last week’s fight while trying to have a good time.
2. Let’s get cute! Cuddle on the couch. Play footsie under the table. Hold hands when you are going to sleep. Sneak a kiss. Hug each other. When we are stressed, these cute little gestures tend to go away real quick. Have you ever wondered why you used to do these things and now after 20 years of marriage you no longer connect this way? It is because of stress that you stopped doing it to begin with, so use this time intentionally to get these little gestures back into your marriage. It’s very important to continue to flirt in your marriage.
3. Get spicy in the bedroom! Ok, Ok…. All my newlyweds are thinking, we already do! Well good for you guys, keep it up! For the rest of us, make an intentional sexy move on your partner. Sex can be very stress relieving and good for your health. There are also great podcasts and articles out there discussing ideas on spicing things up!
4. Work it out! Find a workout you can both do together. Take a walk or go for a run. Have a dance party. Whatever it is that you like to do, just get a move on and get physical!
Tips for Connecting Emotionally…
1. Share your fears. Share with your spouse anything that is making you feel uneasy in this season. Validate each other’s feelings. Be careful not to try to fix them or their feelings. Pay attention to your body language in these kinds of conversations. Are you open and inviting for your spouse to be able to tell you how they really feel?
2. Ask each other questions! Go to google and type in “connecting questions for couples” This is a fun way to grow deeper with your spouse and get to know them on a different level. Some questions are silly and some are meant to provoke intimate conversations. Challenge yourself to go deeper!
3. Be Safe! Ask your spouse if they feel safe with you. You might be surprised that some don’t always feel safe to share vulnerable feelings. Ask them for feedback on how you can be safer for them.
4. Write a Letter. Write a vulnerable letter to your spouse, telling them how much they mean to you. A little romance goes a long way. We often stop this cute stuff also because we assume our partners know how we feel about them. But you’ll be surprised how many spouses after years of marriage are not sure if their spouse really even notices them anymore.
Tips for Connecting Spiritually…
1. Pray Together! You don’t have to be an amazing prayer warrior to pray with your spouse. Whew… such a relief huh? Start with an intentional time that you and your spouse can come together to pray. If you eat dinner together every night, that may be a good starting point if you don’t currently pray together. If you already pray as a family over your meals, then find another time during the day to connect like this. Perhaps before bed, while you are brushing your teeth, or when you wake up in the morning.
2. Share what God is teaching you. Share with your spouse anything that God is teaching you in your alone time with Him. Perhaps something in a sermon that spoke to you or a song that you heard during the day. This gives your spouse an inside into seeing God’s work in your life, and also gives them some detailed things that they can be praying for you about.
3. Pray for your spouse! As anxiety goes up, share with your partner so they can pray with you. Look for opportunities to pray for your spouse and encourage them. You can also leave them scripture to encourage them as well.
4. Do a Devotional together. The YouVersion bible app is an incredible resource for bible studies and devotionals. What’s really neat about this app is you can search from hundreds of different topics and then invite a friend to join you in the study.
1. Get creative with date nights while you are home. Planning a date night might mean you pack a picnic and take it outside and eat with candles under the moonlight.
2. Limit time spent on your phones and other devices. There’s nothing lonelier than being in a house with a person who is so engulfed in their own device or game on their phone that they don’t even notice you.
3. Make sure you also give each other space if you need it. There’s nothing wrong with spending some alone time during this season, especially when there are kids in the house. Just make sure you communicate your needs so your spouse doesn’t feel abandoned or neglected.
Hope this helps! Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day…. Start with just one category, or even one tip and make the most of this time together.