Have you ever sat in a restaurant and looked around at the people sitting at the other tables? It always makes me sad when I see a couple sitting silently staring off into the distance or focusing on their phones. It doesn’t take long in a relationship to begin to feel like you know your partner so well that you don’t have anything to talk about anymore. Be cautious though, because feeling this way can be dangerous to your relationship. It can lead to emotional distancing which can lead to more serious issues.
I would encourage you to challenge yourself to get reacquainted with your partner now. Here are some tips on how to get started.
Make it a game. Take turns answering questions about each other and see who knows more or see how many new things you can discover about each other. You can ask more trivial questions like: What is your partners favorite movie or food? Also ask more thought-provoking questions like: What dream or aspiration does your partner have that he/she has not achieved yet? If you want more ideas for questions, look into relationship researcher, Dr. John Gottman’s Love Maps exercise for couples. If you make it fun and even a little competitive, you’ll connect with your spouse and have a positive experience doing it.
Make it a daily ritual. I encourage all of the couples I work with to begin a ritual of spending fifteen to twenty minutes each night talking. Sometimes couples don’t know what to talk about other than their kids or work. This can be a chance to get reacquainted by asking a conversation starter question at the beginning of your “talk time.” Search “conversation starter” on the internet for suggestions (and then put your phone away!).
Talk on date nights. Remember when you and your partner where just getting to know each other when you were dating? Pretend you are just getting to know each other again on your weekly date nights. Or take this opportunity to reminisce about some of those early memories together. You might be surprised at how you remember things differently.
Whichever method of getting to know your partner you choose, don’t become the couple who stares blankly at their phones across the table. Make it fun and exciting while embracing the opportunity to grow closer to each other. If you find that it is too hard to reconnect or get acquainted again because of years of hurt or conflict, reach out for the help of a professional marriage therapist. It’s never too late to get to know your partner again and begin to rekindle the spark you felt in the beginning.