Are you too busy to make your relationship work?


Is one eye on your tablet when your eyes should be locked on your partner?


Is one ear attached to your phone, checking voicemails, while the other is “listening” to the challenges of your spouse’s day?


Relationships don’t do so well when they are just another item on your to-do list. 


Relationships need time and undivided attention. 


Your relationship needs you.


But how can you possibly stay a step ahead of the hectic schedules, family responsibilities, career pressures, and the long list of other tasks or chores that demand your time?


First, catch a breath. 


Put down the planner.  Set aside the smartphone. 


Now, tackle this to-do list for how to step back into your relationship, prioritize your connection, and get busy at home:


1. Step Up to the Plate. 


Commit.  Lately your devotion may have been a bit misplaced.  It’s easy to get caught up in the “have-tos” and “must-dos” of daily life.  You begin to believe that you can put your relationship on autopilot, that it will be there when you get to it.


Too many people discover otherwise too late. 


But you can choose differently.  Be the first one to step up to the plate.


Show your partner that nothing; no duty, errand, or obligation will be allowed to erode your connection.


Tell him or her that you’re willing to do what it takes to win at love.


2. Step Back So You Can Plan Ahead.


Reserve relationship time.  Step away from your desk.  Call a friend or sitter for the kids.  Mute the alarms, alerts, and reminders that distract you from each other. 


Use hearts or a bold font on your calendar to signal playtime, cuddle time, date nights, and intimacy.  Allow anticipation to build.  Encourage excitement. 


People plan what’s important.


Plan to be present and engaged. 


Your partner will appreciate your effort. 


3. Step Up Your Relationship Game. 


Be creative.  Try applying the skills you use in your busy life to your relationship.  Think about it, you actually have at your fingertips the means to keep your relationship fresh and fun

Use technology as a tool for improving connection, communication, and spontaneity.  Send love texts.  Meet by phone daily to check in and encourage each other.  Make reservations for date nights and weekends away.  Email random selfies and photos to share your lives and say “I love you” in fresh ways. 


Visit the places you enjoyed while you were dating.  Make a weekly date for a community play or walk through the park. 


Experience life together again. 


4. Step into the Ring.


Resolve lingering conflicts.  It may make you a bit nervous, but consider why you and your spouse have let your responsibilities overrun your relationship.  Is there more going on?  Are you avoiding an old hurt or stalemate?


The object is not to fight, but to communicate, resolve past issues, and eliminate resentment.  Working with a therapist may help you productively put conflicts to rest and settle any desire to avoid each other with busyness.


5. Step into your Partner’s Shoes. 


Mentally and emotionally reset.  Couples often get so wrapped up in daily concerns that they take their knowledge of their partner for granted.  It’s easy to make assumptions about what the other likes, wants, or needs.  It’s also easy to miss the shifts that take place over time and end up more like disconnected roommates than intimate lovers.


Compassion and understanding reestablish connection quickly. 


Show sincere interest in your partner to help rebuild the weakened sections of your bond.


Your kindness and empathy will be hard to resist. 


When you would like to discuss how couples’ or marriage counseling can assist you in rekindling the fire and connection in your relationship, please call my voicemail and leave me some good times to reach you.


I look forward to hearing from you.


Linda K. Laffey, MFT

(805) 375-5860

(818) 591-2989

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