Stay Connected Through the Day
written by Kelli & Nathan
One area of focus for “The Couple Project” is communication. Effective communication allows us to create the tightly knit relationship we are aiming for. We want to be able to understand each other better, work more efficiently with each other, and be more comfortable around each other. All of these things require that we can quickly transmit our thoughts, needs, concerns, and desires to each other and that we can expect the same from our spouse.
In order to achieve this we have to feel safe with each other, we have to be able to voice our thoughts freely, and we have to trust our spouse will treat our thoughts with respect. Regular consistent communication and connection can help foster this needed safety and stability.
In working towards increasing our communication and connection we have found five situations that are worth spending extra effort on:
- Waking up.
- Take offs (when we go our separate ways for the day).
- Time apart.
- Landings (when we come back together at the end of the day).
Over the past year we have been creating and refining habits around how we handle each of these situations.
Waking up. Each morning we wake up together. Nathan is usually the first awake, then he wakes up Kelli. We talk about how we slept and enjoy each other’s company. Next we shower, brush our teeth, get dressed, and spend some time journaling and reviewing our plans for the day.
Some of the questions we focus on during our journaling and review of the day are:
- What was good about yesterday?
- What are we trying to improve about ourselves?
- What do we appreciate about our spouse?
- What nice thing are we planning to do for our spouse today?
- What is the plan for sex tonight?
- What tasks are we working on today? (We write this on a mirror in our room to help remind us through the day.)
The purpose of our morning routine is to start our day together. If we connect at the beginning of our day we are more likely to stay connected throughout the day. Answering and discussing the above questions help us connect and understand each other’s thoughts and goals for the day.
Take Offs. Normally when one of us leaves, the other is right there beside them. We walk them to the door, giving them a hug and a kiss, and make sure we are well connected as we separate for the day.
This gives us a chance to sync up our plans for our time apart. We can reaffirm what we are planning to do while separated and say goodbye.
Staying in touch. We have two kinds of days: together at the house or separated in some way. When we are in the same house we occasionally check in with a quick “How are you doing?” or “Is there anything you need?” When we are seperated, we use a messaging app to stay in touch in a similar fashion.
This constant contact though the day builds the intimacy needed to have the type of relationship we want. We want to be there for each other whenever we are needed. Through this connection we are able to help each other stay focused on the priorities of the day. By maintaining this connection we are also able to be a cheerleader for our spouse and show them their efforts are appreciated.
Landings. Do you love how excited a puppy is to see you when you get home? That is how we like our landings. When one of us comes home after being away for the day our first goal is to seek each other out. Greeting each other with a hug, a kiss, or an inquiry into how our days went.
Taking this opportunity to reconnect, and the willingness to pause what else is going on in our life, lets our spouse know they are important. This landing ritual also allows us to briefly discuss anything interesting that happened while we were apart, leave work or other worries behind, and reconnect about what we are doing next.
Bedtime. We put our kids to bed, brush our teeth, bathe if wanted, and get ready for bed. We then spend some time reading scriptures together, making love, and we fall to sleep together.
We prefer to fall asleep as we chat about our day together. We want to have our spouse be the last person we see before we sleep and the first person we see when we wake. This helps us recognize we are the most important person in each other’s lives, and that we can feel safe and secure curled up beside them. Since we have put this routine in place we have found we more consistently get a good night sleep and our children have more consistent sleep habits as well.
Now that we have shared these five habits, we would be interested in your thoughts. Which of these habits do you already have in your life? Which habits do you have that have been beneficial in your relationships? Which of our habits are you interested in implementing in your life?
We have decided that we are okay with, and want, a high maintenance relationship where we are able to regularly share our thoughts and feelings with each other. These habits have helped us feel more comfortable with each other and have improved our relationship.
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