Ugg, I hate to even type that phrase, “new normal.” I’m *so ready* to go back to the real normal!
But, until that happens, my husband and I are going to make the best of it and do what we can at home to continue to build and maintain a healthy relationship in this crazy phase of our lives.
So, quick status update: when all this quarantine stuff went down back in March, date nights became a thing of the past. And not only were we unable to reconnect over a pair of margs and some tasty tacos, we were also spending more time together than ever before. But, time together does not necessarily lead to a healthier relationship. Because despite being together all day every day, it seemed that we were spending less quality time together.
Can you relate?
For us, quality time is key to building and maintaining a thriving and healthy relationship. We did our best to get creative, and now I’m sharing our list with you!
Here are our favorite “in place of date night” ways to reconnect and tips for keeping the peace while we’re all home more than usual.
1) Designate one night of the week to be “tech free”
After the kids are in bed we usually just want to crash in front of a glowing screen… but on Thursdays we take a break from our tech and intentionally spend time– quality time, that is– together. We chat about our plans for the upcoming weekend, our next home-reno project, or our kids.
Sometimes the conversations are heavy, sometimes they are lighthearted- but they always help us grow. Having time “set aside” helps us prioritize each other and affirm the importance of our relationship.
2) Stretch together with Romwod
This is a subscription stretching app that has a daily guided stretching video. Romwod stands for “range of motion workout of the day” — and while it is technically for crossfitters, we enjoy the stretches even though we don’t crossfit (anymore).
Stretching together in the evenings has helped us de-stress, slow down, and take a break. Plus, there are so many physical benefits to stretching that this has been great for our overall health, as well as our relationship!
3) Giving each other personal time — even if it’s just a run or a short drive
For those of us who are introverts, (me!) this one is especially important. Having a s/o who helps you make time for yourself and who gives you “me time” is life-giving. Sometimes I’m hesitant to leave the kids, but he “pushes” me out the door, watches me lace up my running shoes and waves goodbye.
When I come home half an hour later I’m a new mom, a better wife and an all around happier version of myself. We all know exercise is good for the body, and encouraging each other to tap into that serotonin boost is a gift. And, when you’re in a good place physically and mentally, your relationship is likely to be in a good place as well.
4) Take Daily walks or bike rides for fresh air and vitamin D
Getting outside and soaking up some vitamin D is another thing that’s great for your mood and by extension, good for your relationship. According to this study which discusses vitamin D and depression, “Most individuals in this country have insufficient levels of vitamin D.”
Whenever you’re needing to hit the reset button, get outside and take a walk together. A change of scene, some fresh air, and vitamin D can do wonders.
5) DIY something together
Admittedly, my husband and I are avid DIY-ers. But, you don’t have to be “handy” to update a space together! There are countless videos on YouTube that can teach you how to do just about anything around the house, and figuring it out together can be a great way to build a relationship! If you have a light fixture you’ve never liked, change it out! Or if you’re itching to swap color schemes in your dining room, pop open a can of paint.
The possibilities are only as limited as your imagination, and that should be pretty limitless because… pinterest 🙂
6) Try a new recipe together
Cooking together has always been one of my favorite activities. The food always turns out better when we’re helping each other rather than working solo.
So find something new, (maybe one of these recipes) grab your ingredients and get cooking together!
7) Pull out your photos and look through them together!
I dislike that this means we have our phones out… but honestly, does anyone print photos anymore? Try picking a random year and month and picking your favorite photo from that month to share.
There are always funny photos that I’ve taken of the kids and just forgotten to share, these hidden gems are so fun to find!
Keeping a relationship healthy:
8) Regularly ask each other, “how are you?”
I know this is usually a superficial question you ask when you bump into a friend at the grocery store. “Hey! How are you?” “I’m good” “Great, see ya later!” And that’s the end of that conversation. But, if you really mean it and really listen, “how are you” can be a great conversation starter.
9) Resolve conflicts immediately
We’ve learned that conflicts don’t “go away” until we work through them — if you go to bed mad, you’re going to wake up mad! So first, resolve conflicts right away.
And in terms of how to do that — one of my all time favorite pieces of relationship advice has been to ask, “what about this is important to you?” I don’t remember where I read this, or if someone just told me to ask that question, but I’ve been using it ever since. I’m usually blown away by the answer. No matter how long we’ve been together or how strong our relationship is, there will always be times when we interpret the situation differently.
When I ask, “what about this is important to you” and listen to his answer, I’m able to get a glimpse of how he’s seeing the situation. Usually once I understand his side of things, and he understands mine, we’re able to find a peaceful solution quickly and easily.
So there you have it, my 9 ways to keep a relationship healthy through the new normal.
What about you?
Do you have any new ways to reconnect and build your relationship in this post-covid world? If you do, I’d love to hear about them below in the comments!