Monday, March 7, 2011

No Time To Reconnect? (Same Here.)

Let's just take a look at last week in the Liebert household.  School and class work everyday for us, kids getting pink eye, tons of meetings and deadlines for my husband and I, appliances breaking down, the week just trudged on at a breakneck speed.  Did I mention that it was so bitter cold that taking the kids outside for fresh air was impossible thus they got cabin fever and Friday culminated with an afternoon in the ER because my son found a way to crash his high chair and self on the sharp edge of the table, cutting open his head and lip?

There are a lot of weeks like this, aren't there?  You find yourself so exhausted that taking the time to give your spouse or partner a quick peck on the cheek is enough to send you running for sleep as fast as possible.  You stare at each other across the dinner table, mumbling "Mmm ok." to anything anyone says and think "Wait, who are you again? Who am I?"

Been there, done that, at times weekly.  So let's think up a few ways to reconnect that aren't of the cheesy sort, shall we?  Shelly and I were discussing our own relationships and both admitted we aren't of the 'touchy feely, super romantic' group.  We love our husbands so dearly, but both being business women who lead somewhat triple careers, we both know that sometimes our husbands could use just a bit more love and attention than they do get.  Here's a few ways I've found to try to reconnect to my husband throughout the week, even when I am flat out exhausted.

1.  Say thank you.  Even for small, nearly minuscule things that your husband does without your asking or complaining.  Our spouses and partners don't always need to hear an overwhelming "THANK YOU!" to something we have whined and complained about for weeks.  But, if he throws in a load of laundry or takes out the overflowing garbage without asking, pipe up!  "Thank you! I really appreciate that!" will not only tickle your partner pink but let them know that you do notice their efforts.  We must do little things to appreciate each other.

2.  Speaking of little things, I do this nightly before I go to bed.  I set the table for breakfast.  I put out my husbands favorite mug, prepare the morning coffee, and get out the stuff for the meal.  That way, breakfast can be leisurely and not harried as we trot everyone out the door.  I also set out my husbands towel and his shaving stuff before his shower.  It's not me slaving away, it's just a couple little things to make his life easier.  In return, he often does the same for me- he may let me sleep a few more minutes while he gets up to take the dog out, or start the coffee as I get out of the shower.

3.  Have a few small things to talk about throughout the week.  Maybe your spouse and you have different interests in movies, music, politics, whatever.  But taking a few minutes to notice a headline they might be interested in, hear a song they might like, etc., then bringing it up and being sure to SAY "I thought about you." while talking to them reassures them they are not the farthest thing from your mind.  My husband brings up stuff regularly that he thinks would interest me and I try hard to do the same.  Even if it doesn't really interest you, remember this, they were thinking about you.

4.  Watch a favorite show together some nights, or a movie?  We try to and often times I sit on one couch knitting, while he sits on another browsing the Internet during commercials.  I've tried to make a conscious effort to sit together, perhaps hold hands or snuggle up, instead of focusing on something else.  Then use commercial time to talk about each other, the week, whatever will give you a few moments to reconnect.

5.  All out, grand romantic gestures are nice but enduring sweetness is far better.  I am trying to get better about this but think before you speak.  Instead of whining that Nolan didn't do something, I try to say something else, like "Your new blue shirt is really nice- it brings out your eyes" or whatever.  Do little things that show reminders that you love each other.  For example, my husband didn't get me flowers for Valentine's Day.  He got me a blooming rose topiary and said "This way it lasts.  You love flowers and now it can bloom several more times."  When I water my rose plant or trim dead blooms from it, I'm reminded that he got it so I could enjoy it for a lot longer than a week.

6.  Celebrate little things.  Not just our birthdays and anniversaries.  I just recently found back a snapshot Nolan took of me and Eva when we were first engaged.  I framed it and put it beside his side of the bed.  When he saw it, I said "I just wanted us both to remember."  In return, he came to bed with two mugs of hot cocoa and we reminisced a bit.

7.  Talk regularly and often about plans for the future.  Day dream together about your second honey moon, trips to take the kids on, what kind of house you eventually want to build or buy, whatever.  My husband and I always daydream about when we are both working for ourselves.  When I'm a (hopefully) big time writer and he manages his own software clients.  We plan to put a library in our house that houses both our office spaces, so we see each other throughout the day.  We talk about the garden we want to put in this summer, what books from our childhoods we want to share with our kids, even the most mundane thing ever- when we can finally afford a dishwasher!

8.  Intimacy is more than just sex.  There, I said the naughty word!  Yes, it's important to connect regularly in a physical manner, but even stopping to give a little pinch on the bum, a wink at the grocery store, or hold hands while driving somewhere is important too.  More than once in a blue moon, get in bed together to lie down and chat, read each other things, or if you are as exhausted as we often are, fall asleep holding hands.

9.  This is said time and again by both parenting and marriage experts, as well as my mother but it bears repeating.  Choose your battles.  Your partner is exactly that, your best friend and partner through life.  Think for a few seconds before saying something that could possibly be completely trivial and a complete waste of time.  I am so bad at this.  Before I even think, it's like my mouth just magically opens and starts up with a whine fest or complaint.  Then I realize what a complete idiot I sound like and that I probably annoyed Nolan to no end.

10.  Never forget, a rousing game of Scrabble, or cribbage, or whatever complete with flirty competition and laughter does wonders for you both.  Also remember, even if you aren't the touchy feely kind, being sentimental and romantic when your spouse least expects it is a sure way to reassure them that they are still your number one love of your life.

We want to hear from you!  Do you have routines, traditions, or suggestions as how to reconnect with your spouse too?  The more the better!  Have a great week all!

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