This is the time of year when so many people feel motivated to create new habits and undo some bad ones. There is something about putting away all the remnants of the festivities that that brings us back to “real life” and causes us to consider the areas of our lives that need a major overhaul—like a less than ideal marriage. While this can feel overwhelming, it really can be as simple as thinking about how to reconnect with your spouse.
You’ve likely already spent time and energy trying to talk about things that aren’t working well, but to no end or resolution. If the dysfunction has gone on long enough, you probably can’t even pinpoint the problem anymore; it simply all feels like a tangled mess that you don’t have the words to explain. Reconnecting with your spouse can feel daunting.
When it sounds overwhelming, or even impossible, to imagine overhauling your marriage, it might help to reframe how you are thinking about your situation and shift your focus from what was and is, to what your marriage can become. If you think about it, marriage is the place in which you are the most deeply challenged to consider who you are and who you want to be. Let that be the filter for your motivation to seek change and deepen your relationship with your spouse.
As you head into a new year, take this opportunity to take stock of your relationship. Where is your relationship headed? Is it headed where you want it to go? Are you intentionally giving your relationship vital nutrients to help it flourish? What do you need to do to create safety, trust, intimacy, and connection?
HOW TO RECONNECT WITH YOUR SPOUSE
Here are a few suggestions for how to deepen your connection with your spouse:
- Be intentional about thinking and behaving in ways that build connection. Are you making room for your spouse to be free to be themselves? Do you allow them to voice their concerns, hopes, and thoughts? Do you fall back into self-protective mode? Self-protection is the opposite of intimacy.
The greater your self-protection, the less your spouse can connect with you. Break the self-protection by showing up authentically, inviting conversation that makes room for both voices, and resolving conflict in ways that prioritize staying connected.
- Figure out what is underlying your anger and deal with it. Anger management has nothing to do with what others are doing to make you angry. It has everything to do with addressing your own internal environment. Dig up the roots of whatever it is you feel entitled to be angry about. What are you fighting for? What are you fighting against?
No one can fix your anger but you. A healthy relationship requires deeply rooted peace for there to be deeply rooted connection.
- Evaluate your internal filter. What are your automatic, unspoken responses to your spouse? Nonverbal cues have a greater impact on a relationship than spoken words, which makes it important to evaluate what you are “saying” with your facial expressions and posture.
In a healthy relationship, both nonverbal and verbal reactions are mostly positive. Take an inventory of your gut responses to your spouse. Do they tend toward the negative, such as fear, suspicion, self-protection, or anxiety? Or are they more positively oriented, such as affirming, curious, and inviting?
- Make room for your spouse to share thoughts, opinions, perceptions, and needs. This is the most foundational way trust is built (or rebuilt) in a relationship. Consistently protect your spouse’s “space” by hearing, validating, asking curious questions, and being okay with differences. Make room for your spouse to be, speak, act, and think how he or she wants to.
If you want love to be the foundation of your relationship, you have to sow what will reap love. If you choose actions that invite authentic communication, intimacy, and connection, you make it easy for your spouse to choose to love you. You can reconnect with your spouse in a meaningful way.
If you feel disconnected from your spouse, give us a call and let us help you deepen your connection! Contact our Client Care team here or call us at (206) 219-0145 to get started.