We've all heard it said, "we just grew apart!" So how do you grow together?
Like with anything in life that you want to go well you must give it attention! You must tend to it. Relationships are no different, you must be diligent in tending to the needs of your relationship (partner).
Here are a few simple things to help you continue to grow together rather than apart:
1) Regular Date Nights.
I am not surprised when I hear people say they grew apart when they never went on dates because they were too busy with their career, the kids, their friends, or their extended family. Make your marriage your priority! Not anything else.
There is no excuse that is acceptable here. There is no justification, none! It doesn't matter what it is, you absolutely MUST make time for each other. "But Timmy, our kids are small ... bla bla bla." And? "We don't have the money for a babysitter." And? "Our kids freak out when we are away." And? Seriously, there isn't anything you can say to make it okay to not spend alone time with your partner.
Babysitting Tip: Find another couple with kids and do a trade off; one week they watch all the kids, the next week you watch all the kids for them. Etc. This is what we did when we had $2.34 to our name back in our early 20's. You do what you gotta do.
2) Daily talk time.
Everyday taking even a few minutes to run through the day with each other. Making sure to ask questions like: What did you do today? Who did you meet? What were they like? What did you learn today? Anything super exciting? Anything new? Anything weird? Anything funny? Anything I can do?
It's important to really engage with your partner here. Ask questions, speak freely.
3) Make sure to have sex.
The guys are like, "See honey, Timmy said ... !" ha ha! On a serious note, sex is not everything I realize that, BUT it is the ultimate act of intimacy. And it's fun. It relieves stress, it's good exercise, it's good for your health ... on and on the research shows! It's amazing! I know I love it. It's one of my all time favorite things that just doesn't get old. It's like the first time every time but with more experience.
I believe that sex is usually an outflow of a healthy relationship. Actually I know it is. Happy healthy couples are having sex, and typically lots of it. I coach many couples, and when they come to my office and they aren't happy, they aren't having lots of sex, sometimes aren't having any sex at all. I can hear someone saying, "we're happy and we don't have sex very often." I bet you a million dollars if I ask your partner they'll see it differently, don't lie to yourself!
A happy healthy relationship is ONLY when BOTH the people in the relationship are feeling fulfilled, happy, and healthy.
*Definition: Lots of sex - I get asked all the time, "How much sex should we be having?" That's easy, ask your partner. And allow them to be brutally honest with their answer. The husband might think once a month is enough, but you ask his wife and she wants it three times a week. We have a discrepancy. There needs to be a coming together to come up with what works for both in the relationship. Maybe they land on twice a week? Or once a week? Whatever makes each person feel loved and cared for ... met needs.
Here is my philosophy: In a committed relationship neither partner should be starving. Not starving for affection, not starving for intimacy, not starving for sex, not starving for attention, not starving for loving touches, not starving for compliments!