Your Relationship In Lockdown – Needing Quality Time
How’s your relationship in lockdown?
I miss so many things.
I miss socialising.
I miss mass gatherings.
And yet what I’m looking forwards to most is going places with my husband.
Seriously. That guy. The one I’ve been with every. single. day. since this thing started.
I miss going out with him, because I miss the thrill of being on a date.
We’ve done our best to keep it fun.
We’ve even had a couple of at-home date nights. (Two, I think? It might have been one. 🙈)
But we need a change of scene.
It’s hard to make it feel like quality time at home.
It’s hard to keep making it fun at home.
I really believe that any time you spend together not looking at screens counts.
But I want to go to the pub now, please.
How are you coping with this?
Do you and your partner have a chat at the end of each day? (Or as often as possible if that doesn’t fit with your routine?)
Do you ask each other questions like “how are you?” or “how was your day?”
Do you give each other open, honest answers?
Do you listen to each other? Properly?
Do you talk about how you’re feeling, and what you need?
I’m not talking about having a “deep and meaningful” every day. Most of us don’t have the time or appetite for that!
But I AM talking about something that makes you feel heard and connected on a regular basis.
If you don’t… what might be hold you back?
Might You Be Avoiding Something?
There are lots of reasons why we might not chat with our partners much, or plan much quality time together.
Sometimes there are underlying issues like unresolved hurts or resentments. These can lead us to (sometimes unconsciously) avoid emotional intimacy.
Facing and dealing with this stuff isn’t easy, but it’s the only effective way to process and move on from it.
(Resentment is not uncommon in relationships, especially after kids. Check out my free guide to resolving resentment here.)
Are You Short On Time?
When I ask couples if they chat each day, and make time for each other, they often mention how stretched they are for time. And there is a reality to this of course, especially with kids.
We must remember though, as Annie Dillard says,
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives”.
Even when we’re very busy, we have a choice about how we spend much of our time.
These are the questions that those choices answer:
What are your priorities? What do you value? How do you want to spend your life?
Your Relationship In Lockdown – The Moments That Matter
I have some good news for when it’s difficult to get the time together you want and need.
There’s loads of research into the secrets to long-term relationship satisfaction.
Want to know what it’s found? What matters most is how we respond to each other in the very ordinary, everyday moments.
These moments are much more important than big talks or date nights.
What we all want from our partners is that they are:
- Accessible to us when we reach out for them
- Responsive when we ask for their attention
- Engaged when we’re speaking to them
However busy you both are, you can work on being more responsive to your partner.
You can make the most of the moments throughout the day when you want a tiny bit of each other’s time or attention.
Couples reach out to each other hundreds of times every day. We do it with a look, a touch, a joke, a question, a statement, a phone call, or a text.
These are all examples of bids for connection, and how we respond to them really matters.
Successful couples recognise bids for connection as expressions of needs. And they respond to those needs.
When your partner looks at, touches, speaks to, or messages you, ask yourself, “what might they need?”
Some of the things it might be…
- Relief from a task
- Someone to share their excitement about something
- Emotional support or empathy
- To dream or make plans together
What Needs Your Time And Attention?
Somehow we need to find a way to give time and attention to our partners.
Daily chats, quality time, but most of all those micro moments of attentiveness.
That’s what our relationships need.
And the most important relationship of all is your relationship with yourself.
We need to give some time and attention to ourselves too.
Parents (and mothers in particular) have a tendency to give, give, give. We expect to be able to keep pouring without stopping to refill our own cups.
Which one needs your time and attention most right now? Your relationship with your partner? Your own wellbeing and personal development?
On our wedding day, my uncle gave me a piece of advice, which he said had served him well throughout his marriage. And it’s been serving me well so far throughout mine. He said,
“Always put in more than you expect to get out, and then there will be some in reserve for the hard times”.
Have you been investing enough time and attention in your relationship lately?
How about in yourself?
We have to invest in ourselves AND our relationships if we want them to keep sustaining our families.
Ready to invest in yourself and your relationship in lockdown?
You can join the mailing list for more relationship tips and advice. For more support with your relationship in lockdown, why not also take a look at my online courses Love In Lockdown, and Back In The Sack?