Missing connection in your marriage is something many of us struggle with; I certainly did. Maybe it’s something you’ve always thought you didn’t have enough of in your relationship, or it’s something that you feel has slowly dissipated; either way, it is 100% possible to bring connection into your marriage relationship, the type of connection you want. The journey to feeling connected in my own marriage has been an interesting one and one I have struggled with since the early years of our relationship, I think even before we got married. I had a belief that really did not serve me one bit; I believed that we didn’t have any connection and that he needed to change for me to feel connected. I had a vision of what connection meant for me and that vision was all about him.
This belief kept me from creating the connection I wanted because I was looking at why he wasn’t creating it. When I was able to step back and see that this could be something for me to figure out, I started the journey to taking my power back.
My own thoughts about lack of connection produced many arguments and were the basis of many of our sessions when we worked with different therapists over the years. When I found coaching and started working with my coach, she shared a different perspective that completely changed my life. There was a point in our work together when my coach questioned my thought about connection with Jeff and asked me what connection meant for me. I, of course, had lots to say about what it should look like. She asked what I thought about the possibility of us actually having great connection exactly the way it was, I told her she was ridiculous. After the session her question kept chasing me, I asked myself “what if?”, what if we did have great connection? How would I show up if I thought we had great connection?
Needless to say, from that point on, I have been on a journey to create the connection I want in my marriage. One, please notice how that coaching session worked for me. My coach didn’t tell me how to create good connection, she helped me think about it differently, and when I was able to think about it differently, it allowed me to come up with ideas of how I wanted to create connection in my marriage. That is what we do together, you and I; you share what you are struggling with, and I help you see what it is you are struggling with from different perspectives giving you new ways to problem solve and create solutions that work for you. Secondly, connection is something we create for ourselves; it is an emotion. It’s possible to feel connected when you’re not having a conversation with your partner or when you are. It is possible to feel connected talking about the weather or talking about the law of relativity because connection is a feeling we produce in our minds; it isn’t what your partner is or isn’t saying.
Something is compelling about doing the work of creating connection in your marriage. When you do the work of creating the connection you want with your partner, what happens is you will notice your partner starting to participate in conversations. When you don’t judge how they should show up, what they have to say and how they say it, you can simply enjoy your time together, creating connection!
Decide what different ways you want connection in your life and through conversation with your partner discover which ones they are willing to fulfill.
As humans, we want connection; we want to be included with others. It’s something we do from an early age on through our life, including when we get married, we seek to feel connection with our partner. Along with creating connection with your partner, I think it’s essential to learn how to build a relationship “family” that meets all of our relationship desires. Over and over again, including in my relationships, I see people disconnect from connections they have established once they meet their partner. We start spending most of our time with this new person while forgetting to keep our other connections alive; we look to our new partner to fulfill all of our connection needs which sets us up for expecting our partners to fulfill connection needs that they might not be interested in filling.
Remember how you did things with your partner not because you enjoyed the activity but because you wanted to be with them? Not a problem but also notice how many of those activities you might not care to be included in anymore and how might this be true for your partner as well? I call this took the “turning the table” concept where we take what we are struggling with and change roles which helps us better understand what might be happening instead of our partner not loving us anymore.
This step is about creating a list of all of the ways you might want to connect with others, think broad and think about connection that you might be wanting from your partner but aren’t getting. A few examples might be:
- Adventure travels exploring new activities and locations
- An art and creative partner
- Art festival companion
- Food adventurer
- Romantic connection, physical touch
- Someone to tell life secrets to
- Dream conversations about what is possible in life
- World traveler companion
- Political banter companion
- An accountability partner to follow through on dreams you want to fulfill in this lifetime
Our partners will not want to fill all of your connection desires, and I don’t think we would want them to, just like you might not be interested in fulfilling that connection desire your partner has around spending the weekend in a boat on the lake throwing out lines with bait on them. You will also have some connection desires filled by multiple people and some that are filled by one; you might do outdoor walks with your partner and still have another friend who joins you in outdoor activities and can look completely different. A relationship “family” is your group of people who help you explore life and your interests together. Some of these connections may come and go over time, or your connection doesn’t happen very frequently. As you expand your relationship family, you might start adding new ways you might want to connect with others, and then you start that search for a new partner to fulfill your new connection. Through this process, you may also discover that some of your current connections are no longer working for you and decide to limit or deprioritize those connections for those that are more fulfilling for you and the life you want to live.
Let go of your expectations of what connection should look like
When I started questioning what connection might look like with Jeff, I stopped arguing with what was currently happening as well as what had happened in the past. Instead, I started being curious about what could happen today and moving forward. I started opening up to conversations that felt awkward in my head but led us to some interesting conversations and laughs. When I started questioning that car rides should always include fun conversations, I started to get comfortable with the silence. When I got comfortable with the silence, I started coming up with conversations.
When you can see that you have a handbook for how your partner should show up and participate in a conversation, that’s when you can start closing the handbook and start coming up with your own style of connection and conversation. Check out my earlier post about Why Our Marital Handbooks Don’t Work.
What if it is ok that your partner doesn’t start conversations and when they do, how do you participate? Are you curious, or do you shut them down? Remember that “Turn The Table” tool I talked about earlier? Do you have expectations of how they show up, but when the table is turned, are you showing up the way you’d like them to for you?
Without your handbook of how conversations should go, you can start getting curious about when conversations might be best received, and you can start planning intentional time to chat. Share your intention with your partner, learn how to ask great questions, check out my blog post How To Ask Great Questions to get you started. What do you want to know about your partner, what do you want to talk about, and start creating that which you want?
Find a structured “meeting” time or schedule that works for you, just like a work meeting, where you discuss relationship basics as I share in my relationship huddle meeting.
Suppose you and your partner haven’t scheduled meetings before, this concept might seem a bit awkward at first. I used to have a Friday night catch-up with my daughter when she was growing up, and I looked forward to those nights because we shared discussions about things that came up for us during the week, but we didn’t have the time to hash them out and then we would turn it into a family night where we did something fun after the conversation. The same concept with your hubby, we have busy lives, and things come up for us during the week but then when the weekend comes if we don’t plan with intention, everything slips aways only to fester under the surface and eventually erupt.
Remember that this is your idea, you are taking steps to increase connection in your marriage, and that it’s quite possible that your partner might not bring anything to the meeting. If this happens you might find yourself wanting to blame them for not participating and being a partner, but I would challenge you to think about him not bringing anything to the meeting is a problem. Instead you could make it mean that you have the power to change this relationship that you want connection in.
To get started, I want to suggest you read my article about The Relationship Huddle; it will give you a structure to get your meetings started, and over time you can shape them into your own signature version. There is a reason we come together in meetings at work; it brings us together to talk about important things going on, things that have happened, and things we want to create; how important is it to do this same sort of meeting in our marriage?
Lastly, I want to suggest that you be willing to do the work to get what you want in your marriage, no matter how difficult it feels.
A bonus tip for you today is around the idea of commitment to do tough things. We are all familiar with the statement that nothing worthwhile is easy (or something like that); as my listener, you’re here because you believe your marriage is worthwhile, your happiness is worthwhile, and I fully agree. Worthwhile is work and is intentional. It is completely ok to set it down here and there and decide you need a break from the work; no problem, the problem comes when we set it down and don’t pick it back up again. When we don’t pick it back up, we will continue getting our old result which brought us here. Creating exceptional relationships is work because it requires us to step out of the comfort of staying the same, do something that might be new and that someone else might have an opinion about.
Your man might think what you are doing is ridiculous until he starts to see how it isn’t. When he sees that you are actually creating connection in your marriage, better enjoying time together, feeling more involved in your relationship, and creating more physical intimacy, well, I guess that it’s not as ridiculous as he thought.
You, my friend, have the power to create the connection you want in your marriage, and all it takes is a little nudge from inside to make it happen. Trust me, all of those little nudges you take action on will add to you creating a marriage worth coming home to!
I am a life coach who works with individuals to break down relationship barriers by awakening their true self. My process isn’t about changing your partner, it’s about discovering who you are so that you can AwakenYou in your marriage. If you’re ready to take your life and your love relationship to the next level then schedule your program inquiry call today and let’s decide together if this is your next step to creating the life you’ve been dreaming of