Summer brings vacation, and for a lot of couples, private time or time away from the kids leaves for time to get close. Right? Escaping the mundane and the routine, many couples haven’t a clue as to how to connect together =, even on vacation when the time is ripe. Instead, kids become the focus again, like in day to day life, and moments to connect together on vacation even pass by.
Here are some strategies to how to really connect with your spouse that you can you on vacation, and beyond. Special thanks to my own partner, Leanne Grant, Ph.D, who is a psychologist and has taught me a lot of the things we present to you in this list. I’ve categorized them, because there are different ways to connect together, and each can build on or lead to other ways to connect in other categories.
- Try to tune into her feelings, without dismissing them because you don’t agree with them; don’t try to problem-solve them
- Try to tune into how you feel to hear her feelings, and communicate them back (eye contact is important)
- Don’t push aside “negative” feelings, because it’s your real and authentic experience, and she craves it
- If you get angry, try to explore what’s underneath it. Is there sadness, shame, fear, or inferiority? Anger is empowering for men, and women often shy away from men’s anger. Try getting underneath the anger to the more primary emotions to connect.
- Make the emotional part of connecting a priority and spend time together being affectionate, without having sex.
- Practice listening to your spouse, instead of trying to fix whatever she’s saying
- Notice when you speak in the past or future, instead of in the present. It’ll make you more present
- Communicate your love and caring for your partner. It’ll go a long way, and reassure her insecurities that you might not feel those ways.
- Show her that you’re genuinely interested in her and what she is talking about. Ask questions to learn more. Don’t make this a one-time event – this needs to be a regular part of connection.
- Leave stressful topics (i.e. finances) aside when trying to connect together
- Make sure that basic needs are taken care of first – such as food, sleep, etc.
- Do stress-busting activities together – such as having a massage together, meditation, exercise, yoga, etc. The reduction of stress in and of itself can make it much easier to feel connected.
- For women, physical intimacy will sometimes happen spontaneously when emotional needs are met. This is important for guys to understand, because it’s slightly different for men.
- Practice “platinum service”: spend a half day, or a day, with the focus off of yourself. Try focusing on tuning in and attending to your wife or girlfriend’s needs, and act on them
- Try doing an activity (restaurant, vacation activity) that might be different from what you want, or might challenge you to come out of your comfort zone
- The ol’ reliable date night is good, but not if you just sit across from each other not talking, or saying the same things. Try a venue that would elicit conversation, like a bike ride, rock climbing, bowling, or some activity that can engage you.
- Make sure that you are both having fun (i.e. watching sports may not be her idea of enjoyment). Laughter is a great way to relieve stress and have fun (i.e. watching a funny movie) – but remember that it will only be connective if both people are laughing and on equal ground.
- Plan regular dates in which you both put effort into the time together. Plan an activity in which you can communicate, feel relaxed, and have fun.
Other Romantic Gestures:
- Tell your partner what you love about them, and be specific ((include all aspects of her being)
- Name specific qualities about them that you see or things that they do that make you keen on her
- Try mentioning parts of her body that get you revved up, and see her response
- Practice engaging with each other in a playful manner – meaning not being task-oriented. Being spontaneous is important and can help create more of a sense of passion.
I think we covered the gamut here. Are there any we missed? Are there any unique ways you and your partner connect? Throw some comments into the mix and tell us what is your special way to connect with your wife or girlfriend.