Once the kids are in bed you flop down next to your spouse and ask, “How was your day?” They reply, “Good.” They may go into detail or they may not. You may forget that you even asked the question while zoning out.
This person that you’re building a life with is pretty important. You know that. But after a long work day, getting the kids bathed and in bed, plus cleaning up the house a bit, your left with little energy to connect with your spouse. The same goes for them, too. You love each other, but you’re working parents. You’re exhausted.
Regardless of your energy levels, you need each other. You’re in this life together until death do you part. So to help strengthen your bond here are six ways you can connect with your spouse regardless of how exhausted you are from your quadruple workload.
Ask Open-Ended Questions to Invoke Conversation
A close-ended question will result in a one-word response like “Okay” or “Fine”. We may use it as a warm-up for an in-depth conversation we’d like to start but instead, skip it. Get straight to the point and don’t waste your time and energy.
First, get your spouse’s attention, especially if they’ve already zoned out with electronics. Look them in the eyes, say hi, and then use the language of love. Go in for the kiss! Ah, now we’re talking! Contact has been made.
Now, hook them into the conversation and ask a question like, “What was the best part of your day today?” to get them talking about something that excited instead of what stressed them out. Another question you could as is “What was your most important encounter today?” to learn who they connected with and what that was like.
Then, the most important part, listen with all your heart. Resist the urge to pick up your phone and mute the T.V. if you must. Leave the spotlight on them for as long as possible to shower them with attention.
Use the Language of Love
Words are not the only way to connect with your spouse after a long day. If you don’t have the energy for a love-fest there are alternatives. You could have a long hug when you first see each other. When you feel like letting go, hug for a few more seconds and feel the connection between your hearts. Feels good, doesn’t it? Or give your spouse some really good kisses all night when they least expect it! You haven’t seen each other in over eight hours. Show them some love!
If this public display of affection bothers the kids physically make contact in discreet ways. You could hold hands while watching T.V. or walk hand in hand while taking the kids out for a walk. If your spouse is doing the dishes (yippee!), go up behind them and put your arms around them. This might feel funny, but that’s part of the game of love, right? Another idea is while on your tablets or laptops, touch their feet or legs with their feet.
Reminisce About the Good Old Days
If you don’t feel like hashing out your day talk about a specific funny or loving memory you shared. For example, you can ask, “Do you remember that time in Hawaii when we both felt sick during our first helicopter ride?” Then enjoy the trip down memory lane.
Reminiscing takes you away from the stress of the daily grind. It sends you back to happier time and thus gives you a burst of energy when you need it most, at the end of your day. You’ll feel grateful you were able to have that experience with your spouse. Your past has helped bring you both to where you are today.
Go to Bed Early – Together
Recoup from a tiring day by getting into bed early and at the same time. So get ready for the next day together like making coffee, putting out breakfast or packing lunches together. Then brush your teeth and get frisky or cuddle. You know, just be silly! Then jump under the covers and snuggle.
Snuggle time makes you feel secure and love. At the end of the day all you want it a bit of affection from your spouse, right? No words need, just getting warm and comfortable to prepare for a good night sleep.
Smile at Each Other Often
Let’s say you come home in a bad mood. Although your spouse had nothing to do with that we tend to take out our frustrations on those we care about the most. With this perspective in mind, if you want to get over this bad mood and be able to connect with your spouse in a positive way, smile at them.
Psychologist and facial coding expert, Paul Ekman, discovered that if you smile with both your lips and eyes, even if it’s fake, it’ll put you in a better mood. Also, since we are wired to be social if your spouse sees you smiling, they can’t resist by smile back. Put this in your toolkit when you want to get your spouse out of their bad mood!
Start a Bucket List Together
What do you want to do before you die? What does your spouse what to do before they die? After the kids are asleep start your bucket list. How many similar things do you want to accomplish?
This conversation connects you by dreaming about possibilities. These things don’t have to be done this weekend. They are goals you’d like to accomplish within your lifetime. This perspective takes the pressure off checking off the list and instead you dream together. Making plans this way can excite you both and give you another burst of energy at the end of a long day.
At the End of the Day, Don’t Forget Your Marriage
Your marriage needs your attention. Not your undivided attention, and perhaps not every day. But your spouse is part of the reason why you work. The two of you make a team who supports your family and the lifestyle you enjoy. Making time to nurture this relationship must be a priority. with these tips, you’ll be sure to connect with your spouse even after the toughest of work days.
By Elizabeth McGrory