A rock solid connection is a vital component of what I call The Bulletproof Relationship. There are many ways to connect as partners. It’s crucial that we experience a strong & consistent connection, if we expect to create lasting love with another person.
It’s a natural result that couples grow apart over time when these needs aren’t being met. It’s necessary to feed & nurture our relationship so it (& us!) can thrive.
Here are a few ways to increase & strengthen your connection right now.
3 C’s of Connection
1. Physical Connection. Are you & your partner touching each other regularly? I’m not
referring to sexual touching here, I mean consistent physical connection, in the form of loving touch. This is an essential component of your relationship. It relaxes your nervous systems & helps you to handle the daily stresses of life. To increase this connection, start by giving (& asking for) more hugs & be sure to cuddle up with your partner during times of relaxing together.
2. Emotional Connection. When you & your partner are there for each other; sharing openly, vulnerably, & listening well, you’ll feel the bond of emotional connection. A strong emotional
connection is necessary for feeling ‘that loving feeling’ & it fosters trust & companionship. To flex this connection muscle, focus on sharing with your partner, asking for what you want & being an excellent listener when they’re sharing with you.
3. Sexual Connection. If you’re in an exclusive partnership with someone this type of connection is usually one that you don’t share with anyone else. If your sexual connection isn’t where you want it to be, put some effort into creating a fulfilling sex life with your partner. Put the focus on creating & allowing pleasure & deep connection. Because this is a special way to connect that’s unique to your relationship, your efforts here will pay off. Your partner can get a hug from someone or feel heard by someone else. But to have a strong sexual connection with their mate they rely on you, your availability & commitment. All types of connection are crucial for you to share together & there are no substitutions. I just want to point out that this particular human need goes unmet if you aren’t creating what you want together!
Share this with your partner & take the time to deeply connect this week!
A sustained love connection is the lifeblood of a healthy, happy, relationship & yet many things we do (& don’t do) often sabotage & interfere with it. Fast paced businesses, busy family schedules & a world culture that fosters ADHD can cause couples to feel disconnected.
Without an awareness of what is happening, we can unintentionally & unknowingly destroy a beautiful, promising relationship from the inside out.
Connecting a little each day with your partner using daily connection rituals can not only keep the disconnection at bay, but it can also strengthen & deepen your relationship causing wonderful results.
For instance, there’s a lot of the usual talk with regards to keeping the romance & passion alive, but romance & passion are results of good love habits. If you have the romance & passion you want, you’re experiencing results. If you don’t have the romance & passion you want, you’re experiencing results. If you want different results, change your habits & you change your relationship!
Forming & maintaining good love habits helps to create the sustained love connection that committed couples are looking for, with the byproducts being romance & passion!
Here are a few practices that help you maintain your connection in spite of the hustle & bustle.
How to stay connected for busy couples:
Strengthen & foster Core Connections
- Stay in contact. Your partner should know (& trust) that they have a direct link to you 24/7. They can reach out & get a response back within a certain window of time. Have a clear conversation letting them know your preferred contact methods & an order of how to best reach you. Agree on what’s a reasonable time expectation (with your life circumstances) of when they can count on hearing back if need be. Commit that you will keep this secure lifeline open to them. Expected result: feelings of safety, comfort & security with each other & experiencing the relationship as a safe haven.
- Welcome home connection. When you or your partner arrive home, the arriving partner gets greeted by the partner who’s home. Stop whatever you’re doing & go to meet them with open arms. Hug until you both relax, before you move on to anything else. Take these 2-5 minutes to do this. Expected result: a realigning of nervous systems, reduced stress, reestablished presence & connection with each other after separation.
- Good morning & good night. If you can, rise with your partner & go to bed with them. If this doesn’t work for your schedules find time after waking up & before going to sleep to connect with each other, no distractions. Look into each other’s eyes (if you’re in their presence). Say good morning & good night, beginning & completing the day. At the very least create the space for a loving text or a quick phone call to wish them a wonderful day or to connect before bed. Expected result: experience a stronger feeling connection even during times of separation. Plus enjoy deeper connection & passion & likely more love making.
At first glance these rituals may seem like trivial or minor practices, but science says these important little things done repeatedly over time can impact our relationship & greatly affect its success. Please don’t underestimate them because these few things when practiced regularly can be very transformational! It’s part being present with your partner, part science.
Neuroscience & Psychobiology are changing our understanding of relationship. There’s so much more to know about how & why these rituals work. But the bottom line is, they help create secure attachment & happy nervous systems & this helps you have a much better relationship!
Focus for the week: Share this with your partner & try these this week. Do them all if you can, but try to do at least one consistently all week long.
Comment below & share which connection ritual helped you the most & why!
*The brilliant Dr. Stan Tatkin writes about these rituals (& much more) in ‘Wired for Love’. I was first exposed to some of these rituals through his book & my marriage can attest to the effectiveness of regular use of them. This book is one of my most highly recommended relationship books!
Do you crave more connection with your partner?
Do you miss those times when there was more excitement, enthusiasm, energy & hot sparks between you? Or perhaps you crave more depth in your connection & warm fuzzies with your partner?
Life moves so fast these days. It can be challenging to keep up with the things that are important to us, those things that truly nurture us & our partnership. But a strong, sustained love connection is essential for a thriving long term relationship.
Many couples are aware that date nights are good for them. Experts often suggest this but people don’t always know why it’s beneficial, only that it has something to do with romance. Besides being a fun time, what else can they do? Great dates can actually be long term ‘life support’ for your partnership!
Some of the effects of great dates can be refueled connection, rekindled passion & a relationship sustaining wellspring of romance, so that you never need lose that lovin’ feeling!
Take time for date time.
Use these suggestions & guidelines to structure dates that create both short term pleasure (date magic) & long term relationship satisfaction (lifelong love benefits)!
Label your date time ‘sacred space’. Agree with your partner that date time is important to your relationship. Plan a time that works best for you both & stick to that agreement. It’s very important that you keep the plan, even if life throws obstacles. If the specifics of the plan change (you plan a picnic & it rains), so be it, life can’t be controlled. But do your best to keep the date itself even if your plan goes from a day out to a day in. Once in awhile someone may be sick or something may happen that requires rescheduling but if most of the time you’re on track, you’ll be creating a lot of solid connection!
Get as creative, simple or as elaborate as you like. Do what works for your budget & your unique partnership. Some couples may enjoy a romantic candlelight dinner, others may love a walk on the beach or time together in nature. Some couples may enjoy something more offbeat like a shared 4:00 am sunrise or a date night of karaoke. If you run out of ideas there are lots of great suggestions on the internet (type in unique date ideas) to get your creativity flowing.
For best results, create anew. It’s important that you vary what you do & try new things often in order to get the best results from your dates. Scientists have done brain studies on long term committed couples & dating. They’ve found that while making time to connect is important, doing routine type dates ultimately didn’t do much for couples. Different, interesting, NEW dates stimulate the reward system parts of the brain. The parts that release the feel good chemicals, dopamine & norepinephrine. This is the same brain circuit that fires up in NEW early romantic love. So you literally ARE altering your chemistry, your own & the chemistry between you, creating long term romance!
Take turns deciding what you will do with your time. Be experimental & try new things. It’s really exciting (& sometimes really sexy) to surrender to new things & put yourself & your enjoyment in the hands of your partner. Whether they surprise you completely or just take control of the decision making by planning the time together, you know they’ve been thinking of you & what you may like to experience during your time together. Knowing this can build excitement & anticipation & will give you a great start before you’re even on the date.
The feminine especially, often loves it when the masculine decides the plans. The feminine is left feeling deeply cared about & ready to reciprocate. If your partner is the kind of person who thrives in their masculine & loves making decisions (& you love the experience of receiving & following), then having them choose what to do much of time may work perfectly for you. There’s no hard & fast rule to who plans the date, taking turns is simply a fun suggestion. Do what works best for YOUR relationship. What matters most is what you’re fostering, pleasurable time together & a strong connection.
Whatever you choose, it needs to be something you both find enjoyable. It’s totally okay (& sometimes recommended) to choose primarily for your partners enjoyment, but choosing something you can’t stand can backfire. Your partner will want you to have a good time too, in fact, the whole point is to connect while having a good time. So choose something that feels good to you & that you can imagine will be interesting or exciting to them. If your partner chooses an experience you end up not enjoying very much, focus on being grateful for the risk they took in stepping into uncharted territory & be honest but acknowledge them for taking the risk. You can choose to feel rewarded simply in the act of risk taking, rather than weighing it all by how well (or not) you think it worked out for you.
Turn off distractions. This is extremely important. This is not the time to allow the alerts to pop up on your phone or to keep checking your email. Set aside at least a couple to a few hours for your date time (decide ahead of time, be clear with your partner) & for that time allowing distractions is off limits. Sometimes the phone may need to be left on for possible unexpected emergencies (childcare) but that aside, keep to a commitment of ignoring the phone & eliminating distractions. In our newly created A.D.H.D. world it may take some time to get used to creating sacred space. If one of you gets distracted, rather than being frustrated, be patient & loving & just ask for the date space back.
Set your relationship up for success. If you don’t already have a regularly scheduled date time, discuss creating one with your partner. Make an agreement & set the time & space for a weekly, biweekly (every two weeks) or at a minimum, a monthly date. In general, quality versus quantity is best, so just take on what you can realistically commit to. Set your intention with each other around what benefits you want this to create in your relationship & use date time to create them!
Share this article with your partner so you’re both on the same page. Have fun experimenting with what works for the two of you!
Please leave a comment below! Let me know how the talk with your partner goes & also how the first follow up date was! You never know how sharing your experience may inspire others & help shift their relationship too!
To greater connection, hotter sparks & more warm fuzzies!
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday!
Speaking of holidays…
The Holiday Season can include both highs & lows for many couples. There can be surges of joy & other times waves of stress or sadness can come up.
It’s extremely important for the health of your relationship that you & your partner know how to best help each other manage your stress responses.
Here’s some guidance on how to stay connected with your partner & manage some of the potential holiday stress during this busy season!
3 Tips for handling stress as a couple
1) How do each of you deal with stress? If you’re in relationship you’re “in this together”. When stress comes up for either one of you, think about folding in together, NOT outwards separately (managing solo). Be aware & notice if one of you is beginning to feel stressed, or low on personal resources & then work together to create a shift.
What to do: Folding In together is when you reach out & lean on each other. Utilizing each other to feel comforted, secure & ultimately, better! Give/receive support as much as needed. Use things like a few minutes of eye contact, hugging, mini back or foot rubs. You can take over a task for them & suggest they take a break. Encouraging words can also be helpful.
Tip: Make a point to make a physical connection, it helps reset the nervous system in a unique & powerful way (yes, it’s scientific!). An effective hug works wonders. Give & receive an effective hug by hugging long enough for you both to relax. You have a shared nervous system when you’re in a partnership. When one of you isn’t doing well, both of you are affected. All the more reason to become skilled at helping each other manage stress!
2) Be aware that sometimes with additional applied stress (like the hustle & bustle of the season), can come less personal resources. You or your partner may feel more emotional than normal or be more easily irritated. As stress goes up & resources go down, tension can occur & it can be easy to automatically head to your own corners or come out swinging. If an issue presents itself, remember that whatever your ‘beef’ is with your partner, it may or may not be as big of a deal as it seems in that moment. When one or both of you are heightened (nervous system is stressed) it can feel much bigger or more important than it really is.
What to do: If stress shows up as an ‘issue’ with your partner, do your best to stay loving & centered in the present moment (no ‘always’ & ‘never’ statements). If you’re overwhelmed or low on resources it’s absolutely appropriate (& highly recommended) to ‘shelf’ the issue until you’re feeling stronger & more resourceful.
Tip: Take an intentional break. Decide to talk about things at a set and agreed upon time. Before you take the break, hug until you both relax. It’s okay if you’re upset, hug anyway. This is very important as it helps your nervous system reset before you move away from each other. It helps your body/mind/spirit know that all is well & establishes the partnership as the #1 priority, which creates security for you both. Care should be taken with breaks, as they could be misconstrued as leaving & feel more like abandonment than breathing room.
3) Are BOTH of you low on resources & stressed out at the exact same time? Unfortunately sometimes this happens. That’s often when a breakdown, argument or even a full on meltdown occurs.
What to do: Best case, one of you can stay grounded enough to reach out & connect. You can say something like, “let’s revisit this when we’re more resourceful”. If you’ve ended up aways down the fighting path put a stop to it, disengage. Create some space. Notice the difference between disconnect & disengage. The goal is to stay connected but disengaged from the fighting mind. Hugs & that agreement to ‘work things out soon’ work well here. Keep your agreement on when to reconnect on the issue.
Tip: Make an agreement (in advance) of how you will show up with each other when you’re both out of resources & have little or nothing to give. If the best you can do is to huddle together & shut the world out for a short time, so be it! (sometimes, a cuddle huddle & a movie does wonders!)
No matter what, it’s crucial to stick together (like superglue!). You’re the best asset & resource for one another. A sustained love connection & a friendly support system is essential for a thriving relationship & it will make ALL the difference in how you handle the stress of ‘life’!
Remember: When stressed, fold together rather than apart!
Use these 3 tips to bulletproof your holiday season!