My wife and I recently had a date-planning service arrange a restaurant and a hotel in our home city. Without any great interruption in our schedules (we didn’t want to drive far, and we both had to work the next day), we were pulled out of monotony and into a shared experience of connection and novelty.
It was a date to remember.¹ Our brains are drawn to and shaped by such experiences.
First we shared the excitement of picking a new restaurant we could walk to, and then staying in a hotel we had never been in before. We had some great conversation, as the very act of having such a date conveys that our relationship comes first.
The next day we woke up together and walked to breakfast. It felt like we were on vacation, and the only regret was that we couldn’t keep it going.
If you are in a long-term relationship, chances are you devote more time to your children, work, and even hobbies or exercise than your relationship.
My wife and I know this from experience. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the slog of life and take each other for granted. We need to cultivate connection, and so I urge us all to set aside some time and plan something that makes clear the importance of our relationship.
If we don’t, we miss the opportunity to have our relationship work for us.
Love is a verb; it’s not something we do just once.
In order to make our relationship work for us, we need to invest our attention, effort and time. We can’t just give our partner the leftovers.
That evening and morning my wife and I put our phones down (a feat for us) and gave each other our full attention.
After breakfast, when the date ended, I felt rejuvenated driving to work. The little day-to-day irritants and stressors that had been bothering me didn’t seem to matter as much that morning, reinforcing my belief in the importance of connection for our well-being.
When we connect, we have more resources in our life roles, whether as a business owner, employee, parent or friend.
Investing in our relationship is self-care. Relationship expert John Gottman says that a healthy relationship is more beneficial to our well-being than a gym membership.