Studio 5 Relationship Coach Matt Townsend, and his wife Mardi, share what works for them!
Focus on Connection First, Time Second.
Many of us are so worried about how little time we have together, but we’ve found that having a lot of time together doesn’t matter much if we’re not connecting. So focus on connection first, time second. For example, you could have an entire weekend to spend together, be engaged in activities and not ever connect. Make sure as you’re finding the time to be with one another that you’re also focusing on how you’ll connect. Usually what we’ve found is if we’re connecting deeply, we’ll find time to be together and when we’re together we’re going to connect deeply. It really is a cycle and we feel strongly that one of the biggest motivators to keep it going is to make sure your time is spent connected. Remember every minute together = the chance to connect.
Little Chunks Are Better Than No Chunks.
Very few of us have enormous chunks of time to spend with our partners, so we’ve found that by finding a lot of little chunks, you can actually create quite a lot of opportunities to connect. Those little chunks can be found here and there throughout the entire day. Here are a few examples…
o We try to sneak time together in the morning before the kids get up or in between shifts of kids going to school.
• After 10 pm is all our time. Most of the kids are in bed and we have our freedom to be together.
• We like to go to our kids games and practices when we can and talk as we watch.
• We try to go to all of my speeches together as a couple because we can always turn those into a date night.
• We’ve also found time to be together going to church meetings, doing dishes, making dinner together or going on business trips.
• We call it: “Many hours together…10 minutes at a time.”
Create Loving Traditions or Rituals
Rituals are loving traditions that we establish with each other to ensure that we are going to have time for each other. Research shows that the healthiest couples are those that have the strongest, most mutually beneficial rituals. Simply put, rituals are loving traditions that connect us throughout the day. Some examples of rituals:
o Cuddle time in bed before you get up.
o Sharing breakfast or the morning paper together.
o Good bye kiss or hello kiss.
o Afternoon call
o Extra time together at the dinner table after the kids are gone.
o Favorite television show during the week.
o Cuddle time at night.
o Reading a book together.
o Date nights
o Anniversary Trips
Rules for Establishing Rituals:
1. Focus on moments of transition- Rituals work well around moments of transition. (Hellos/goodbyes, daily calls, text messages, dinner time rituals, bed time rituals, morning rituals).
2. Clearly coordinate the ritual- Meaning that we both know exactly how it will go so there are no surprises.
3. Ensure that ritual is mutually beneficial- Meaning it should connect both of you to each other. It should be something you both look forward to doing.
4. Find daily, weekly, monthly and yearly rituals.
5. Treat them as sacred. Meaning, we do the ritual no matter what. Just like the national anthem at a ball park, we will perform the ritual of singing the anthem with our hand over our heart no matter what.
Remember That Life Comes in Seasons.
Balance is found over time. Just like nature balances itself, not in one day, but over time and over seasons – life balances itself over time, so too do our relationships. So if you’re in a moment of life when you feel out of balance, do what you can to make it better and have confidence that it will change tomorrow. We’ve noticed that many times we have more or less time together depending on the season of the year. For example, we’ll watch our favorite shows together but when the season of the show is over we might not spend time doing that together. We also have seen that when the weather is nicer we spend more time talking and walking together or being outside with our family. We also know that the sports seasons, or holiday seasons, all impact the time we’re going to have together. Some seasons of our life are more free where we get to plan a date night and do whatever we want. Other times when our schedules are more full, our date nights are planned for us. Either way though, we recognize that the seasons will always be changing and we can make the best of all of them. Just as you can love the winter with all that there is to do, winter season can also wear you out. Just remember that spring is on its way and it will give you new opportunities to do different things.
For more couple advice and coaching, register for Matt’s upcoming Date Night:
An Evening with Matt Townsend
Saturday, October 10
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
$20 (per couple)
322 W. 11000 S.
To register, call: (801) 747-2121