You know the drill; two busy careers, kids who need support, house, car, pets, aging parents to be taken care of, community activities. All good things, but where is the time left in busy lives to nurture relationships, especially the most important relationship; your spouse or significant other.
There are a number of quick techniques to build your relationships with big impact:
- At the end of the work day, the first few minutes when you see each other are critically important. Hold off complaining about your day until after you have established a caring connection with each other.
- Set aside two minutes of undistracted communications. Look each other in the eyes while you spend at least a couple of minutes sharing what is important to each of you.
- Practice an appreciation ritual every day. This could be one compliment or one thank you, it doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive, simply expressing appreciation to the person most important to you.
Psychologist Mark E. Sharp, who specializes in relationships and Chelsea Madsen, Ph.D, a licensed marriage and family therapist, say it doesn’t take long hours of quality time to enhance your relationship connection. What’s important is developing an “attitude of carrying your spouse or partner with you” throughout your day. Here are six simple ways to sustain a strong connection :
- Use technology for good. Technology can strain your relationship if constantly plugged in, but it doesn’t have to. Sending a quick text or email takes just a few seconds but can send an important message – I am thinking about you and I love you. If you get too busy, set an alarm on your phone as a reminder. Or schedule specific times in your day to reconnect, even if it’s a brief chat.
- Plan ahead. Prioritize your relationship by planning ahead for date nights. For instance, hire a babysitter well in advance, take turns planning date nights. My sister and her husband take turns planning anniversary get-aways to fun, local and inexpensive destinations.
- Know each others schedules. Partners can also support each other by being aware of each others schedule and activities. This way, if your partner has an exciting or tough day, you are aware and can be sensitive to their challenges.
- Create and continue rituals. Your rituals don’t need to be elaborate or time-consuming. They could be as simple as a kiss before work or chat over an evening snack. If you already have rituals, keep them going. They tell your partner you are there and there is stability in the relationship, something to count on.
- Tackle tasks together. Try checking off your to-do list as a team. Run errands together or catch up while you’re cooking dinner. Even working side by side on your computers can be fun and relationship-enhancing if you make it that way.
- Check in with each others emotions. One of the first things to deteriorate when we are busy is emotional connection, but checking in with each other is an important way to feel closer. It gives you a sense of support and confidence. So talk about your feelings, worries, woes and life in general. The benefits are many, for both you and your partner.
We Can Help
Whether you are seeking ways to help improve your relationships or your own emotional well being, VITAL WorkLife’s coaching, consulting, or counseling solutions may be a great next step for you. Get connected - we’re available anytime, day or night.
- Employee Assistance Program (EAP) members call 800.383.1908 or access resources the VITAL WorkLife App
- Physician/Provider Well Being Resources members call 877.731.3949 or access resources through the VITAL WorkLife App