Marriage: 6 Tips For Staying Connected

Ski Slope in morning

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I sat beside my hubby thirty feet above the ground, a blanket of snow glittering beneath us. As the chairlift moved us upward, I glanced over at the man I’ve shared the last twenty years of my life with. I know him, I love him, but we don’t always have time to connect. When I looked at him, I was convicted by the thought that we hadn’t connected on a soul-level all week.

Yes, there were good reasons, including a three day business trip. But are they good reasons…..really?

Mountains Majesty

The boys are easy for me to connect with. They insert themselves into my days whenever they aren’t at school.  We find reasons to laugh together. At times, our tempers flare with each other. But they like cuddles and hugs and we make time to talk. They share their days with me.

My eyes were opened on this ski trip. I should’ve put the pieces together before this, but I didn’t.

Ski slope

I now understand why it’s easy/comfortable for moms to put their children’s relationships before what should be their most important relationship—with their husbands. Children need us, but they also engage with us and fill us in the process.

Peter Boarding

The men in the family often work long hard hours, investing themselves into their work. They come home to a whole new set of demands. Most men do their best to be honorable husbands and fathers. To invest themselves into their children. And into their wives. Though this may be harder when they see their wives pouring out energy into the kids and saving none for him.

As wives we’re called to invest in the lives of our children. To train them up, teach them, encourage them, love them well. It’s hardwired into most women to do this, so it’s not pure drudgery.

Okay . . . not most of the time.

Edmund boarding

But our husbands need just as much, if not more, of us than our children do. They need to know we love them. And one way we show that is by connecting with them.

As wives, we must choose our husbands over our children. To be purposeful in creating connecting times in our marriages. Yes, I’m speaking to myself too. It’s too easy to let this relationship slip. Especially when our interactions with our husbands don’t feel as rewarding as when we share special moments with our kids.

Mountain beauty

We live in a hurry-up society. We must choose to slow down, to take time and focus all our attention on our men on a regular basis.

Here are a few thoughts for doing this:

  1. We must choose. To make connecting time with our husbands possible, we must set aside other things. Maybe turn off the television and sit together on the couch, or do something, together. Say no to your kids for a little while. I promise they won’t turn into teenagers that fast. And, they’ll see you making your husband a priority, which  teaches them far more than our words of instruction ever could.
  2. Date our husbands. You heard me. Dating didn’t end when we said, “I do.”  Our relationships grow when we spend time together—just the two of us. And no, you’re not allowed to talk about the kids. Well . . . not much anyway.
  3. Put the kids to bed early once a week and have dinner, just the two of us. So we can talk about what’s going on in each other’s lives.Half built cabin
  4. Do something with your husband that he loves doing. When I talked with my husband about this “revelation,” he showed me that he felt connected to me when we skied together. You know what? So did I.
  5. This may sound crazy. But connect by love language. First, you need to know your spouse’s love language. I’m a words of affirmation gal. My man? He’s an acts of service guy. I feel connected with him when we talk. He feels connected when we’re serving together—at home or elsewhere.
  6. Pray together. Daily. Praying together connects us on a spiritual level with our husbands. And it deepens our hearts for each other.

Holding Hands

When I realized I was finding it easier to connect with our boys than with my man, I told him we needed a date night. We’ve gotten out of this habit. I’m planning to get us back into it.

What about you? If you’re married, what makes you feel connected with your spouse? If you’re single, how do nurture those relationships that are important to you? What would you add to this list?

***I will not be blogging on Friday this week. I’ll look forward to seeing you back here next Tuesday!***

Advertisements

22 thoughts on “Marriage: 6 Tips For Staying Connected

  1. Great post, Jeanne. Spot on.

    What I would add is to maintain touch, physical touch. I’m not necessarily talking about sex, though I suppose that might be included.

    It’s important to hold hands, to caress a shoulder while watching by, to sit close on the sofa while watching television. Even if it’s something a man will not initiate…do it anyway. Trust me, he’ll appreciate it.

    And hugs. Spontaneous hugs. Even if he never gives you one, don’t keep score. Give them anyway.

    This is one thing I’ve lost through illness. My very skin hurts, and I even have to wear very loose-fitting clothes to avoid contact. Clearly, touch in marriage is something that’s largely gone by the boards, and you would not believe how isolated that makes one’s heart feel.

    Like

    • You bring up a great point, Andrew. The value of physical touch in a relationship. Those hugs, caresses to a shoulder, and holding hands affirm each other. I hadn’t thought about how it makes one feel isolated. But that fits. At times we connect through touch in a deeper way than words can convey. Thanks for adding this!

      Like

  2. This is a great post. It’s especially hard if your husband tends to be the silent type — and a lot of men are. And I tend to sit around and wish he would hug me more. I need to stop that right now and give him hugs instead. 🙂

    Like

    • Yes, please give him hugs, and please excuse his silence. It often will mean he simply does not know what to say.

      I’m the worst of all possible worlds…an Asian, and a combat veteran whose MOS required extreme self-reliance and above all, silence. For me to say more than a hundred words in a day is a big deal, and I have never been a ‘hugger’, to put it mildly.

      But I have tried, and will continue to try, because it IS important.

      Liked by 1 person

    • You remind me of the importance of taking the initiative. My hubby told me early in our relationship that he didn’t read minds. So, if I needed something, I needed to let him know. I’ve had to remind myself of that. 🙂 And as you share, sometimes we need to initiate for those things that we need, eh? I’m so glad you stopped by today.

      Like

  3. Jeanne, it’s great advice like you’ve shared here that has helped my husband and I grow closer and closer during our three decades of marriage. I couldn’t agree more that couples should keep dating after marriage. A date can be as simple as a walk in the woods together. It’s affordable and low in calories too.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

    Like

  4. Good word, Jeanne. I find that my man needs respect more than he needs love. The book Love and Respect, by Emerson Eggerich radically changed our marriage. Who knew that the more he experienced respect from me the more he would demonstrate love toward me. And, the more loved I felt the more empowered I became to respect him in return. A good vicious circle to find yourselves in. (See you SOON!)

    Like

    • Mary, I think you’re right. Men are hard-wired to need respect. And to have “love” look like respect. 🙂 Love and Respect is a great book, isn’t it? I still think that we need to make sure we are connecting regularly with our men. And, as you’re sharing, respect plays a huge role in how well that connecting goes. 🙂 See you soon!

      Like

  5. I think being intentional is key. Right now, Frank works long hours and one day on the weekends. This means we have limited time to debrief, talk “business,” and connect. Plus, Bea is thrown into the mix! It’s definitely stressful, but knowing love-languages helps. The whole physical touch – holding hands, sitting close on the couch, family “huggers” (as Bea calls them) relieve so much tension! Love your practical ideas, too!

    Like

    • You (we) are in that crazy season of life where children need so much of you. Couple that with two working parents and connecting can become elusive. I’m so glad you and Frank have found the ways to connect that really work for you!

      Like

  6. Great insight Jeanne! One thing that has been good for us is laughing together and being “silly” together to create moments of laughter. We have a few silly routines that are fun and create connecting moments throughout the day. Of course, for us, kids are grown, so it’s more time for us together. Connecting keeps togetherness together no matter where we find it in our marriage. Chuckle!

    Like

  7. Having been married for over 42 years I can think of two strong points that have been essential in our lasting relationship: praying together and attentiveness of each other. My wife and I pray together daily. Included in that is our prayers for each other. It is an open expression of love and concern that cannot be achieved unless we are actually aware of each other’s needs, hurts, and desires. We are instinctively conscious of each other’s presence regardless whether we’re together or apart.

    Like

    • Gene, 42 years. . . what a testimony. I agree with you. Praying together is one of the most—if not the—most important thing we can do together. And so true—in order to pray effectively together, we need to know what’s really going on with our spouse. Thanks for adding this!!

      Like

Comments are closed.