Ah, Valentine's Day! The one day a year we're expected to show our love and appreciation for our partners....the ONE DAY. I'm all for hearts and flowers, believe me! But, I l try to show my love and appreciation every day. Look, if you're not putting some kind of effort into your relationship for the other 364 days a year, then don't be shocked when your foundation starts to show cracks. Now, I'm by no means saying you do this but...I've been with my husband for 20 years, I know how easy it is to allow your relationship to slip to the the back burner. We're all busy - between kids, jobs, obligations, activities, and whatever else you have going on, it's of no surprise that you have very little time to devote to yourself and your partner. I get it, I've been there, hell, sometimes I'm back there and have to make a conscious effort to shift gears.
It's hard to stay focused on your relationship when so many other "important" things come up - at least we prioritize them as important, but are they really? It's overwhelming sometimes, all of the items on the to-do list piling up and in the back of your head you're trying to remember the last time you saw your partner naked. When that started happening in my marriage, we decided to make a few changes and you know what? No one got hurt, no one suffered...everything got better. You see, when your partner knows you care, when they know you're thinking about them and appreciate them, they are more likely to return the sentiment.
If you're trying to figure out how to make time to focus on your relationship, here are 5 things we do to continually work on ours:
Listening Listening Ears (as my 5 year old would say) - Put the device down! Make an effort to listen to your partner, ask engaging questions and participate in meaningful conversations. Don't make it about the kids or yourself, make it about something your partner is interested in - you never know, you could learn something too!
Touch Me - Intimacy is important! It's also non-existant in some of our relationships. Alone time may seem impossible but making an effort to have some kind of connection on a daily basis is essential. A kiss, a hug, an unexpected touch are all indicators to your partner that you're still interested. Who knows...maybe you'll get lucky after the kids go to bed!
Take Five - Make time for selfcare. Say what? I know, it's not easy, but trust me, even if it's five minutes, it will change your outlook. Try to find time in every day for yourself - have a cup of tea, take a bath, read a book - do something that doesn't involve a "to-do" and is something that you enjoy. Having a few minutes to unwind, decompress and focus on literally nothing allows you to clear your mind and will help you better focus when you need it.
Consideration - Be aware of one another's needs and goals and try to work them into your relationship goals. Showing that you care about your partners plans and including them in yours (and vice versa) will encourage communication on a higher level.
Thank You - Appreciating your partner is a sign that your respect your relationship. Unsolicited recognition for the smallest thing will not go unnoticed. Say thank you, use kind words, be thoughtful. It goes a long way!
Every relationship takes work - Having a healthy one with your partner shows you have the stamina to be in it for the long haul, and it helps create a standard for your children to respect and admire. Working together as a team will solidify your love and appreciation for one another as you continue on your journey!!
Happy Love Day!!