Everywhere I turn my friends and clients are navigating choppy waters in their most intimate relationships. The current economic and political climate combined with all the epic changes over the last three years are challenging even the strongest of relationships. Visiting with my husband this past Sunday, we agreed it’s time to pause, spend more focused energy on “us” and call in all the support we need to remind us we’re in the foxhole together.
Here are a few ideas from my book Nurturing the Soul of Your Family for reconnecting with your partner in daily life:
• Schedule time for self-care first. Block out time for self-renewal just like you would schedule a dentist appointment. Reflect on what you most need physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually to feel fully resourced. Perhaps schedule a “solo date” one night a week for creative time or to work on your vision for the fall. Fill your cup first so you’ll be able to feel more generous and loving during your time with your partner.
• Utilize the power of touch. I love Stan Tatkin’s work (check out Wired for Love) on the neurobiology of relationships. Make it a habit to stay physically connected to your partner whenever you see him or her in thoughtful, easy ways: hugs and kisses in the morning and at the end of the day, quick neck or shoulder massages, gentle arm touches, holding hands. Physicality increases our emotional connection and helps us co-regulate.
• Communicate respectfully and manage your own frustrations. Partners don’t always agree. That’s okay, but when our emotions get heated, we can say and do things we later regret. Recognize your limits and when you’re triggered give yourself a “quiet break” to reflect and re-frame. Also, be mindful of what you know sets you off or upsets your partner and avoid it. Imago work, the Enneagram (a personality system) and The Five Love Languages are great resources here.
• Share the big picture and communicate often. Make sure your partner knows what’s going on with you on all fronts by telling him or her. If you have a particularly challenging day or week ahead, and you may need some extra support and TLC, give your partner a heads-up. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a coach/therapist or mentor if you need help finding the 30,000 foot view.
• Every day, talk, connect and state your needs. At a minimum, take ten minutes at the end of each day to take turns sharing the highs and lows of your day, anticipating tomorrow, and asking for what you might need. Saying, “Three things I need from our relationship now are . . .” is a simple but powerful request. Your needs will change depending on the time of the year, your life stage and if you have kids. Also, try my friend Tanya’s strategy; she shares: “We like to take long, hot baths together after the kids are in bed — try staying mad when you’re covered in bubbles!”
This week, take a few minutes to sit down with your partner and explore these ideas together. At a relationship crossroad and asking the big questions? Check out this great Psychology Today blog from my good friends, relationship experts Charlie and Linda Bloom (they just released a new book!). Your relationship can be one of your greatest sources of nourishment, but it needs tending and nurturing. I’d love to hear how you stay connected to your partner.
FOUR WAYS TO MAKE YOUR SELF-CARE A PRIORITY: I’D LOVE TO SUPPORT YOU!
- **SOLD OUT: JOIN THE WAITING LIST.** September 15-17th ~ Sing, Dance, Pray: Romancing the Beloved at the Retreat Center at Lake Logan (45 min. from Asheville, NC airport). Located on sacred land in the oldest mountain range in the world. Limited to 25 women. Email email@example.com to be on our waiting list. Learn more.
- October 13-15th ~ Awakening Your Wild Soul: A Women’s Self-Renewal Retreat at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health (Berkshire Mountains, MA). Packages start at just $635. This is our most popular retreat of the year (gorgeous leaf color!). Learn more/register. Check out all our 2024 Kripalu retreats: Jan. 19-21, April 26-28 and Oct. 25-27! Kripalu is my favorite retreat center and the largest in North America.
- Wild Souls Nature Adventures (based outside of Asheville, NC in the Blue Ridge Mountains): weekly Wild Souls Authentic Movement classes, community song circles, meditation workshops, women’s circles & more. New offerings listed each week; join a public class or have me design a custom experience for your team/friends. Join us Aug. 6th for our next Wild Souls Authentic Movement class. Learn more.
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Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by mindfulness coach/author/speaker and self-care evangelist Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women find balance through the art/science of self-care, Renee has been facilitating high-impact, interactive workshops for Fortune 500 companies, national nonprofits/conferences and organizations/teams worldwide for 25 years. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Fast Company, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, AARP, Spirituality & Health and more. She and her team have certified more than 450 facilitators in 10 countries around the globe to lead self-renewal groups/retreats based on her pioneering self-care curriculum. She’s the author of two books on life balance including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life. She and her husband live in Western North Carolina and Austin, Texas; her latest venture is Wild Souls Nature Adventures. More on Renee here.