The #1 Proven Method to Get Your Connection Back
Do you feel disconnected from your spouse or partner?
Are you worried that the love you once had is gone?
It may help you to know that most couples go through dips in their relationships. Just like we can all have an “off” day once-in-a-while, couples can experience off weeks, months or sometimes years.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
For true intimacy with another person, it’s essential to feel connected. When you’re connected, everything – sex, communication and fun – is better. When we feel connected, we can laugh together, understand each other and work as a team.
As a relationship coach, I work with couples who want to get their connection back. Every day, I help them learn to talk, open up, express themselves and create the safety necessary to do that.
Over the years, I’ve assembled a number of tips and tools to strengthen the connection in relationships, and I want to share one of the best with you. This method has helped thousands of couples revamp their connection and feel the love once again.
Here’s What the Happiest Couples Do
Leading research done by Drs. John and Julie Gottman at the University of Washington found that the happiest couples are great at love mapping.
A love map is your guide to your partner’s internal world: it’s how you know his dreams, her favorite foods, his best friends and her fears. Happy couples constantly update the love maps for their partner. The more up-to-date this information, the tighter their bond.
Love mapping is simple, but many of us are so busy that we forget to do it. After a few years, it’s easy to assume our partner is the same person with the same internal world as when we first met.
But that’s not the case. Our partner changes on a daily basis.
Imagine everything that happens to your partner in one day. Perhaps their best friend said or did something to hurt them, and now they’re not as close. Maybe they had lunch at a new restaurant and have a new favorite food. They watch a new movie and it moves to the top of their list of great films.
The list is endless.
When you’ve been with your partner for years, it can be hard to stay up to date on all those changes. The Love Map Game can help.
The Love Map Game
You can easily learn to do what happy, successful and connected couples do almost unconsciously by updating your love maps together. This simple exercise will help you re-establish a deep connection with your partner.
1. Write down a list of questions that you can ask your partner.
“Who are my top three friends?”
“Where is my favorite place to eat?”
“Who are three people that I admire?”
2. Have your partner do the same.
3. Now ask each other the questions.
It’s important that you have fun with this. Allow yourself to be surprised by the answers. Your partner may not have all the answers and that’s okay. It’s a game and the goal is simply to connect.
If your partner knows the answers, awesome! If they don’t, that’s great too!
The more you can learn about each other the better!
In fact, research says that the more partners know about each other, the more they are likely to avoid fights, stay close and stay together.
Time to play!
Want a Closer Relationship? Try This Simple Solution!
The relationship you have with your spouse or partner is one of the most important in your life. When that relationship is not working as well as it could or once did, you may experience a feeling of disconnection that can profoundly affect how you feel about your partner or yourself.
Too often, we assume there’s no “getting the magic back,” but I’ve helped many couples reclaim the strong connection they once had.
The solution for many relationship problems is simple: Date Nights.
A date night is a period of time set aside for just you and your partner to do something together. No kids, no work, no distractions. It doesn’t have to be expensive (try a walk in the park) and it doesn’t even have to be at night (a lunch date also counts). The point is to spend some time focusing just on each other.
How can something as simple as dating your partner again work? Let’s look at the most common reasons couples can become disconnected:
- You are not spending enough time together. Work and family responsibilities often have us running ourselves ragged day in and day out, with little energy left over for much else.
- You are spending too much time together, and none of it feels fun. Sometimes, in an effort to fix that uncomfortable feeling of disconnection, you may cling to your spouse, but nothing seems to fill the empty space between you.
- Both partners don’t really know each other like they used to. See my previous blog about why this happens.
- Past issues have never been resolved and come up when you spend time together, leading to arguments. It begins to feel easier and safer to avoid each other than to keep fruitlessly rehashing the past. (If this is the root cause of your feelings of disconnectedness, it may take the assistance of a qualified relationship counselor to help you resolve it.)
Assuming that the source of your disconnection lies in one of the first three common areas, date nights really can help you spend the kind of quality time together that will help you reconnect and rekindle the strong bond you once had.
Here’s an example:
I recently worked with a couple who were very unhappy. The wife (we’ll call her Mary), felt neglected by her husband (let’s call him Jim). She complained that she was constantly asking for time with Jim, but wasn’t getting it.
Jim, on the other hand, felt that Mary wanted too much of his time, and he simply didn’t have it to give her.
Digging deeper, I discovered that when they did spend time together it wasn’t fun for Jim or fulfilling for Mary. Because she was left feeling unfulfilled, Mary wanted to spend even more time with Jim in the hope it would make them feel more connected.
I suggested scheduling a Date Night just once a week. This amount of intense together time seemed doable to Jim. For Mary, knowing she could count on a scheduled “date” with her husband let her relax about trying to get his time. I also made them promise to do something enjoyable and to focus on spending the time just being together and having fun.
The difference was astounding!
Two weeks later, the couple told me that they had actually been going out several times a week. Jim laughed and said, “Now that we’re having fun together we want to spend more time together as a couple.” Mary added, “Scheduling time together, just like we used to when we were dating, is the best thing that’s happened to us. I love knowing we’re creating time just for us.”
The Secret for Increasing Satisfaction in Your Marriage
Do you remember when you and your spouse or partner first began dating? Chances are, you probably look back on that time as incredibly exciting and one of the happiest periods in your life.
As your relationship lengthens and deepens, love grows but often, so does boredom. What’s to blame for this case of the blahs?
Most of the time, it’s your routine.
Don’t get me wrong: establishing routines can be very healthy for a relationship. Routines help us navigate what would otherwise be a very chaotic world. They help us know what to expect from our partner, keep us organized, responsible and moving toward individual or mutual goals. So, a routine is not necessarily a bad word.
Sometimes, we rely so heavily on our daily routines that we stop putting any thought into surprising or pleasing our partner. It doesn’t mean we don’t care, it just means that we’ve come to rely so heavily on the routine that we almost can’t see any other way.
But the couples with the strongest connections know how to shake things up every once in a while!
Don’t take my word for it: there’s plenty of research that shows getting out of your comfort zone and breaking up your routine stimulate romance, passion and connection.
Research by Dr. Arthur Aron, a psychologist at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, found that when couples do new and novel activities together they increase love hormones – the same brain circuits that are ignited in early romantic love. These same couples reported an increase in marital satisfaction.
So what makes an activity “new” or “novel”?
“You don’t have to swing from chandeliers,” says renowned researcher and relationship expert Dr. Helen Fisher. “Just go to a new part of a town, take a drive in the country or better yet, don’t make plans, and see what happens to you.”
In other words, you don’t have to do something frightening or even all that adventurous – just something different.