Life gets busy. Trust me, I know. Between coaching clients, running my own business, taking care of my kids, trying to maintain a social life, and everything else in between, there is just so little time for myself, or to be with my husband.
With so much going on, it’s easy to get in the habit of taking one’s spouse for granted. Taking a spouse “for granted” usually is meant as something problematic, but I don’t necessarily mean it that way. I mean that you know your spouse will always be there, no matter what. It can feel wonderful to have a spouse that is so reliable, that you know they will always be there and have your back.
The problem with recognizing your partner’s presence as reliable and taking it for granted is that, when you do that, you’re more likely to neglect to cultivate intimacy and connection. You’re assuming it will always be there regardless of how much attention you put on it, and that is definitely problematic.
Putting attention on your own needs also ends up being sidelined until you can get to it, as you tell yourself it will happen sometime in the (ever elusive) future.
Instead of connecting it’s simpler to watch Outlander, or be on your phone, as you recuperate from the intensity of the day. It feels simpler than turning towards one another. Before the busyness starts all over again the next day–which means another day without really prioritizing your relationship.
Staying in this rut happens so easily.
Nevertheless, here’s the reality: if you want a great relationship and an intimate marriage, you have to prioritize your connection with your partner. You have to carve out time in your day to put attention on your partner in a slower, connected manner, and on yourself as well.
It’s the quality of attention you give one another that makes the difference in how close you feel, how nourished and supported and cherished you are.
When it comes down to it, you get to choose the quality of your attention and you can also determine where you focus. Just as you decide to attend a business meeting, get your child to soccer practice on time, or order dinner, it’s also a choice to put attention on your relationship and have a meaningful conversation, or touch one another with tenderness.
However, putting attention on your relationship is not like putting attention on other aspects of your life. When it comes to your relationship, it’s essential that you transition from the busyness and focussed intensity of your day to open, and slow down, so that you can connect with an intimate partner with less “doing” energy and more presence.
This shift requires intentionality and a lot of practice, depending on how busy your schedule is and your baseline of calm. There’s no quick fix. No automation. No mindless option. You literally need to consciously choose it over and over again, until you establish a new baseline of attentiveness and connection.
Getting into a routine which prioritizes the quality of connection you have with your partner is honestly no different than getting into a routine with flossing your teeth, or working out twice a week. Obviously, the experience is significantly different, but establishing a new habit is not.
Getting into a routine which prioritizes the quality of connection you have with your partner is honestly no different than getting into a routine with flossing your teeth, or working out twice a week. Click To Tweet
It’s essential that you prioritize this practice and set yourself up for success by attending to any practical matters that are relevant: make sure you’re both available at the same time, put your phone down, do anything else that will make it more fun for both of you like having special snacks on hand or wearing something comfy.
When connecting doesn’t come easily, keep yourself from judging yourself or your partner. Instead be compassionate towards yourself, remember that important things take practice, and allow yourself to open up to more closeness with your spouse.
Making transitions well is a huge factor when tending marital intimacy. Whether you’re shifting from work mode to home mode, from parenting mode to couple mode, or from solo mode to relationship mode, simply knowing such pivots require care can be very helpful.
Create a routine that appeals to you, that works for you in your specific situation. Maybe it means taking some slow deep breaths in your car before getting out of it. Perhaps you change your shoes when you shift from one mode to another, to trigger the unconscious awareness that the pivot has happened. Maybe you listen to something humorous before you interact with your family at the end of the day, so you bring joyful vibes into your interactions rather than stressed ones. The possibilities are limitless.
The other essential step for the ambitious, successful couple’s relationship is having each individual clarify their desires and then share them with one another. It’s important not to act as though your spouse can read your mind–instead get in the habit of clearly and cleanly sharing your desires. They won’t always happen exactly as you would wish, but it won’t be for lack of your spouse knowing what you want!
Does your partner need everything to be just right with fresh sheets and a candle burning, children asleep and the kitchen cleaned before feeling turned on and ready for sex? If you have requirements that have to be met before you are available to connect intimately, be honest with yourself about what you want, and communicate it to your partner so they understand what’s happening for you, and can collaborate on making it happen.
Have conversations about your needs and desires, and how they have evolved over the course of your marriage. Being frank about such things builds intimacy, and connection. It seems counterintuitive but when you share something uncomfortable with kindness and care, it can actually be very bonding!
Being intentional about your transition times, and making the choice to purposefully carve out time in your day to put attention on your relationship, will bring you and your partner together more effectively and intimately. The more that you do this, the easier it will become, and the more empowered you will feel. Empowerment is the natural result of evolving from feeling things are just “too busy” to feeling you can focus your attention and create appealing results in your relationship.