Connecting With Your Partner
You love your wife more than anything. You don’t know what you’d do without her. So why, at times, do you feel so disconnected from her? Spouses grow apart without realizing it. You feel like the only common thread is the kids. Losing your connection with your spouse can happen for a number of reasons but most often it’s a lack of thoughtful effort from both parties. And this feeds the emotional disengagement between the two of you. You both place blame. Maybe you feel like she’s hyper focused on the kids. She probably feels like you don’t help enough around the house. In the chaos of daily life, we don’t take time to cultivate our relationship with our wives. So many things are competing for our attention day-to-day. The relationship with your spouse is taken for granted while you’re fulfilling your various duties as parent, “grown-up”, caretaker, chauffeur, tutor, plus add the stresses of taking care of the home and working your day job. Our focus becomes distorted. While we’re worried about bedtime routines and who finished their dinners, we should really be focusing on developing loving relationships with our wives and kids.
Where do I Start?
As with most things, start with yourself. Focus on what you can do to make your wife feel acknowledged, appreciated and understood. The process of reconnecting starts with a single act of kindness. Don’t get discouraged if the first few go unnoticed.
If you know your spouse’s love language, start there. If you haven’t been exposed to that idea before- Dr. Gary Chapman wrote a book about connecting with your spouse through one of five ways: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. Just by reading those terms, you’ve probably already figured out your spouse’s love language. If you want to get more in-depth, Dr. Chapman’s book is a great place to begin.
Here is something you can start doing immediately. When your wife speaks to you this evening- no matter the topic, put down whatever you’re doing and give her your complete and undivided attention. Look her in the eyes and really listen to what she’s saying. Don’t offer any suggestions or try to fix her problems. Just listen and empathize. She will notice! You’ll be signaling to her that whatever you were doing is not as important as what she has to say. Even if she doesn’t acknowledge it, she will appreciate it. Build from there.
Rebuilding the Relationship
Remember this is not going to happen overnight. Just as your relationship took time to breakdown, it will take time to rebuild. Make your wife your first priority. And yes, that means over the kids too. Make traditions and don’t break them. Be spontaneous and give gifts. Your kids will see you making her the priority by bringing her flowers, helping with dinner, setting the table and giving her alone time. You’ll be setting the example as to what the role of a man is in the home. To put it another way, act like you did when you were dating. You were kind, gentle, caring and thoughtful. Where did that man go? Be intentional in the way you speak to your wife. Set time aside for the two of you. Plan date nights, dress up and enjoy each other’s company. Time as a couple is just as important as time with the rest of the family.
Rebuilding and maintaining a relationship is work. As you continue to work on your connection with your wife remember these three things:
- You are responsible for your happiness. Don’t put that on her.
- Always assume your partner has the best intentions and learn pick your battles.
- Forget about being “right”.
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