Busy lives, daily stresses, boredom–there are many things that can start to create a gap between you and your spouse over time. Staying on the same page and avoiding an unmanageable rift is possible (and easier than you think) with a few key changes you can make as a team.
Find a shared hobby or interest
While doing everything with your spouse is unrealistic, having one or two activities you both love and can do together is a great way to maintain your bond. Whether it’s taking weekend hikes or bike rides, playing golf or camping, find something the two of you can do together on a regular basis. Not only will having a shared hobby bring you closer, it will inject more fun into your relationship. Separate interests are also important, but having no activities that you can do as a couple aside from the basics like running errands or going to dinner parties can make it tough to stay connected.
Be a better listener
It’s not always easy to be a good listener. We all have things going on in our lives that weigh on our minds, and getting distracted by technology or the kids or what you’re planning to make for dinner can get in the way of really giving your full attention to your partner. But in order to maintain a strong connection, listening is key. The more you listen to your spouse the more in tune you’ll be to what they need and how they’re doing, which is an important part of keeping a relationship moving in the right direction.
Have meaningful conversations
Spending every evening starting at the television, or your iPad, or just talking about day-to-day topics like bills that need to be paid and chores that need to be done can quickly lead to feeling disconnected from your spouse. Take time every day to connect through conversation. Skip the banal “How was your day?” and instead ask introspective questions that can’t simply be answered in a few words. There’s no need to have a deep, philosophical discussion every time you’re together, but taking the time to rediscover each other through more meaningful conversations can go a long way towards strengthening your connection to one another.
Flirt (with each other)
Couples who have been together for a while often forget to flirt. If you can’t remember the last time you flirted with your spouse, now is the time to start. Being affectionate, giving an unexpected kiss, playful teasing–these may have figured heavily into the earlier stages of your relationship, but bringing them back is a great way to keep things fresh between the two of you, have more fun and remind you of what drew you together in the first place.
Just because you’ve been married to someone for 10 years doesn’t mean you know everything about them. Sure, you and your spouse have spent years learning about each other but there’s always more to learn. One of the easiest ways to stay connected is to always strive to learn something new about your partner. The curiosity can seep out of a long-term relationship but bringing it back will help you stay connected and inject some new energy into your marriage.
Jessica Padykula is a Toronto-based writer and editor who regularly covers style, beauty, health, travel and lifestyle trends. When she’s not writing or researching a story she can be found planning trips to places near and far in a never-ending quest to travel the world. You can follow her on Twitter @JessPadykula.