Do You Know How to Bridge that Great Divide?

Late last winter I met with one couple who were very distant from one another. Interestingly, they weren’t fighting very often (but did from time to time)!  They were however, so disconnected from one another that it was as if they lived in separate homes.  They had two young children and yet had been married for quite a few years already.

Parallel Worlds

In many ways, they weren’t very different from many young couples.  Both worked full-time, were excellent parents who were mostly on the same page, and actually had some family rituals that they occasionally followed. However, they spent almost no time alone with one another.  And for quite a while, this was not a huge problem.  Both truly felt like they were roommates, and had a (successful) business partnership of running a family. What was somewhat unique about this couple is that they had relatively little conflict with one another.  They did not argue very much.  Over time though, their lack of closeness did start to weigh on them (which caused them to come in for couples counseling).

Commitment to Change

At the beginning, while both acknowledged that while they were great business partners, each of them truly desired more.  They both wanted to become more connected and feel closer like they originally felt before having kids. Both partners were actually very relieved to discover that they each actually wanted more.  They feared somehow that successful “business partners” was as good as the relationship would get.  So they each made a commitment to work hard, put energy into the relationship, and strive to regain the closeness they once had.

No Magic Wand

After preparing this couple that while the first step was agreeing to put in the work to rebuild their connection, I made sure they knew that it wasn’t going to happen overnight.  After being disconnected for more than a few years, I reminded them that it was going to take consistency and some time to become close again.  The first step was a small one.  This couple agreed to my recommendation of carving out a minimum of 5 minutes per day (after the kids went to bed) of simply sharing their day with one another.  Over time this grew to almost 30 minutes a night.  Additionally, they committed to having a date night no less than twice per month.  Each took turns planning the date night.  Along the way we went over some basic communication skills and the importance of no longer criticizing one another (to learn more about how harmful criticism is to a relationship, go here).  This couple gradually became more and more connected.

Nice To Meet You (Again)!

It took a bit less than two months and this couple did become reconnected and felt a level of closeness that was similar to what they once had.  After spending more quality time together and sharing more of the meaningful parts of their lives with one another, their sex life improved as well.  They both agreed to keep their dedicated time together (including date nights) and committed to continue to put energy into remaining connected with one another.

Summing Up These 3 Steps:

1.  Communicate Your Desire to become closer!  Don’t simply assume that your partner “should just know.”  Stating your intentions can actually make a HUGE difference.

2.  Commit to a Minimum Amount of Time Together each day.  Slowly increase time together as you both become more comfortable.

3.  Take Turns Planning Date Nights.  Commit to a consistent schedule and aim for a minimum of one date night each month.


Comments are closed.