How to stay connected

Couples often ask us how they can tell if “the spark” in the marriage is still there.

The first thing we always reassure people is that their relationship doesn’t have to be a copy of a romantic movie.

Not every waking minute has to be filled with romantic moments in real life. In fact, your relationship may seem boring compared to what you might see on the big screen and STILL, in reality, have that “spark” burning bright.

If you’re wondering about your own relationship, think back to the last time you went out on a date.

How did things go? Did you enjoy swapping stories and laugh a lot? Did you kiss and hug throughout?

Or, did the atmosphere feel forced and awkward, with a lot of dead air?

Did your conversations feel like a landmine where one wrong move could trigger an explosive fight?

Having dinner at a fancy restaurant or taking a romantic evening stroll on a horse-drawn carriage won’t do you any good without a strong sense of closeness in your relationship.

The good news is that you don’t need a drastic overhaul to turn things around with your spouse.

If you’re feeling emotionally distant from your spouse, there are a number of “little” ways to bring back the closeness which don’t require to you to act like a character in a romantic movie.

The first way is to brainstorm simple activities which allow you to spend time with each other. Talk about what you both like to do and agree to accommodate each other’s interests.

For instance, maybe you’d really love your partner to join you walking the dog every Saturday evening while he or she would like you to join them for their monthly sci-fi movie marathon.

The challenge may be that you’re not into sci-fi and your partner isn’t really a dog person. However, your marriage can stand to gain a lot from supporting the other’s favorite activities.

In short, being close with your spouse has a lot to do with meeting your emotional needs by paying attention to them and responding appropriately. Imagine how good it would feel if your partner agreed to do things with you even if it isn’t something they are passionate about.

Don’t forget: The gift of your undivided ATTENTION is the most precious currency your marriage could ever have!

The other way to stay close to your spouse is by keeping track of the everyday things that you do for them - but never the other way around.

The point isn’t to make sure both of you are giving equally, but rather that you’re doing what you can to keep your spouse happy in small ways, one day at a time.

Here are some ordinary ways that will yield extraordinary results:

- Fix your spouse’s computer (especially if they’re technologically challenged)

- Clean your spouse's car (or take it to a valet)

- Take out the trash the first time they ask you (or do it without being asked!)

- Pay the cable bill for them

- Make an extra slice of toast or an extra cup of coffee in the morning for your spouse

- Buy their favourite soap or bodywash and leave it in the bathroom as a surprise

- Give one compliment daily (in person or via email/text)

- Make a habit of greeting and farewelling your spouse every day (preferably with a hug or kiss)

- Be more attentive to your spouse during a conversation

Bear in mind that this is meant to create a positive atmosphere in your marriage on a gradual, daily basis. To make sure you’re doing this regularly, you can use a notepad to keep a running record, or even use a productivity app if you’re savvy with smartphones and the like.

For example, Lift ( is a habit-tracking program that you can access through your web browser or via an app you can install on your mobile device.

Use whatever tools you’re comfortable with so you don’t forget keeping your spouse happy in small, everyday ways.

Speaking of the last habit in the sample list above, truly paying attention to your spouse without cutting them off or judging them is a great way to foster greater emotional closeness.

Often we’re quick to butt in with our two cents’ worth instead of offering a sympathetic shoulder to cry on.

In your eagerness to offer your own opinion, you overlook the importance of listening and taking notice of the detail of what your spouse is sharing.

Sometimes, your spouse just needs a sounding board, someone to listen to their pet peeves or a concern that’s been bothering them lately. It's really important that you can fill that role.

Remember, “simple” is the operative word. Suddenly going on an out-of-town weekend trip won’t magically bring you closer. Chances are you’ll get on each other’s nerves the whole time instead of enjoying your time together.

It might not sound exciting, but focusing on the ordinary occurrences in your daily lives is the best foundation to keep your relationship healthy. The more you can make those small moments positive and meaningful, the stronger your marriage will be.

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