My husband and I are high school sweethearts- which is totally sweet and completely adorable, I know, BUT- it also means we’ve been together for over half our lives, even though we are in our mid-thirties. So while he is my absolute best friend in the whole world, it is also easy to get sucked into the mundane routine and slog of the everyday.
Who’s picking up the kids?
Did you empty the dishwasher?
How can we be out of dog food AGAIN???
We have to be intentional about showing appreciation and affection for one another, because we DO love and appreciate each other- even though that sometimes gets lost under piles (and piles and piles and piles) of laundry.
So how do we keep the love alive after 21 years, 2 kids, 2 houses, jobs, pets, and life?? While we are certainly not relationship experts, these have worked well for us over the years.
Simple ways to love your S.O.:
1. Plan in 5-10 minutes of connection each night.
I know this doesn’t sound like much, but often times in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, this simple time goes by the wayside. After the kids are in bed and the dishes are done, sit down with each other for 5-10 minutes. Put your phones away. Make eye contact. And just BE with your person. You can recap your day- or not. It is making the connection that counts.
2.Make a goal to have physical contact every day.
Again, I know it sounds like I am setting the bar looooooooooow. But how many days have you been on autopilot- school drop off, work, school pick up, soccer practice, make dinner, do homework, baths, read before bed- and the two of you just exist side by side, working parallel to one another, but never intersecting? Make a daily ritual of simple physical contact- a good morning hug, a smooch after work, some cuddling on the couch. This doesn’t replace intimate physical contact, but it reminds your partner that, even when life is crazy, they are still a priority.
3. Send sweet or funny texts during the day
This is one of my favorites. When I first started teaching, I had one particularly challenging class, so my workdays were pretty stressful. My hubby would send me emails throughout the day (this was before texting was really a THING- sigh- we’re old) with Chuck Norris jokes. They were so stupid, but they always made me smile and feel less alone. Nowadays, we send each other silly memes or GIFs that we come across, knowing that it will brighten the other’s day. The importance of communication beyond just essential communication cannot be overstated.
4. Plan regular date nights.
If your life is like ours, spontaneity is not part of this season. If we don’t plan it ahead of time, it doesn’t happen. One date night a month, minimum. In an ideal world, one date night a week- #goals. I’m working towards it. Side note: your date nights don’t have to be expensive or even away from the house! Open a bottle of wine and watch a movie together after tucking the kids in. Bottom line- make time for each other.
5. Take care of a task you know they dislike doing.
Is there anything that makes you feel more loved than when your partner empties the dishwasher just because they know you hate it? More than just not having to do that task, it makes you feel SEEN. Practice really SEEING each other.
What are some ways that you and your partner make each other feel seen and valued?