If you were to balance your life hours in a ledger, how many would actually be spent with your partner?
While demands of work, home, and childcare are worth the investment, you may walk away from your relationship and forget to invest in it again. That gradual wear can devolve your relationship over time.
Be intentional about coming back to your relationship at the end of the day, not just physically. Another phrase for this is “showing up”. What does it look like to “come back” and “show up”, and how can you and your partner get in the groove?
Start With Yourself: Check In
“Showing up” means that you share emotions, thoughts, and experiences with your partner to deepen your connection. This process becomes much easier when you’re able to acknowledge and accept your own!
Pause at least once a day to check in with yourself: “What are three words for how I feel right now? How am I doing? What was my high of the day? My low?” Don’t judge yourself as you respond.
After some practice, you may find it more natural to share and check in with your partner, too.
Set Firm Boundaries with Work and Technology
Widespread working from home for the past year has blurred work-life boundaries. But most of us don’t have life-or-death jobs. Is sending an email at 6:02 PM versus 8:02 AM really going to ruin your career?
Whenever possible, clock out and leave work at work. After all, you spend hours laboring to support your free time with the ones you love.
You may also find yourselves melded to technology during the pandemic. Make a point to put down your phone, turn off the TV, and face your partner. Do something that engages both of you: games, puzzles, crafts, reading the same book and sharing opinions as you go…
Come Back in Small Ways
Even if you’re in the middle of a meeting, say “thank you” when your partner brings you a snack. If you like the shirt they chose that day, compliment them. Small strokes of encouragement and affirmation build up your bond over time.
Since every relationship is different, you may have your own specific questions or roadblocks. Don’t be afraid to ask for some guidance from a relationship counselor. We all need help from time to time — even counselors!