Relationships work similar to puzzles. Lots of pieces that at times seem like a mess ready to increase our stress. We do our best to bring each piece together. In working order. If not, it’s chaos.
Have you ever pulled that one piece out of a puzzle and made the whole thing fall apart?
You probably stood there feeling overwhelmed and frustrated with the thought of all your work and effort lying there in a heap. Every relationship takes time, commitment and nurturing to grow.
The one piece that holds everything together is the emotional connection that has been built in your relationship. Emotional connection is the core essence that lights the fire in relationships. It is that one piece in your puzzle that if pulled out will create distance and even separation if not properly addressed.
There are 100 strategies that you can implement today to strength your relationship. Each has been carefully selected for you through practical experience. I hope that you are able to build a strong and lasting emotional connection in your relationship.
All of the ingredients to establish emotional connection are right here. It’s almost like a recipe.
I have no doubt that you will gain ground in building a stronger and healthy relationship between you and your partner. Your first strategy is to focus on the commitment that you are devoted to your relationship.
Saying “I love you” often is not enough.
The words are powerful, but at the end of the day they are just words. Find creative ways or even simple and direct ways that will speak to your partner. Make sure that what you are doing represents “I love you”. You can even do the action and close it by using “I love you”.
– Leave a note inside your partners’ car while they are at work. Keep it short, sweet and to the point.
– Pick up extra household duties. Remember you are a team!
– Invite mutual friends for a surprise lunch, dinner or even small get together at your local Starbucks.
Take your partner on a date night. Think about the places that your partner has fond memories of.
It doesn’t always have to be a romantic date or the typical dinner and movie. It could be something as simple as just the two of you putting an hour aside volunteering.
– Take your partner to a past location that brought upon past memories. Using a small note card, write down a past memory from the location that would speak to your partner on an emotional level.
Make sure that the date night is different and creative. Think outside of the box. Emotional connections are created by experiences that forge two people together. Find new activities or places to encounter.
– Go to groupon.com and find an activity near you that you two have not participated in before.
– Push yourself out of the “comfort” funk.
Ask questions about past conflicts. More often than not, you probably engage in some sort of dispute. There probably is a resolution to it and most likely you and your partner have simply walked away from it.
Although what you have done is great, there continues to remain some built up anger or frustration from the past.
Ask your partner to sit down with you and talk about past conflicts.
– What started the conflict?
– How did you react as a result of the conflict?
– How did your partner react as a result of the conflict?
– What ended the conflict?
– What can be gained from the conflict?
Find answers to these questions for awareness. Building emotional connection requires understanding who your partner is and how they react. Conflicts are a result of a trigger which in turn cause some sort of emotional, physical or psychological reaction. So again, I encourage you to ask questions.
Do not simply brush it under the rug.
Although you want to address past conflicts, don’t dwell on them. Spend more time on the “good times” then on conflict.
Think about the last time you and partner did not see eye to eye.
Did you spend a lot of time dwelling on it?
I’m sure you did. Now think about a great date night or an occasion you had with your partner. More often than not, more time is spent on the negative then on the positive. Become aware of this and make a change.
– After a great lunch, send your partner text reminders on how much you enjoyed the time.
– A few days after sex leave your partner a note card reminding them of the experience.
– Hack your partner’s phone and input reminders of special occasions. For instance, the first time you kissed or made love.
Give yourself time off.
Men need time to be men. This may mean that you need to spend a few hours playing video games, reading or playing sports. You need this time to recollect and find balance within your life. In return, when you feel balanced so will your relationship.
Remember your partner also needs time off. Make sure your partner takes time with friends or has their alone time.
– Be mindful and respectful during this process.
When you return from your time off, communicate with your partner on the experience.
Talk about why you picked your activity and what you got out of it. By disclosing this content to your spouse, you are creating and maintaining emotional connection.
Ask your partner when they return from their time off, what did they do?
Why did they enjoy it?
Remember, you truly want to invest in your partner.
Have you heard the saying, keep your friends close but your enemies closer?
In a relationship their tends to be a pattern that in the simplest steps go as follows:
- Two people come together and learn all about each other.
- Two people feel that they have learned enough about each that they are committed to remain or create a relationship.
After you made the decision that you are committed to your partner there tends to be a lag. This lag is seen as one’s ability to feel comfortable and at ease in terms of not continuing to learn about/with their partner. So as the saying goes; keep your friends close, but your partner closer.
Always remain aware of who they are, their interests, their hobbies, and what created the spark between you two.
Stop brushing it under the rug. If there is conflict or a problem that in some way impacts your relationship, you must address it together.
Sit down with your partner and go over the subject at hand with the mutual understanding that you two are a team and are working together to solve the problem with the end result providing you and partner positive feelings.
As technology continues to take a stronger hold within society, why not use it to build emotional connection.
Send your partner pictures from moments that speak to you.
Send your partner a picture with a short statement describing an experience and what that moment meant to you.
Stop saying “I’m just not that type of guy”.
You don’t have to be a romantic man to build emotional connection. You simply have to want to be with your partner. If your end goal has a solid picture of you and your partner taking on life together, then you can to make a change.
Do not allow your romantic life to be overtaken by work or other obligations.
If you feel that you are too tired or overly worked to the point that your romantic life has been impacted, then there is a problem. This problem, if not addressed, will continue to grow and may impact your relationship in a negative manner.
Go back to the drawing board and practice your time management skills.
Keep your partner guessing in your romantic life.
Find new ways to show your partner that you are always “trying to catch them”. Maybe sneak a kiss in at a place that would not be expected. Or, pick your partner up from work for a “quickie”. I’m sure the idea will spark a smile. It works.
Remember when you were 17 years old and had a crush on that one person?
Do you remember how often you thought about that person?
Do you remember the thoughts you had about that person?
I’m sure your adrenaline at the time was high. Show your partner this type of attention. If you feel that this is difficult to accomplishment, try and take a 10 to 15-minute break in a quiet place. Reflect on what it was like at 17 years old. Think about the thoughts that you had during that time. Envision your partner in the role of the crush.
At this point you should be experiencing strong emotional and physical feelings towards your partner. If not, go back and spend more time reflecting.
If you have kids or have someone else in your home that pulls attention away, I’m sure that you are experiencing your share of difficulties as they impact your relationship.
People in this situation can work on their emotional connection by having date nights that are care free. Go somewhere where you and your partner are truly alone and are free to focus only on each other.
Dating rules that should apply when you are on a date with your partner:
– No cellphones.
– No tablets.
– No technological devices.
– No work related content.
– If the date is personal or intimate, then make it you and your partner only. No third wheels.
When something good or awesome happens in your relationship, spend more than enough time on that subject. This helps create longer lasting, positive feelings which in return cause you and your partner to feel more and more emotionally connected to each other.
Recognize that you do have feelings and that you understand how they impact you. Avoiding confrontation or being emotionally numb does not help your relationship. Identify and discuss your feelings with your partner. The feelings can be positive or negative, it does not matter.
The important thing is that you are talking and creating emotional connection.
Stop saying “I don’t know” or “I don’t care” when you do know and when you actually care.
Creating and maintaining emotional connection requires you to expose yourself emotionally to your partner. Next time something rises in your relationship, try something new, and express your feelings.
If you are the type to raise your voice or feel the need to have the last word, there is more harm than benefit being done. Again, I ask you to do something different in your relationship. When an issue or conversation rises, take turns during the conversation.
Allow your partner to finish their sentence before you begin yours.
Try and reflect on what your partner is saying more often. Listen and hear what they are telling you. Show your partner that you are fully invested in what they are saying.
You can do this by recollecting on what they have said.
Emotional connections are heavily tied with communication. Within the construct of communication there are two core values:
Respect and Understanding.
You can practice respect by being an active listener and understanding by showing empathy and regard for what your partner is saying.
Who do you call when you are in trouble?
I’m a pretty big fan of Ghostbusters.
Your partner should be that person who you can reach out to at any hour of the day. Literally 24-7 full-response.
– You are the first person I call when _______. Having you as my go to person makes me feel ____________.
– Knowing that I can talk to you about anything on my mind makes me feel ________.
– After telling you what is on my mind or what is stressing me out, I feel _________.
Be your partner’s rock during heavy times and carry for them when they need you.
Your partner may not ask for help directly, but you should be alert and attentive to when your partner needs you. You can do this by:
– Paying equal attention to verbal and non-verbal communication.
– Understanding the differences in your partner’s demeanor or tone of voice.
– Sending your partner text messages, emails in addition to face-to-face communication asking “if everything is okay?” or “do you want to talk about what is troubling you?”
– Simply saying, “I can listen without giving you input if you want to vent.”
Loving someone means loving all of them.
There already are plenty of people in society who are going to judge and put down your partner, don’t be one of those people.
Love your partner and all of them.
Love their energy during sensitive subjects, love their moles or early onset of grey hairs. Find time to reassure your partner throughout the week that you love all of them by pointing out specifics.
Again, sometimes saying “I love you” is not enough.
Do not allow third parties such as in-laws, friends, family, or associates to negatively impact your relationship. They may have their opinion about your partner, but you will not throw them under the bus. Root for and stand by your partner.
By doing so, you are creating an essence between you and your partner that even when you are not physically together, there remains a strong long lasting emotional connection.
There are many things in your life that you, as a man, are awesome at.
Think about your skills and how they impact your relationship. Maybe you are more affectionate than your partner. Your partner loves this about you. You feel that you would enjoy your partner in return to have this skill.
Teach your partner how you are affectionate. Show them on an emotional, psychological and physical level what it means and how it will impact the relationship. This will take time and commitment. The end result provides a sense of appreciation and emotional connection.
Enjoy the moments you have with your partner as if you were the type of person who lived for today rather than one who plans for tomorrow.
Many men struggle in this domain as they put more energy into setting and preparing long term goals, than on what is taking place today. Try and step back for a moment. Commit to something different. Commit to enjoying the moments of today. Spend time with you partner and enjoy the time you have with them now.
By doing so, you find that your partner is happier and able to feel a stronger sense of your involvement.
Remember, planning for your future is important. It’s a necessary to create longevity. However, if you only focus on tomorrow, your vision will not see what is taking place today.
Keep your romantic life fresh.
– When engaging in physical romance do you find that you or your partner fall into a position without prompting, almost automatically?
It’s funny thinking about it.
This actually happens to more couples then one would think. In essence it’s a powerful two-way message. One side highlights how well you and your partner understand each other romantically, physically and emotionally. On the other side it highlights that your romantic life is predictable.
When areas in your relationship become predictable there tends to be a decrease in romance, physical attraction, and emotional connection.
Keep it fresh by:
– Purchasing a karma sutra book.
– Trying new sexual activities.
– Increasing romantic gestures such as touching, kissing, or hugging.
Men often feel that partner, will talk about them when they are not around. This includes when partners talk to other couples about sex life or topics within their relationship.
Men often feel a sense of anxiety when they realize that this is taking place.
– Confront your partner using the communication approach listed in numbers 9 and 25.
– Ask your partner what they are discussing, while making sure to include how it makes you feel. You might notice that your anxiety decreases when you find out what your partner is saying.
Stop dwelling in silence.
You, Mr. Macho-Man, want and desire a strong emotional connection with your partner. Go after it. This one is short and to the point.
Are you better at expressing yourself verbally or physically?
Most men tend to show favoritism in expressing their emotions on a physical level. This can be seen by living the home when upset, slamming a door, clinching of the fist or heavy breathing. In contrast, females tend to show favoritism towards expressing their emotions on a verbal level.
Whichever side you fall on does not really matter. What matters is how you are going to change so that you and your partner can see eye to eye.
First, understand which side of the bridge you fall on. Once you can honestly say where you are at emotionally then only then are you able to make improvements in your ability to communicate your emotions.
Non-verbal communication tends to just slip by men.
Most men are verbal in nature and do not practice non-verbal communication as heavily as their counterparts. Think about your partner for a moment. Ask them during the beginning of the relationship if they gave you non-verbal signs that you did not pick up on?
It’s okay if they did and you had no idea. The plan is action. Moving forward you are aware of how this impacts your relationship.
– Practice focusing more on non-verbal signs. And who better to coach you then your partner. Ask your partner what non-verbal signs they currently use on you that you are not aware of.
Practice empathy in a manner that your partner can understand.
Let’s break this down to its core. Empathy in simple terms is feeling what the other person would feel in a given situation. More often than not men think it’s sufficient that by saying, “if you were in my situation or in my shoes you would have done the same or felt XYZ”.
Although this is a portion of empathy, it does not always speak to your partner.
– Think about an experience that your partner has had. Does the experience relate to that of yours in terms of empathy? If so, reflect with your partner on their personal experience and tie it in with yours.
– Ask your partner to brainstorm on an experience that you feel in terms of emotions equates to that of your experience. Once you and your partner agree on this, you two should be able to understand each other’s perspective. If not, dig deep. Push yourself to reflect on the experience and what emotions were experienced from it. Communicate with your partner about each emotional experience, where it came from and how it impacted you.
Do you feel that you are in a place within your relationship where you have “turned off” emotionally?
Climbing your way out of this hole is going to be difficult and will require ample energy and commitment. You can do it if your goal is to be with your partner.
– Start by using as many of the techniques, skills and strategies listed.
– Practice reflecting on what got you in the situation that you are in.
– Reflect on the man you were when the light switch was “turned on”.
– Talk to your partner about what it is that you are going through.
– Ask for help.
– Do not go through this alone, your partner is your 24-7 vessel of support.
Create trust in a manner that melts away irrational thoughts, such as “what your partner is doing” or “why they are not answering the phone”.
You should be able to go about your day without a single (insecure) thought of what your partner is doing. If this is not the case, I encourage you to act now.
– Talk with your partner about your insecurities.
– Where do the insecurities stem from?
– Make sure to discuss this subject out load. By having a sounding board, you will be able to gain further understanding of what you are saying and how it impacts different areas of your life and emotional stability.
– Brainstorm with your partner on what (healthy changes) can be made in (baby step format) to eliminate insecure thoughts.
– The changes must be healthy in terms of (a) you and your partner both agree upon the changes (b) you and your partner both visualize a positive outcome as a result of the changes.
– Using baby steps will allow for (a) easy to follow steps (b) each step can be reflected and thoroughly evaluated by you and your partner (c) mistakes or obstacles will be less impactful/
There may be some underlining factor that is preventing you from expressing yourself emotionally. Often one’s childhood, past experiences, or encounters can have an impact on an individual.
There is no way of providing you with this information without further detail. If you feel hindered or blocked from expressing yourself emotionally and it is negatively impacting your relationship, I encourage you to seek help. Reach out to your local counselor for a moment of their time.
Healing starts when you decide to make a change.
How do you know if you may benefit from professional support?
– You think that your upbringing impacts your relationship in a negative fashion and you do not know how to make the appropriate positive changes.
– You base your relationship on a past relationship, which in turn causes negative results.
– You are holding past grudges and/or emotional/physical experiences from the past that impact your relationship in a negative manner.
Listed are only a few key points. The decision ultimately is up to you.
When you are feeling that sudden urge to react or explode, STOP and TALK.
Tell your partner what you are feeling and why, rather than acting out the emotion.
– Say “You know what, I’m about to explode”. Tell your partner why you are feeling this way and together work towards a solution.
This might sound simple but men often skip this step and jump right into the action of acting out their emotions. The first time will always be difficult. This is why, it is vital to have your partner on board as a supportive 24-7 reminder. Your partner will be able to help you when you are beyond escalated.
We all can understand that when one is emotionally triggered, it can be difficult to think clearly and make rational decisions.
Emotional connection is established through this act by creating understanding between you and your partner. Together you both are able to learn and grow from each other and the experience.
Do not be vague with your terms.
Say what you want to say and how you feel. Just make sure that you are also being understanding and respectful. If you feel sad or hurt by an act, engage with your partner in those feelings. Dig the feelings out and throw them on the table. Discuss the feelings as if you were a student trying to truly understand a subject. Your partner will gain understanding as to what they did to impact or trigger your emotional reaction. And again, as I continue to mention, your emotional connection will grow and strengthen.
– When you did ________ it literally made me feel _________. On a physical level I wanted to ____________. On an emotional level, I felt __________ and I wanted to ______________. This experience reminds me of ____________.
– Last night after the argument, I wanted to ___________. When you were talking and saying _______, I felt like ________. All I wanted to do at that moment was __________________.
Remember, communication is a process of healing. It is a subtle step towards a solution. Thank your partner for being able to express their feelings with you.
Grow from past obstacles and challenges.
Experiences, whether positive or negative, create growth in relationships, if properly addressed. Reflect with your partner on the difficult times that you two have shared and conquered. Try and discuss how you got through them.
People tend to overcome an obstacle such as an affair and prefer never to speak about it again. This approach often does not create balance and reconnection within the relationship.
Revisit the obstacle or challenge with your partner.
– Find out what triggered the reaction.
– How were each of you impacted?
– How was the relationship impacted?
– How did you and your partner overcome it?
– What is different now from then?
Remember you are not bringing up an old wound. The reference, old wound, can be taken into two perspectives (a) one would be an experience that continues to be painful (b) an experience that is old, a part of the individual’s history, and no longer impactful in a negative manner.
Think of the old wound, as described in the second case.
– The discussion of the experience can suggest that no force is strong enough to break your bond.
– You can revisit the experience to learn how internal and external factors can impact your relationship if you and your partner are struggling to remain emotionally connected.
Remain connected throughout the day, not just when you see each other.
– Send your partner text messages as a reminder that you are thinking of them.
– Call your partner during breaks.
– Leave pieces of you with your partner.
– Insert your partner’s photo as your phone screen saver.
– Add photos of your partner in your car, at your office, or in your wallet.
If you feel that you need to get out of the house or go away for a few hours to regain your emotional balance, then communicate it. Express to your partner what you are feeling.
Here is a great example to reference:
– “Please listen, I need to go for a drive for a few hours to reflect on what just happened. I’m doing it because driving helps calm me down, so I’m able to think logically and rationally. Is that okay with you? The drive is a coping skill of mine, it allows me to regain control of my emotions and reflect on the situation at hand. After the drive, I want to come back, if that is okay with you and communicate on what took place.”
Remember these key points:
– Respect is seen by you asking permission to engage in your coping skill.
– Education is seen by you informing your partner on what coping skill you are wanting to act on and how the coping skill will benefit you, your partner and the situation.
Your partner can say “No”. If they do, think of other coping skills that you can use. You could for instance:
– Go to your bedroom.
– Clean the house.
– Walk the dog.
– Work in your garage.
– Read a magazine.
– Watch a comedy show.
Create emotional connections by including close friends in dates or activities.
When others see you and your partner together they may say things like “you two are perfect together” or “when you are together I can really see how much you love each other”. Hearing statements such as these helps you and your partner become mindful and aware of the love that you two hold.
In addition, you can see your life from the eyes of another. This can provide beneficial information when it comes down to non-verbal communication. If you have witnessed someone fall in love, then I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Emotional connections have a lot to do with mindset.
Take five to ten minutes to jot down on a piece of paper your mindset when it comes to your relationship.
Which type of person are you?
– Statement A: “I do not allow my partner to determine my life.”
– Statement B: “My partner and I create our life together.”
Statement A highlights more of the independent mindset, one that will cause you to experience struggle if your goal is to create an emotional connection with your partner. I encourage you to reframe your mindset closer to Statement B.
When you do something in life make sure that your partner is aware of it. I know this sounds vague, but I want it to apply to as many areas of your life as possible.
The essence of involving your partner in your decisions provides them with insight that they are of value and importance in life decisions.
– If you work for a promotion at work then communicate with your partner. Have their input.
– If you want to lose weight to look better, then communicate with your partner.
– Next time you feel sad or low in mood. Do not keep it to yourself, let them in.
Together you are stronger.
There is no “I” in “TEAM”.
I’m a huge sports fan so this is probably one of my favorite motivational quotes. Live and breathe by it, as it impacts your relationship. Somebody once told me that a relationship is a like a bicycle. If both wheels are not spinning, you are not going anywhere. You are struggling, becoming frustrated, inpatient, angry, annoyed and these feelings hinder you from moving forward.
Relationships that last 10, 20, 30, 40 or even 50 years all have one thing in common. Each person is fully committed the relationship.
The longer a relationship lasts the more powerful it becomes. Long term relationships create an essence between partners that allows small conflicts to be absorbed by the years of positive experiences. All the years together have in turn created a powerful emotional connection.
You do not necessarily have to be together for fifty years to get to this point. If you work on your relationship and remain committed to addressing changes you both will build a strong and powerful emotional connection, a connection that will over power challenges and obstacles.
For some fun and supportive relationship challenges follow the link: Relationship Challenges That Create Connection and Spark
Today, tomorrow and each day after leave your partner notes.
The notes do not all have to be love notes. They can be simple and direct. A small token to symbolize, I am thinking of you.
– “You looked really hot yesterday!”
– “Coming home to you is the best part of the day.”
– “How much money will a kiss from you cost me?”
– “xoxo – yours truly.”
Make sure that you are creative and spontaneous. For instance, look back at number 51. Try and leave notes in places that would spark a laugh or an “aw” feeling from your partner.
– Drive to your partner’s work during your lunch and a leave note on their windshield. You can get a bit playful with this by leaving a note which, from a distance, looks like a parking ticket. This will help create emotional memory and admiration between you and your partner.
– Have a cup of coffee or tea (whichever they prefer) waiting for them at home or work with a small note from you. You could say: “Have an awesome day!”
– When was the last time you made your partner a mixed CD? Probably a long time, right? Why? Grab a few blank CD’s and label them after different occasions, emotions or memories.
Pick one to two activities that you currently do by yourself and at least once a week do the activity together.
I understand that going to the gym is your time to release stress or getting your nails done is your time to reset. What I’m encouraging you to do is to include your partner a few times a month in the activity.
Including your partner creates a sense of inclusion that will make them feel closer to you. Your partner will understand that this is your time and that it is something you hold valuable. By allowing your partner to share this moment with you your emotional connection is being boosted.
Say I’m sorry!
Just say it.
Emotions are heavily tied to words and actions. Saying I’m sorry creates the ground work for the action that has been done.
*I think we need to go back to being kids. Having the ability to saying “I’m sorry” or “i love you” or “thank you”
Take a Day-Cation
A Day-Cation is like a vacation except for it is during the day. Emotional connection requires as mentioned in the beginning time and commitment.
Examples of Day-Cation’s include:
– After work take your partner to a nearby town. Find an interesting new restaurant downtown. Walk around and check out interesting shops.
– Text your partner to pack their bags. Book a decent price hotel outside of town with an awesome Jacuzzi and window view. Have a day-cation in the hotel!
– Are you close to where you got married? Take your partner to retrace your marriage footsteps. Pick up an item from where you got married. Maybe a bit of sand if at the beach. Take it home and treasure it. Create memories and emotional connections in all aspects.
Enjoy a play or concert together.
Movies are awesome, fun and an obvious date idea. Take your partner to a play or concert. Maybe this is something new for both of you. Maybe you personally hate shows but your partner loves them. Whatever the case, take the plunge and attend something different.
Discuss small and BIG goals.
Who better to share your aspirations and dreams with than your partner?
Creating and working towards small or big goals helps couples reach a deep emotional level. You are able to fully understand and feel your partner to their core. Take a moment to communicate with your partner on the following questions.
– Where do you and your partner see yourself in 6 months, 5 years, 10 years, and 20 years?
– How can you or your partner help each other with goals?
– Do you share similar goals?
– Do you have different goals?
By the end of this activity you should have shared some laughs, some “aw” moments and an emotional connection.
Be each other’s “partner in crime”.
Wait. I’m not telling you to commit a crime!
In numbers 26 and 38 I mentioned having your partner’s back 24-7. Emotions are interconnected with experiences. The experience can be happy, such as a wedding, or anger, such as that from an argument. With this notion in mind there are plenty of creative ways that you and your partner can build and maintain emotional connection.
– Play a prank on a close friend. Do something that involves team work, trust, patience and is very goal orientated. Nothing serious or damaging to another person.
Celebrate each other’s success.
We often think that we already do this by telling our partner, “great job on your promotion” or “I’m so proud of you”. Although you are providing the proper wording to your partner, their remains room for improvement. The room for improvement can directly support bringing out emotions and feelings of what exactly the “success” means and how it impacts your partner and the relationship.
For instance, below is an example of what you could say to your partner if they have received a promotion at work. Instead of the usual praise, try implementing the following:
– I feel that you have been working for this so long. Do you remember all the _________ that you did to get the promotion?
– I feel that this promotion will help our relationship or us by ___________.
– How do you think this promotion will help our relationship or us? _________.
– I think this is just the beginning for us. Together if we keep focusing and working hard there will be much more success.
There are sixty minutes in an hour.
Put aside 60 minutes each day for your partner. No excuses! During the 60 minutes, be creative.
– Play a board game.
– Give each other massages.
– Have a pillow fight.
– Cook a meal together.
– Go for a run together.
– Revisit old photos/scrapbooks.
– Get a pedicure or manicure.
– Revisit your vows.
Do you remember during chemistry class how cool it looked like when the instructor mixed chemicals together?
Sometimes there would appear a vibrant color or a cloud of smoke. All chemical reactions create some sort of change.
Think of your relationship as a chemistry project. You are always in control of what the chemical experiment will derive:
– Positive Outcome: A beautiful colorful solution
– Negative Outcome: A dark smoke cloud
One is attractive and likable and the other is simply not desirable.
Find ways in your relationship that allow you and your partner to create positive outcomes. Some couple’s experience this connection through sexual intimacy.
Let’s continue addressing number 61 and the subject of sex. Think back to your first few dates and months of the butterflies. Some people call the initial stage of a relationship the sexual phase. This can be seen as when you and your partner had frequent sexual urges/thoughts.
You always found each other touching, kissing, hugging and pushing sexual buttons as much and as often as possible.
Through the years, people tend to grow comfortable and the sexual phase becomes dull. Reclaim your sexual appetite by engaging in the following:
– Include foreplay prior to penetration.
– Tease your partner throughout the day by sending flirtatious text messages, video messages or phone calls.
– Ask questions. You probably assume that due to the years together you know your partner sexually. Today and each day that follows ask questions regarding sex.
– Where to you like being kissed?
– Do you like it if I touch you here or there?
If you want to have sex only when you are aroused be sure to verbalize why.
I know this may sound like an odd thing to do, but emotional connections must include communication and understanding. If you are in the mood for a “quickie” then tell your partner, why.
Please review the two statements below. Statement A is probably what you are doing now. Statement B is the change you want to move towards in order to build emotional connection.
– Statement A. “I’m horny, let’s have sex” or “You want to have sex? I’m really turned on”.
– Statement B. “You make me so horny just thinking about you, every ounce of me wants to have you” or “You want to have sex? I’ve been thinking about you all day long and I’m turned on”.
If these statements do not directly reflect yours, try to reflect on what you normally say prior to sex, that is focused on you. Work to mold your statement in a fashion that addresses emotional understanding, intimacy and connection.
Your partner will feel physically and emotionally wanted by you versus only feeling desired physically.
Emotional connection is dynamic and involves multiple areas.
Have you ever had a mentor or someone that provided you guidance? Possibly you had a parent, past employer, older brother or college professor? I guarantee one of the reasons you placed that person in such a role was due to their intelligence. More often than not, people tend to value others intellectual ability or, if you will, “mind power”.
Part of our capability to build and maintain emotional connection has a lot to do with our personal ability to value, or fall in love with our partners’ mind.
So how exactly do you get to this point in your relationship? Find activities that allow you to observe your partners mind powers.
– Have a date at your local book store. Discuss a similar magazine and share each other’s’ point of views.
– Watch the History or Discovery Channel. Discuss the content together.
– Talk about each other’s career and future goals.
– Identify problems you may be experiencing with work, friends, co-workers or family. Listen to what your partner has to say.
Even at 65 years of age there must always remain passion in your relationship.
Do not simply look at passion as sex or romance. Passion includes loving and being internally invested in what you do, in the life that you live, and in your partner.
Try to transition out of the “wake up, go to work/school, come home, and go to bed lifestyle”.
– Revisit your initial career to reflect on where your passion started. Maybe look at old photos from way back when.
– Talk about the things in life that you are passionate about.
– Understand that you will get “stuck” at times and “caught up” in the boring lifestyle.
– Also, remember that you can get out of the funk just as you got in it. You are always in control.
There is a technique that most counselors use called active listening. Basically it means that you are truly and genuinely invested in what the other person across from you is saying. You are invested to the point that it should be apparent internally and externally.
When you can create and practice this style of listening in your relationship there will open a door where emotions can be connected and reached.
– Summarize what your partner says after they finish speaking.
– Use eye contact.
– Use physical gestures such as nodding your head.
– At times during conversations that carry more emotions, you may need to use physical gestures such as touching or hugging.
– Provide short statements in between breaks in order to allow your partner to feel that you are invested.
Let’s piggyback of off number 66. I mentioned using physical gestures such as touching or hugging when appropriate. It is critical that you are confident in knowing your partner.
Do you know your partner well enough that you are able to pick up on non-verbal and verbal signs?
If not, please revisit earlier recommendations.
You want to get to a point that you are confident in yourself as a partner in order to provide the needed physical support based upon your partner’s needs.
Ask questions regarding when you partner wants and needs to feel your touch.
Practice using code words that signify you and your partner need moments to discuss sensitive subjects.
I often encourage this strategy for parents to use versus engaging in conflict in front of children, although the strategy can be used in any situation.
The utilization of code words creates understanding and respect between you and your partner. You both are invested in each other and are respectful to know that whatever needs to be discussed can wait until you both are ready.
– Code word “coffee break” can signify that you and your partner need to have private discussion.
Reminisce on your relationship
Try and think about the good, great and just plain awesome moments in your relationship. I bet that you have dozens and dozens of perfect moments, laughable moments and romantic moments.
Share these moments with your spouse on your date nights, while seating back late at night watching your favorite episode on Netflix, or during a long car drive. Send your spouse pictures and text messages of the moments.
You want to relieve them in a way that will remind you two why you are together and why you are stronger together.
Teaching old dog new tricks only happens if the dog is willing to embark on the change.
Accept that things in your life are not exactly the way you want them to be. Internally invest your time and energy to reap the benefits of change.
– Do not go to bed angry or upset. (As you once did). Make an effort to change.
– Do not allow anger to lead your decision. (As you once did). Make an effort to change old habits.
Justify why you love your partner.
This might seem silly, but do it anyway. Think about what justification means. When someone justifies something they are providing validity. Tell your partner why you love them in as many words as you want to use.
– I love you because you know exactly how _______ when I am upset or angry.
– I love the way that you _______ to me/for me.
– I love you because you do these things ______.
Most likely when your parents were 22 years-old they did not have the advance technology that we have now in terms of sending messages to people.
Your parents probably relied on writing letters and using snail mail.
Romance is linked to emotional connections because of how we interpret emotions internally. Think about your partner sending you a letter through snail mail.
Let’s break the process down:
– First you are going to think about the time it took to write the letter.
– The use of a stamp and envelope.
– The process of having to send the letter and wait for its arrival.
All of these factors involve time, commitment, and investment. Now think about an email sent with the same written statement or a text. Although the message is the same, the delivery is completely different.
– Send your partner snail mail and see what happens.
– Drive to your partners work to talk, versus relying on your phone to communicate.
In case you did not know, I’m from the Dominican Republic. Most people who live there live on “island time”.
I remember my father telling me stories of how his life was so different than that of the United States. He would mention that most people would live paycheck to paycheck. Not because of shortages in their income, instead because they truly enjoyed each and every day.
How would this type of lifestyle look like for you and your partner?
I’m sure it would be different and difficult to get your mind around. However, it helps to create a sense of living in the moment and enjoying what it is that you have in front of you, almost as if today were your last day.
– Practice with one day a week. Document differences in your lifestyle and in your relationship.
Share your life with your partner. This includes:
– Engaging in more conversations on a daily basis.
– Discuss your childhood in all aspects.
– Practice active listening.
– Find middle ground in conflicts.
Know what to share versus what not to.
At times there will be things in your relationship that are better not said for the sole purpose of how they impact your partner. It is very difficult to say what these things would be, as they are different for each individual. Things that are better not said because of how they might negatively impact your relationship include:
– Traumas or encounters that you yourself have not healed from. This would best be addressed first by personal healing then later can be discussed together.
– Issues that may have happened in your personal life that your partner will not see eye to eye with. I know this is vague but you know your relationship better than anyone else. Although it is critical that you and your partner are on the same page as often as possible, there will be opposing encounters. At this point you must think hard and long about how your partner will react and if the reaction is worth it.
Don’t point out weaknesses.
Your partner already knows that they are a bit overweight, or slower than normal readers, or not the brightest tool in the shed. And all of these are okay because you love your partner.
Understand that there are other people in society who are going to bring up their weakness. Your partner does not need you to be one of those people.
– Be your partner’s cheerleader and back their corner as often as possible.
– Emotionally support your partner by providing positive praise and comments.
– “You look beautiful.”
– “I love the way you look in those jeans.”
Numbers 75 and 76 tie in with each other in terms of a weakness being something that is not worth being brought up as it negatively impacts the self-worth of your partner and in turn the emotional connection between you and your partner.
Remember that it is not your love life. It is the life that you and your partner have created together.
An emotional connection is weaved by two committed individuals.
Put down your Mask.
Men have this masculine mask that they put up which often appears to others as someone who is invulnerable.
When you create that type of persona it inclines your partner to feel that they are not emotionally invited or that you (the masculine person) do not require the emotional support.
Let down your mask by accepting that you:
– Have emotions and feelings.
– You have secrets and desires.
– You have and you will continue to make mistakes.
– You are not perfect.
– You experience fear and do feel scared at times.
Put your guard down each and every day by allowing a free flow of emotions, feelings and physical connection.
– Be more playful.
– Have a pillow fight.
– Have a tickle war.
– Explore your silly side.
Once you have practiced letting your guard down, do it again and again. Make an effort to let your guard down in order to create a new habit.
Ask questions when you feel in the “gray” within your relationship.
Ask questions when you feel or think that you may have done something wrong.
Ask questions when you feel or think that things are not going the way “you” personally think they should be going.
If you feel physically or emotionally distant from your partner, ask questions. Find out why there is distance and what can be done about it. The investment you place in your commitment to ask questions and find answers provides your partner with a deep understanding of how committed you are to the relationship.
Questions further allow your partner to notice that you are aware of changes taking place within the relationship.
Be creative and organized.
I use lots of phone apps to stay organized and up to date on my daily/weekly and monthly tasks. Personally, I use:
– Cozi calendar
– Google calendar
– iPhone’s to-do list
Using these apps or your own apps, insert reminders that will help you to create new supportive habits. These habits will directly strengthen your relationship as you continue to check them off the list.
– Give yourself a friendly reminder on your phone to write more handwritten letters to your partner.
– Add on your to-do list a reminder: to leave a letter in a glass bottle and mail the whole thing to your partner. It does not matter if you reside in the same address.
More often than not, you probably realize you are experiencing an emotion through physical symptoms.
– If someone deeply hurts your feelings, you may find yourself crying.
– If someone offends you in just the right manner, you might find yourself clinching your fist.
It is important to stay connected with your emotions and the physical expression. Practice increasing your emotional awareness by:
Reflecting. Think back to the last time you became emotionally aroused or provoked.
What lead to the emotion?
What physical action did you engage in?
How did you manage your emotions?
Once you have practiced reflection you can move on to visualization. Golfers and other athletes practice visualization by seeing themselves perform and act. Close your eyes for a while as if you were about to engage in meditation. Visualize yourself going through an emotion. Maybe your partner said something disturbing. While you are meditating, walk through how the emotion derived from statement your partner said.
As this is being processed in your mind, what emotions are you experiencing?
What physical symptoms are you experiencing?
The more you practice reflection and visualization the more you will understand yourself. Emotional connection is largely based upon how well you know yourself.
Give yourself 30-minutes per day to explore your emotions.
Think of this activity similar to what you do with exercise, reading, or cooking. Each activity has a goal. During your 30-minute block, explore how well you know yourself. Ask yourself the following questions while working towards a solid YES.
– Do you know which words trigger specific emotional responses?
– Do you know how to manage your emotions when triggered or provoked by your partner?
– Do you know how to provoke specific emotional responses from you partner?
– Do you know how your partner manages their emotions when triggered or provoked by you?
When dealing with emotions it is very common for most people to lean towards positive or good feelings rather than negative or bad.
You can almost reach the conclusion that humans tend to pull for good rather than bad. With this in mind, dealing with emotions that are not positive often becomes a hurdle. You may not want to engage in the negative or bad feeling, although to gain emotional connection you will have to face it.
– Start by accepting what you have learned, good feels better than bad.
– Explore the feelings. Grab a sheet of paper and draw a vertical line in the middle. Label one side positive feelings and the other negative feelings. Jot down on each side everything that comes to mind regarding the feeling that you experienced.
– How did I react as a result of the feeling?
– Did I have control over the feeling? Or did the feeling take control of me?
– How do I manage the feeling to gain control over myself?
During my academic studies, it was often discussed that counselors see the negative before the positive.
One example would be a picture that was shown to me during my graduate studies. In the picture there was a lady with a child in a house. The lady appeared tired as she sat on the coach watching television while her child played with toys on a disorganized floor.
The question being asked, was “what did we think was going on?”
Most students including myself began by discussing the negatives.
– Maybe the lady was disorganized or neglectful of her child. Perhaps the lady was on drugs. The list went on with the negatives.
– After the activity we discussed the positives or the alter story. This would be that the lady, who was the mother, was taking a break from her chores before starting to clean.
Right away you can notice how two separate thoughts can impact a person.
In your relationship, it is important to stop automatic thoughts and first process what is taking place.
Try practicing deep breathing:
– 5 seconds inhale through your nose.
– 5 seconds hold the air in.
– 5 seconds exhale through your mouth.
Practice the deep breathing for 3 cycles. When you feel calm and in control, you may revisit the thought and work towards a mutual and rational solution.
Manage how third parties impact your relationship.
Third parties are in reference to in-laws, friends and other individuals that pose a threat to your relationship. The fact is that you or your partners have a history with someone else outside of the relationship. That someone else may be a mother, best friend or mentor. Creating a rule within your relationship that outlines how third parties are involved is important as it impacts the emotional connection.
How to address this sensitive subject without crossing boundaries or stepping on your partners’ toes:
– Honey I want to talk to you about ______. Would you say that you and I try to maintain a strong and healthy relationship with _______? I personally feel that I have tried to do my best to support ______ in my role. Currently, I feel ______ because of the ________ actions towards me. When _______ made this comment or did this action, I personally felt ______. I also felt that the comment or action, impacted our relationship in ___________ manner. Based on what has happened I wanted to first talk to you and see what decision we can come to so that we are both happy and our relationship unharmed.
There is truly no right or perfect answer here. What you need to do is ask yourself how the third party person is impacting your relationship. If you feel good about it, then keep it up. If you feel negative, then you should address it as your goal is to maintain a strong relationship with your partner.
Let’s add a bit more to Number 86. If you find that there are third party persons who pose a threat, then there are a few recommendations on how to effectively and genuinely address it.
– Talk with your partner about the issue.
– Discuss how the third party person is directly and indirectly impacting the relationship.
– Make sure to highlight examples while being realistic and fair.
– Close by discussing how a change will impact your relationship and the relationship with the third party person.
– Remember the main goal is that you and your partner are connected. It is great to have third party relationships, but when there poses a negative inclination on your relationship, it must be addressed.
Show your partner how you want to be loved, cared for or spoken to. Sharing information between you and your partner helps build and strengthen your relationship.
– I like to be spoken to in this manner _____.
– When you do this ______ it makes me feel _______.
You do not always have to solve every problem.
Sometimes your partner simply needs a rock to lean on. Try using the statements below when comforting your partner:
– That sucks.
– I understand.
– You are absolutely correct.
– I agree with you.
– Do not place a blind eye to what is going in your relationship.
– Do not close your heart to your partner.
What is taking place within your relationship requires full attention and commitment.
– I see you.
– I hear you.
– I am all in.
When things are going in the right direction:
Express to your partner what you feel.
- I feel that ________ has changed in our relationship. As a result, I am having _________ feelings. I want to get things better for both of us. How can we do it together?
Tell your partner what you see different.
- You no longer ______ as you did before. Why? Is there anything I can do?
- I’ve noticed that you no longer touch me as you did ______. Why? Is there anything I can do?
Understand how your partner accepts love.
Understanding your partners’ acceptance of love will provide you with the foundation on what to you need to do.
What better way than through conversation.
Take your partner out on a date. One to two hours long. Find a quiet and distraction free place. You know your relationship better than most, so think of where you can go that will allow you and your partner to converse.
Conversing over love:
– What is it that you like me to do physically that makes you feel loved?
– What is it that you like me to do physically that makes you feel connected with me?
– What is it that you like me to do emotionally that makes you feel loved?
– What is it that you like me to do emotionally that makes you feel connected with me?
– Are their things I do that make you feel loved by me? cleaning the home, walking the dog or washing the car.
– Are their occasions that you feel more connected or in love with me? During walks, while watching a movie alone at home, or while I am listening to you.
In Number 91 we discussed understanding how your partner accepts love. Let’s take this one step further. Now that you understand how your partner accepts love, you can further create an emotional connection by delivering what they want.
If your partner ranks higher in accepting physical love, then you can respond by touching more often. More physical gestures such as:
– Holding hands.
This portion is really up to you on how much you can gain from it. Go back to 91 and find answers to the questions. Once you have the answers, you will be able to deliver.
Create opportunities to show love as often as possible.
Most of the time people think that there is a place and time for everything such as a place and time for kissing or holding hands. What people further presume is that physical gestures create emotional connection which are only seen as kissing, holding hands, hugging, cuddling or sex.
There are endless creative ways to show your partner emotional connection through physical acts.
– While watching a movie at home give a foot massage.
– While driving put your hand on their thigh.
– While walking through a park have frequent touches around the hand, waist, and arm.
If you are feeling a bit lost here, sit back and talk with your partner. Realize that the majority of what takes place in couple’s counseling sessions is communication. Words are thrown into the air and analyzed for solutions. You can do this by taking time out of your schedule and devoting it to your relationship. Communicate with your partner.
Explore negative thoughts together. If something about your partner or yourself is bothering you to the point that you are not living in the present, it is recommended to discuss it.
– Do not hold onto something that is distracting you from enjoying the life you and your partner have created.
– Know when to seek help. If you and your partner have walked through the 100 strategies and continue to have difficulties, seek professional support.
Say “we” more often.
– We are a match made in heaven.
– We are awesome together.
– We certainly know how to make love.
– We are successful.
– We have a beautiful home.
– We make money to pay bills, vacations or our child(s) tuition.
– We are having problems with family.
– We are experiencing a difficult time raising our child.
– We have a strong relationship.
Speak openly, clearly and directly when you want a change.
If you are irritated to the point that you rather not engage in a conversation with your partner, please stop and address it. Ask your partner to communicate with you and tell them exactly what behaviors or actions they have done and how it is impacting you.
– When you did ________. I felt _________. Physically I felt __________ and emotionally I felt ________. Currently it is impacting me by _____________.
Share yourself and all that you are.
Think about it. Emotions are created through how we personally feel about something. The gesture of someone being willing to share what is theirs can truly raise emotional connections.
There is a strong association between gestures and emotions. Our brains connect what we do or what someone else does for us to an emotion. If someone slaps your hand for a crude comment, you may associate the physical action to emotions such as anger, frustration or sadness. When you share with your partner they have the opportunity to associate your physical action or gesture with emotions such as:
In Number 97, I mentioned sharing. Here are some things that you may be overlooking in your life.
– Share your food.
– Let your partner shower first.
– Put the baby to bed.
– Give your partner some of your breakfast pancakes.
– Give your partner some of the left over allowance you have.
– Let your partner sit next to you or on your lap.
– Share your last beer.
– Read your child a bed time story together.
– Share the book you just read.
– Share a lottery ticket or price you just won.
– Share the last delicious sips of your Starbucks coffee.
My goal for you is that at this point you have 99 problems and emotional connection is not one.
Last but certainly not least, is the most important one.
Do your homework.
These strategies will NOT help if you do not take initiative to make a change. The strongest recommendation I can give you is to commit yourself to your goals. Identify what it is that you want and understand that in order to get to that place you have pictured in your mind; you must do the homework.