It seems that Eric and I are apart more often than we are together. His job requires much of him and our family. Even when he’s home, we both have responsibilities to fulfill. I find myself easily frustrated at the separation and challenge to connect.
There are a million different demands that seem to pull us everywhere but towards each other.
Here’s what we’re learning and trying to do to keep our flame burning.
HOW TO REMAIN CONNECTED TO YOUR SPOUSE
1) Be Thankful. It’s easy to think that the grass is greener elsewhere. Stop analyzing your situation against others who “have it better”. It’s not helpful if doing so causes you to become envious or discontented. However, when struggling against discontentment of any kind, try looking at someone whose circumstances are more difficult. When I think of our military families who are separated for months or years, it snaps me out of pity-parties like a slap in the face. Be willfully grateful.
2) Communicate Whenever or However Possible. We have some dear friends who leave little notes for each other on the shower wall (who says Crayola bathtub crayons are just for kids)! Leave a voicemail, send a text, or surprise with little notes in unexpected places. Even when it’s not possible to “talk,” make a point to let the other know you are thinking of them. Be encouraging, uplifting, affirming.
3) Do Something for the Other. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Eric’s hours have made it difficult for him to accomplish certain tasks around the house and so I’ve taken to mowing the lawn when his days are long. It’s not much, but it’s a practical way to express love to him. Do a load of laundry, clean out the car, put a little gift in the briefcase, and get creative! Eric has surprised me with eggnog shakes (I live for eggnog season). A Little act can go a long way.
4) Plan Date Nights. I’ll be real with you. This area needs some serious construction in our marriage. So, let me use the example of another couple. They are intentional about making special time for each other. Dinner, a movie, or a walk around the mall, they are quick to schedule and take advantage of one-on-one time to focus on their relationship. Dates help married couples reconnect and energize in a fast-paced world.
5) Make Physical Intimacy a Priority. This can be a toughie – especially for us women when we feel disconnected to our husbands. Some of the best advice I received as a married woman was to make intimacy with my husband a priority. Intimacy truly is the best way for BOTH of us to connect. Sometimes actions just have to come before feelings.
Maybe you are the only one following through with some of these suggestions. Don’t give up. Keep doing it. True love is about the other. Do what you can to show love even if it isn’t always reciprocated in the way you want or expect. A wise woman once told me, “Marriage is not 50/50.” Don’t keep a tally on acts of love, but focus your attention on loving to the best of your ability. Love is choice. Love your spouse the way you want to be loved.
How do YOU remain connected to your spouse?