by Laura Olsen
Prioritizing your partner and reclaiming the couple you used to be
It seems like mere minutes after the alarm, you’re on your way.
Hurrying, you run the daily checklist in your head.
You forgot something.
Worse, you forgot someone.
Rushing into work, you review the previous hour.
What color was your partner wearing this morning?
Did you steal a hug or kiss before you grabbed your coffee and eyed the clock?
Did you smile; say “I love you” or “good-bye”?
Did you say anything, as you snatched your stuff and dashed for the door?
Life is hectic; our days start too early and run too late.
And too often our relationships pay the price.
Consider a few key ways to help put your relationship back at the top of your list:
- Be smarter than your phone. Make your technology work for your relationship not against it. Take an occasional break from smartphone productivity apps and use a few moments to plug into your partner. In the palm of your hand, you have the power to make date night reservations, send love texts, share random “selfies”, or leave encouraging voicemails during the day. Send an instant message that says, “You’re on my mind.”
- Pencil-in your partner. Undivided attention is hard to come by in this day and age and it won’t happen in your relationship unless you coordinate it. People plan what matters to them. Learning to prioritize your relationship daily is key to protecting it from the demands of work, family, and the ever-present draw of the Internet. Actually seeing your partner’s name on the calendar or pop up in a scheduler alert reminds you to save some energy for your time together. Plan your playtime; schedule the sitter, mute the phone, turn off the computer. This is important.
- Re-build your relationship brand. Jack and Jill are known for that trip up the hill. Fred and Ginger for their flair on the dance floor. Remember when your friends and family only referred to you as part of a couple? Do you miss the days when certain places and activities were your “thing” and everybody knew it? See yourself as a companion and a best friend again. Review those old photos, visit old haunts, recall your best days as a couple. Call up friends and family and have some fun; get together, be seen together, do more life together.
- Don’t be afraid to job-share. Get it all done, just do it as a team. Resist the urge to attack your mountain of tasks alone. Be there for each other, whether it’s a trip to the market or a stack of bills. Make household routines a chance to connect; take a moment to hold hands under the dishwater or snap each other with freshly laundered towels. That crazy pace you maintain is your own relay to win — if you run it together. At the end of the day, share the victory of defeated chores and errands with a high five and a little energy left for more intimate rewards.
- Set up your own relationship “mood meetings.” To be happy, you may have to spend some time dealing with the unhappy emotions. Any underlying anger, resentment, rejection, or grief between you deserves dedicated time and attention. Honesty and connectedness can be yours the more you discuss your feelings and your relationship specifically. How are you really doing as a couple? Are you feeling distant or lonely? Do you need support or the opportunity to be more supportive of your partner? The assistance of a couple’s therapist is a valuable tool if you need more help.
Life can be hectic.
Your days may start early and your nights may run late.
Just remember, to look up.
Make time to reach out.
You’re not in this alone.
I invite you to contact me at 212.500.0856 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you might have about Couples Counseling NYC.