Imagine you are in a long-term marriage and worry how you live in the next 20 years together after retirement? Many families realize that they have been so busy with outward demands so that they forgot their relationship. Below are some steps to help you refresh your emotional connection and closeness.
You want to stay in the marriage but do not want to keep living together the way you have been. You have on one hand been feeling empty and alone and on the other hand you still value the relationship and all you have shared. What can you do to rekindle intimacy and friendship?
Tip 1. Clarify how you envision spending the next twenty years.
The right time is now to start finding out from each other what your vision is of the future as individuals and as a couple.
Mary envisioned that after she and John retired they would travel, go to museums, perhaps volunteer together, visit the grandchildren more often. John envisioned being able to sleep in every morning, staying up late, playing golf, watching TV and having no commitments and structure. When they looked at their different visions they saw that if they did not find solutions so that both would be OK the distance between them would continue to grow.
Tip 2. Put rekindling your relationship on top of the list.
Stay away from blaming each other for the intimacy gap and the emotional distance that you feel and focus on how can you reconnect with each other. Change can only happen through taking action in the present.
Tip 3. Structure in connecting time.
We are all creatures of habit and unless we consciously focus on making changes we keep doing the same things over and over. Unless you structure in some connecting time with each other you will continue to lead solitary lives. As emotional connection grows intimacy follows.
Tip 4. Find something both of you can enjoy doing together.
Mildred and Paul began volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. Glenn and Amy took up birdwatching. You want to be respectful of your individual differences and interests while at the same time find something that you both enjoy doing together. It is through sharing things that relationships deepen.
Tip 5 Accept each other with your shortcomings
As in every relationship you no doubt have weathered many up and downs. This is the time to move forward in appreciating your essence and acknowledging what you like about each other.
Tip 6. Speak up about what matters to you.
Your partner is not a mind reader. I have heard so often: He,she should know by now what I like. If you want to reconnect emotionally use your voice so your partner really gets who you are.
Tip 7. Have fun together
Think back to when you first met and the fun you had together. You felt light and joyful. Start lightening up in the present and you will be surprised how much easier it is to see what you like about your spouse and about yourself. You will see that some things are not worth getting upset about and other things need to be addressed and resolved. Finding solutions is easier with a lighter heart.