5 ROUTINES YOU CAN ADOPT TODAY FOR A HEALTHIER RELATIONSHIP
Forming deep and lasting relationships with our spouse is hard work, especially in todays time-poor world. Work-life balance is a great idea that seems just out of reach. Most of us wish we had more time, but what we really need is more direction. Direction gives us clarity and a target to aim for in our relationships. Direction also helps us define a better future to strive for. Here are a five routines you can adopt today for a healthier relationship.
Most couples are starved for time to spend together, and dinner may be the only time of the day when we can reconnect. Dinner is a time to relax, recharge, tell stories and catch up on the day’s events. These regular meals together create a sacred space for us to talk. The dinner table becomes a place of community. Sharing a meal is one of the best times in our busy lives where we can happily put aside our work and take time for meaningful uninterrupted conversation. Research reveals that when couples prepare a meal together at home they eat healthier and form a deeper emotional bond. Healthy couples commit to a routine of regular meals together at home.
Tip: Plan at least 4 meals a week that you eat together as a couple (or family). Make this a family tradition. By planning ahead you will set yourself up for success and have more meaningful regular conversation.
Three quarters of couples go to bed at different times according to a longitudinal study by a group of marriage and family therapists in the Northeast. When we are not on the same schedule we miss out on a prime time to connect at a deeper level. Another study showed that irregular and infrequent sleep patterns of couples lead to higher irritability, lack of cognitive awareness and constant fatigue. When we’re on opposite or different schedules conflict goes up. We actually are less compassionate because we are in a hyper-state of ‘fight or flight’ due to lack of proper rest. Turning the lights off at the same time can keep our emotional connection on and help us stay connected as a couple. Healthy couples go to bed together at the same time.
Tip: Remove all technology from your bedroom and create a pre-bedtime routine. Schedule meals and exercise during the day, so that you are properly tired in the evening. You will increase your intimacy and physical connection.
A growing body of evidence suggests that couples who sweat together really do stay together. In fact, working out and playing together increases our satisfaction and overall sense of fulfillment in our relationships and helps us bond with our partner in deeper and more meaningful ways. It is the physiological arousal, rather than the novelty or challenge of the activity, that drives romantic attraction. Recent research also suggests that sharing a fitness goal (training for a race or a hike), taking regular walks together, participating in a dance class or having a date night at the gym can boost the quality of our romantic relationship. Healthy couples make it a point to have intentional fun together via exercise.
Tip: Set a goal of working out or walking together at least 3 times a week. Make it fun, engaging and a part of your weekly routine. You will be happier, healthier and more connected.
According to a 2012 study by the Gallup Organization, it’s estimated that only 4% of couples pray together. The most interesting finding from the Gallup study revealed that when couples shared religious practices at home (like reading the Bible and praying together) the level of marital satisfaction grew exponentially. When we have a shared spirituality shared as a couple it has strong impact on how satisfied we will be in our marriage. Committing to daily and weekly rhythms of spiritual practices that are shared seems like common sense, yet few couples actually make this a priority. Healthy couples connect together spiritually on a regular basis.
Tip: Start your day priming yourself first thing in the morning by sharing 3 things you are grateful for and pray for each other and the day ahead. You will be on the same page spiritually and emotionally.
Serving together creates a shared experience that unifies, inspires and refocuses us as a couple. When we actively serve people who are less fortunate or volunteer our time in a worthy cause, we experience an added closeness and intimacy. We also create memories that strengthen our spiritual and emotional bond. Working side-by-side in our local communities, churches or other organizations is more than an investment in our relationship, it is an opportunity for creating real change in the world. Serving others also helps put our issues in perspective. When we’re focused on others we are less likely to obsess over minor conflicts inner own lives. Healthy couples find ways to actively serve together in a cause that really matters.
Tip: Find a place or project where you can serve together as a couple. Schedule it at least once a quarter. You will discover a shared passion and a common goal that will unite you as a couple.
All five of these routines will help us form a deeper and more meaningful relationship with our spouse. By putting them into practice we will strengthen our emotional, physical and spiritual connection. Commit to adopting at least one of the routines above today. Your relationship is worth it.
Scott River Lodge is a boutique farm-to-table retreat destination located in the Majestic Mountains of Northern California. Our unique programming and accommodations are designed to create space for busy couples to reconnect with each other and with God. Contact us today to find out about this seasons availability.