Discuss your week
Catch up regularly about what worked, or didn’t, in the last week and how to improve next week, to ensure you’re both happy with how things are moving.
“Additionally, use this opportunity to get on the same page with your schedules,” says Allison Cohen. “Plan a date night and talk about what you would like to see happen in the coming days, weeks, and months in your relationship.”
This chat doesn’t have to feel like a formal office meeting; it’s only important you connect with each other as, if anything gets left unsaid, resentment can build.
If you want something, ask
“Over time, we assume our partner knows us so well we don’t need to ask for what we want,” says Allison, believing this sets us up for failure by creating high expectations that are soon deflated.
“Those unmet expectations can leave us questioning the viability of our partnership and connection,” she says.
Don’t leave anything down to assumption and ensure you both discuss your needs to avoid feeling let down.
Look them in the eye
An excellent way to show you’re listening is to look your spouse in the eye when talking to them.
“You impart to them that you’re paying attention, you care and you’re listening,” says Jonathan Alpert.
“Don’t stare at him or her dead in the eyes, as this can be seen as too intense. Rather, look slightly off centre, to the left or right of the eye.
“We will always be a mystery to each other; it’s healthier for this to be acknowledged - celebrated even - than denied.”
Being empathetic helps you connect with your other half. According to Jonathan, this can be accomplished through both verbal and non-verbal means.
“Providing comments, such as ‘yes’ or ‘I understand’ while they are speaking will help them to feel listened to,” he says.
“Non-verbal ways to build rapport and show you care would be to sit with an open stance, as opposed to folded arms, and to nod reassuringly.”
Leave yourself out of the conversation
You risk alienating your partner if you’re regularly interrupting their conversation with comments like ‘that’s exactly what I went through.’
“Usually people, on an emotional level, don’t have the same experiences,” says Jonathan.
“So, by saying that you did, you might end up showing a lack of sensitivity and may minimise their experience.”
Instead, learn to listen and allow them to express the situation from their point of view.
Don’t jump to a solution
“Sometimes what people want - and need - is simply someone to listen and not necessarily provide a solution,” says Jonathan.
Similarly to keeping yourself out of the conversation, at times the best course of action is purely to listen.
If your spouse is talking about work, for example, they may prefer to vent than have you suggest a solution. In addition, if you’re attempting to find an answer it can cause you to stop listening.
“If they ask for your advice, that’s a different story and, of course, you can provide it.”
Keep it sexy
Discussing what you each find sexy and ‘unsexy’ will keep things exciting by increasing sexy behaviours and limiting those that aren’t.
“Think about this in the broadest form,” says Allison. “Sexy can certainly refer to bedroom preferences, but it also represents what excites us about our mate in our day-to-day lives.”
To keep the spark alive, communicate with each other about specific habits or gestures you like - or don’t.