In a fast-paced world, where the demands of work, caring for children, managing bills, and coping with everyday stressors often overwhelm our lives, it can be challenging for many couples to find moments to connect and be together.
That’s why it holds such significance for us to cherish the precious moments we have alone, even if they are as brief as ten minutes or extend to a whole hour. We consulted with experts in the field of relationships, and they shared valuable insights on what content and joyful couples do before they retire for the night to nurture their relationships. Let’s explore their wisdom.
01 Expressing Affection:
“No matter how arduous the day may have been, no matter the quirks that may have grated on your nerves, or the apprehension about the day to come, it’s crucial to make the conscious effort to convey your love for your partner. Instead of relegating it to the final sigh of the night, articulate your feelings sincerely.” — Insights from Psychologist Ryan Howes.
02 Synchronizing Bedtimes:
“Regrettably, numerous couples go to bed at separate times, thereby missing out on the opportunity to communicate and reconnect after spending the day apart. Conversely, content couples make it a priority to reconvene at bedtime, even if it’s solely to perform their evening routines of tooth-brushing and sliding beneath the covers. The act of retiring together not only fosters closeness but also offers an avenue to rekindle emotional intimacy.” — Insights from Kurt Smith, a counselor specializing in aiding men.
03 Detaching from Screens:
“Our lives are ensnared in the web of technology, which often infringes on the time couples could otherwise spend conversing, cuddling, or simply being in proximity to one another. When your partner is engrossed in their devices, it can feel as though they’ve exited the room, making you sense their absence.
In my therapeutic practice, couples have devised strategies to counteract the intrusion of screens, such as setting rules like ‘no phone usage after 9 p.m.’ or ‘no phones in bed.’ These boundaries help deter dopamine-induced distractions that suppress oxytocin and facilitate couples feeling close throughout the following day.” — Insights from Kari Carroll, a marriage counselor.
04 Prioritizing Sleep:
“Though it might not exude romance, ensuring a restful night’s sleep is a pivotal pillar of preserving mental well-being, which, in turn, heightens emotional accessibility during the day.
If sleep proves elusive, consider consulting a professional to develop healthy sleep patterns.” — Advice from Michele Weiner-Davis, therapist and author of ‘Divorce Busting.’
05 Gratitude Ritual:
“Research indicates that gratitude cultivates positive emotions and enhances cognitive functioning. So, why not share this experience with one another? Conclude the day on a positive note by expressing gratitude for something you appreciate about each other or a joyful occurrence from the day.” — Insights from Ryan Howes.
06 Delaying Conflict Resolution:
“It might seem counterintuitive, but content couples refrain from delving into intricate problem-solving discussions before bedtime. The adage ‘Don’t let the sun set on your anger’ isn’t always the best approach.
It’s unwise to tackle contentious issues, especially those that lead to disagreements, when you’re fatigued and low on patience at the close of the day. Many couples erroneously engage in arguments during this time when they should be drawing closer instead.” — Advice from Kurt Smith.
07 Sharing Daily Experiences:
“The happiest couples engage in conversations about external aspects of their lives and provide an opportunity for their partners to vent. This doesn’t entail a pessimistic dialogue throughout the evening, but it does entail dedicating 15 to 30 minutes to unwind and fortify your relationship by empathizing with your partner’s external relationships and experiences.
In my practice, I help couples lend an ear to their partner’s concerns without feeling compelled to provide solutions. Often, this chance to be heard provides the strength to confront the challenges of the coming day.” — Insights from Kari Carroll.
08 Creating a Child-Free Zone:
“Your bedroom should be a sanctuary where you and your partner feel secure and close. While children might seek solace in your bed due to dreams or illness, if you wish to maintain intimacy and privacy, it’s important to establish boundaries and encourage them to remain in their own rooms. In order to preserve your connection, couples require both space and limits.” — Guidance from Michele Weiner-Davis.