What Makes Us Feel Loved?
Research shows that rituals of connection, things that we do on a regular basis that demonstrate our caring and affection, help us feel loved. In times of stress, when life becomes overwhelming, we sometimes lose track of these rituals that play an important role in demonstrating our emotional commitment to each other. If your relationship needs a lift, try adding a new ritual or expanding on one that already exists.
Here are some ideas:
Do you normally hug and kiss good night? Do you say I love you? Try adding some cuddle time or spooning. You can do this even if you go to bed at different times by cuddling on the sofa or laying down together for a few minutes before happily parting--knowing that you've had your snuggle time.
The Morning may be hectic, but starting the day with a firm hug or a kiss before beginning work, can be grounding and make everyone feel good. A German study showed that men who kiss their wives for six seconds before leaving for work, live an average of ten years longer than men who don't. Want to live longer? Try giving your partner a nice long kiss every morning!
Morning Cup of Joe:
Taking a few minutes each morning to sip some coffee or tea together and discuss the day can be a wonderful practice. Not a morning person? Try touching base midday in person or by phone.
Family Dinner with No Screens:
Make dinner a special time to connect with each other by putting away the screens and talking. If your schedules don't align, try making this happen at least once or twice a week.
No matter how busy you are, finding twenty minutes a day to talk, just the two of you, should be doable. If your work shifts conflict on certain days, then it's important to make sure you get in your couple time on whenever possible.
Cuddle-Up and Watch Your Show:
If you have a show that you watch with your partner, see if you can hold hands or cuddle for part of the time. these small gestures strengthen connection.
Any day that it's not raining or freezing is a great day to get moving together. Walking together has become a favorite activities of couples during Covid.
Even during Covid, you can have date night once a week. Put the kids to bed and sit by the fire pit together or light some candles and have a glass of wine or picnic on the living-room floor with your favorite cheese & crackers or dessert. Try taking out a board game or do an art project together. Cook an exotic meal together (or order it in), and pair it with a beverage from that country. Try giving each other massages, take a shower together, feed each other....be creative. Remember, the activity isn't as important as letting your partner know they are a priority and that you want to spend time together.
Anything you do regularly with your partner can be a ritual of connection if you do it with intention. As John Gottman says, "Small things often," make the difference.