Couples who have daily rituals of connection and physical contact have a stronger bond. Make your relationship a priority now and you will reap the benefits of a long-lasting union that will increase your mental, physical, and psychological well-being. That doesn’t mean you have to ignore your children or work. However, daily rituals of connection can give your relationship a boost and it will pay off big time!
Here are five rituals to help your relationship flourish:
- Turn off your screens
Most of us spend too much time on our phones or watching TV. It may not be possible to do this for every meal, but whenever possible, turn off the TV and put away your cell phone. Your emails and Facebook feed can wait. This is especially important during meal time since it is a golden opportunity to share and catch up about the events of your day or week.
- Enjoy a stress-reducing conversation
Spend 30 minutes each day having a “how was your day, dear?” talk. Kyle Benson explains that the purpose of this conversation is to discuss external stress. It’s not a time to bring up issues about your relationship. Couples who actively listen, take turns sharing how they feel, and show compassion to each other will reap the rewards of more emotional connection in their marriage.
- Take a vacation or long weekend together
Take an annual vacation without the kids to somewhere you both agree upon. Drs. John and Julie Gottman have an annual honeymoon in the San Juan Islands off the coast of British Columbia. If your budget doesn’t allow you to take a vacation, you might try camping or look for moderately priced accommodations nearby for a long weekend.
- Exercise together weekly
Go to the gym together every Saturday morning or take a daily post-dinner walk with your partner. Add a little novelty and excitement by trying kayaking in the summer or sledding or skiing in the winter months. Studies show that sharing a novel experience can bring couples closer together.
- Share a six-second kiss
A daily six-second kiss will increase your emotional and physical intimacy. According to author Dr. Kory Floyd, physical contact releases oxytocin (the bonding hormone), can improve our mood (for days) and can help you stay calm. Holding hands, hugging, touching, and making out can reduce your stress hormones (cortisol) and increase your sense of relationship satisfaction. If kissing for six seconds feels like too much, share a hug like Erica and Rob.
- Have cuddle time daily. This can be spontaneous or planned (such as after work or before bed). As long as it is practiced daily. Physical intimacy is a glue that can hold a couple together through difficult periods. Try to give each other at least one long (5 minute) cuddle each day to increase physical contact and affection.
If you want to have a healthier and happier marriage or relationship, try the tips in this article for at least 30 days and you will notice a change in your level of intimacy. Don’t give up too soon because it takes a while for new routines to kick in. After all, we are all creatures of habit and may need a reminder, such as a posit note saying “hug my wife today.”
Follow Terry Gaspard on Twitter, Facebook, and movingpastdivorce.com. Her book Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Your Parents’ Breakup and Enjoy a Happy, Long-Lasting Relationship is available on her website. Feel free to ask a question here.
Terry’s forthcoming book, The Remarriage Manual: How to Make Everything Work Better the Second Time Around, will be published by Sounds True in February of 2020.