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All throughout our lives we are coached on the subject of establishing good and healthy habits for ourselves like: making our bed, brushing our teeth, eating well. But even with all that coaching and effort, keeping up with a habit can sometimes prove to be a serious struggle. In addition, we have likely developed some unhealthy habits along the way, which we now seek to hopefully break. To be clear, habits are behaviors, routines, or rituals that a person does on a regular basis; sometimes they seem to develop naturally, and other times we have to put forth intentional effort.
While we may often think of habits with regards to lifestyle, another area of life that can greatly benefit from healthy habits is our relationships, and specifically marriage! Especially in this time of change and stress, when many of us have transitioned to working from home, it is more important than ever to find ways to feel connected to one another. Healthy habits offer structure and consistency, and when shared with another person, they can create a bond or a sense of we-ness that becomes reinforced every time we engage in a habit together. The good news is you likely already have a few healthy habits happening in your relationship/marriage.
Wondering how to recognize them? Here are a few questions to guide you:
Hopefully these questions were able to help you recognize at least one or two habits of connection shared between you and your spouse/SO! But what relationship wouldn’t benefit from having more moments like these every day or week? So, here are three ways to create some healthy habits of connection in your marriage:
1. Do something for your spouse/SO, consistently.
This could be something like making them a cup of tea each evening, or coffee in the morning while they get ready for work. Or it could be a weekly ritual, such as filling up their car with gas or taking the car through the car wash each weekend. The point is that it’s something small they could do for themselves, but the fact that you do it for them routinely will make you both feel good and connected.
2. Consume content together.
Given that many of us are largely confined to our homes for extended periods of time these days, we are likely watching, reading, and listening to quite a bit of content each day. I would like to encourage you to find something you both enjoy (t.v. show, a new book, a weekly podcast) and reserve it as the thing you consume together. The point here is to resist the inclination to binge things in isolation, and redirect that time toward connection. This gives you something to regularly look forward to as a couple, and provides the opportunity for shared experiences.
3. Establish a parting ritual.
Develop something you can do each time you part ways – from going to each person’s corner of the house for work, to walking out the door for work each morning. For some, a standard kiss and “I love you” will suffice, but I would like to encourage you to make it as personal and unique as your relationship is; allow yourselves the freedom to be a little quirky and weird. This phrase or touch should be something that makes you both feel good, seen, and cared for.
I hope this process of identifying and creating habits of connection in your marriage leads you to feel more satisfied and connected to one another in addition to gaining some structure and consistency in your daily lives!