I often hear couples bemoan the fact that they have minimal quality time with each other. Certainly the demands of children, work, and home responsibilities make finding time to connect with our partners challenging. But the mistake these couples make is believing that only a vacation, date night, or some other significant amount of carved out time can provide the connection they seek.
In fact, meaningful connection can happen in as little as 10 seconds by simply paying attention to two important parts of your day: entrances and exits. How we greet and say goodbye to our partners is critical to the maintenance of connection with them.
When you walk in the door after being away for a while, how do you greet your partner? Do you glance across the room, say hello, and check your email? When you leave for the day, do you take a moment to establish meaningful contact, or is your mind already out the door?
Your entrances and exits likely need work. So here are some tips:
1. Make physical contact.
It seems obvious, but you may be surprised how often you come and go without touching your loved one. Physical touch is a grounding force, providing an immediate sense of connection that requires no words. Do not underestimate the power of a hug, or a caressing of the face to sustain you during the day, or to help you decompress at the end of one.
2. Make eye contact.
Again, obvious right? Except I’m talking about more sustained contact. The kind you used to do effortlessly when you were dating. Staring into your partner’s eyes can allow you to cut through all of the distractions, and remind you of what’s truly important. When your eyes lock onto each other, it’s as if you are co-creating a moment that blocks out the rest of the world: it feels safe and secure.
3. Be sweet.
Do I actually need to be told to be sweet, you may be thinking? Yep. Your entrances are more powerful than you think; they can set the tone for the rest of the evening. So try this: just before you open the door to your home, ask yourself who you want to be, how you want to be seen, and what mood you want to set? Do you want to come in with a sour look on your face because of the traffic, or the workload, or even the argument you had with your partner yesterday? Every time you make an entrance, you have a choice. Yes, even if you’re not feeling happy. You can choose to enter and greet your loved one tenderly, complete with touch and eye contact. And of course, the same goes for your exits. When you leave with this attention to physical and emotional contact, you’re providing each other with an emotional nourishment that will keep your connection alive and thriving.
Now go make an entrance!