13 simple ways to deepen your connection with your partner
With work, school, kids, parents, mortgages, in-laws, family, friends, and all the other things we have to juggle in our daily lives, our romantic relationships can sometimes get lost in the shuffle. Before we know it, we can feel more like roommates, business partners, or even strangers than lovers.
Whether your relationship already feels emotionally connected or you’re struggling to feel that intimacy that you crave, introducing a few of these easy tips can deepen your relationship. All humans benefit from feeling loved and cared for, and while these small acts only take a few minutes, they can reinforce a sense of safety and security in your relationship.
1. Never leave the house without kissing your partner goodbye and wishing them a good day. This allows you each to leave the house feeling more like a team to take on the day.
2. Kiss your partner hello every time you reunite. Kissing and embracing your partner helps to regulate both of your nervous systems, especially after a few hours apart, which is distressing for humans.
3. Honestly answer when you ask each other how you’re feeling. If you feel grumpy, own up to it and listen when your partner describes their feelings and day. Listening and validating your partner’s day by matching their emotion can do wonders for connection. Try reflecting what they’re feeling: “What an awesome day! That sounds amazing!” or “Oh shoot, that sounds like a terrible day. That sucks.” If you want to, you can also ask them if they’d like advice, help, or if you can do anything to make it better.
4. Try to begin and end your day together by syncing your sleep schedules. If you’re unable to do this, create a nighttime ritual (such as tucking the early sleeper in or leaving a sweet note on their pillow) and a morning ritual (such as a loving kiss goodbye as the early bird heads to work or setting up the coffee machine before you leave).
5. If possible, set your alarms a few minutes early and spend 3-5 minutes cuddling in bed without worrying about being late. Physical touch in the morning soothes us and gets us ready for a pleasant day.
6. Leave each other notes in unexpected places, such as on their coffee creamer, bike handlebars, windshield, briefcase, or sock drawer. Finding unexpected notes of appreciation and love is a sure-fire way to feel terrific.
7. Set synchronized alarms at some point during the day or create a shared recurring calendar event a couple of times a week, purely as a designated time to think of one another and remind yourselves how lucky you are to have each other, no matter what you’re doing or how far apart you are.
8. Send sweet texts or emojis throughout the day. This takes just seconds and can remind your partner that you’re thinking of them and love them.
9. Give your partner a 1-minute or less massage. Rubbing your partner’s feet gently while watching TV, massaging their back while they cook, or rubbing their neck while they work are all examples of this. This is a sweet and quick way of showing tender care.
10. Send each other interesting articles, videos, and radio stories that you hear throughout your day. This helps you stay in the loop of what your partner is learning and also helps you connect, share, and grow interests.
11. Thank your partner regularly for the little things they do that make your life easier, such as empty the dishwasher, doing a load of laundry, filling up the gas tank, or simply existing.
12. Compliment your partner or give them a reason or two why you love them. Sharing what you love about your partner helps them to feel appreciated and confident, even in their perceived weaknesses.
13. Eat a meal together each day. Coming together for dinner together and sitting at a table allows you to each unwind and relax in each other’s care. Set aside the electronics while you eat and focus on your family. If your schedules don’t allow you to eat dinner together, try to make it a sit down breakfast, lunch (even over skype), or evening coffee/tea.
Bonus: Exercise together. Take a brisk morning or even walk for 10 minutes, go hiking or running, or ride bikes together. Maybe try something you haven’t done before or do infrequently like snowshoeing, kayaking, or rock climbing. Research shows that participating in physical activity helps couples feel more satisfied with their relationships and more in love with their partner.
Charlotte McKernan is a couple and individual therapist in Fort Collins, CO.