12 Ways to Stay Connected in Your Relationship

This Friday will mark 12 years that Husband and I have been together.  As most of you know by now, we met during our Disney College Program internship 12 years ago and fell fast in love during a very magical semester. Over the next 12 years, we dated long distance (TX and Ohio, TX and China, TN and Ohio and TN and Minnesota). We moved in together, moved overseas together (Albania), moved to NYC together, traveled to 20 plus countries, got married at Disney World, bought a house in Tennessee, had a baby, had major career changes and now have a second baby on the way. We have grown A LOT over 12 years… We were only 20 years old when we started dating! The fact that we have been able to grow so much together is really something special.

I’m sure it’s obvious to everyone, but after 12 years together, a marriage and kid, your dating life and type of romance tends to change a bit. Gone are the days of sleeping in together, having a Netflix marathon all night, spending hours getting ready for a hot date, taking a spontaneous trip for the weekend, staying out with friends all night because you plan on doing nothing the next day,, etc. etc. In fact, just having dinner together is a rare occasion for us. There’s many nights that I’m asleep by the time he gets home from work. Sometimes it feels as if we’re two ships passing in the night, just hoping we’ll cross paths again soon. So, how are we doing it, making it work? Well, it’s not always easy, but lately I’ve set actual “relationship goals” to make sure we still get some quality time together.

Our relationship isn’t in trouble. I just want to make sure I’m giving it the attention it deserves so we don’t end up in a bad place. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in jobs, kids, chores and life and take the strong relationships for granted. There’s a few habits and activities we try and squeeze into our schedules to be sure we’re still making time for one another. I’ve learned that you don’t need an official “date night” (babysitter, high heels and reservations included) to connect and have quality time together. Nope, all you need is each other, great communication and little acts of kindness. If you’re feeling like your relationship could use more attention too, I hope our list of 12 simple ideas to stay connected (or to reconnect) helps!

Take a walk together. You can walk the dog around the neighborhood, take the kids to the park, walk around the office on your lunch break or stroll through the mall.

Window shop. Speaking of the mall….window shopping is one of our favorite past-times. We enjoy long walks around the mall, Target or Barnes and Noble, Starbucks in hand. Sometimes we plan out a dream living room remodel, new wardrobes and even enjoy some samples at William Sonoma.

Lunch breaks. It’s kind of a trek out to Husband’s office, but every so often I’m running errands in his hood so I try to stop by and surprise him with lunch or a snack, or even just a quick visit. Husband does the same. It’s not an every week event, but when we can we try to have a quick lunch together and catch up on our days.

Phone dates.  This is by far the most important time for us lately. Since we have such opposite schedules we spend almost every moment possible on the phone. If Husband leaves work to run an errand, pick up lunch, drive home or drive to ultimate frisbee, he calls me. He always calls me. Why? Because this is prime time to communicate. We share what’s happened during the day, future plans, problems, successes, any and everything. He talks to Luna and gets to hear about her day too. It seems a little lame (and sometimes it is), but it’s basically the conversations we would have over dinner, TV or bedtime. If we can’t have those times, then we make up for it on the phone.

Group dates. Making time for each other is hard, making time for friends is even harder. When we want to see our friends we try to make it a “group thing”. Luckily, we have many of the same friends, so almost once a week we ALL  get together and do something, usually with Luna in tow. Sometimes we all get Chick-Fil-A and ice cream, sometimes we have a potluck dinner and a movie at our house and sometimes we all hangout at the park. The important thing is that we do it together.

Family dates. We don’t ALWAYS want to get a sitter, especially since Husband already misses so much time with Luna. So, what do we do? We take her with us. We have easy dinners out (tacos, pizza, burgers), we take her window shopping, on walks, to the park, whatever really. It’s not super romantic, but it is time together!

Snuggle time. I really miss our late mornings of sleeping in together, cuddling, watching dumb morning shows and enjoying my coffee in bed. Now, whenever possible, I’ll set Luna up with breakfast and a cartoon, sneak back to bed and get back under the covers for some warm snuggles before it’s time for us to really get up and get ready for the day.

Text. Kind of like phone calls, we text a lot too. Sometimes it’s funny memes, often it’s pics of Luna and sometimes it’s just venting. We just like to stay in touch.

Share interests. We certainly do not share ALL interests, but we try. We’ll watch the same YouTube videos, listen to the same podcasts, watch the same TV show, both train for a half-marathon, whatever! It can seem silly, but even just watching the same YouTube channel, gives us something to connect to, bond over, laugh about and share.

Little surprises. These are the best. I try to surprise Husband with special notes or treats in his lunch, little favors around the house, homemade gifts from Luna or whatever I can think to let him know I’m thinking of him. However, he is always better at surprises than I am. Lately, he’s showed up at home with my favorite juices, snacks or treats in order to make me feel better when I’m feeling extra pregnant. Or, if I get in bed early because I’m so exhausted, I’ll wake up to a clean kitchen and folded laundry. I’ve got to say…there’s no better surprise than a clean house!

Allow alone time. This one is tricky, at least it is for me. Husband is really great about allowing me time to myself. I, on the other hand, have a hard time letting him do the same. However, it’s important to remember that we ALL need some time to ourselves. Whether it’s reading, taking a hot bath, watching a junkie show or playing video games. You and your partner each need some time to yourself. Time to recharge and just think in peace.

Gratitude. Maybe it’s just me, but I cannot tell you how satisfying it is to be thanked. I try my best to thank Husband often for his hard work and dedication to our family. He really is a great Husband and the best Daddy. He too, takes the time to randomly thank me for even the little things I do…packing him a lunch, always getting Luna to bed, cleaning, whatever. The days become so monotonous and I often feel like I’m doing nothing, yet running around all day. So, to have someone recognize the little things always makes my day.

12 ways to stay connected

We have our fights and bad days, like all relationships, but I try to always come back to these little things… to each other.

Happy 12 years of being together babe!

Cheers to many many more!

2 Comment

  1. I love this post! You have some really good ideas. I like hearing your story & that you share how it’s important to work at your relationship. I’m definitely going to use some of your ideas!

    1. positivelypanicked says: Reply

      oh thanks so much Jen!!! I really appreciate it, and so nice to chat with you last night!

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