Balancing “I” and “We” – Part 2

In the last post we talked about the importance of maintaining your own sense of identity and independence within your relationship and gave some tips for doing so. This post takes a look at the other side of this dynamic — when there is too much “I” and not enough “We.”

hands-437968_640When maintaining a sense of closeness is not a priority, intimacy atrophies. It can happen gradually. One day you wake up and suddenly realize you just feel so… far away… from your partner. How did that happen? And how do you get back that sense of “we”?

Here are some practical tips for becoming more connected with your partner:

  • Just say no.
    • Sometimes we simply take on too many outside obligations and stretch ourselves too thin. Allow yourself to say “no” to activities that take too much time or energy away from your relationship.
  • Date your mate.
    • Start having a weekly date night. Mark it on the calendar, schedule the babysitter, and when the time arrives, relax and enjoy yourselves!
  • Make a bucket list together.
    • Mix it up with both short-term and long-term so that you can start crossing things off right away while still dreaming and planning for your future together.
  • Try something new – together.
    • Take a sushi-making or painting class, or try out the latest fitness craze. Even if you make fools of yourselves, you’ll share some laughs and feel closer in the process.
  • Have a daily “check-in”.
    • Set aside time each day, whether it’s 15 minutes or an hour, where you give each other your undivided attention—no smartphones! Use the following prompts (or create your own):
      • What was stressful/rewarding for you today?
      • What made you happy today?
      • Today you were a great partner because _____.
      • I felt confident in/when _____.
      • I felt insecure or vulnerable in/when _____.

Building that sense of intimacy and connection takes time and consistency, which is why small check-ins each day can help you increase your closeness even amidst the hectic pace of everyday life. Who knows? You might even get crazy and plan a whole day to spend together!