I got triggered again last week. My husband said something that was poorly worded, I took it personally, lashed out at him, triggered him, he got defensive, which triggered me even further, and before we knew it we were both angry and hurt.
This used to be a daily occurrence, consistently triggering each other by our reactions, continuing into a downward spiral until we were yelling, crying, or not speaking. It happens far less now, but it still happens sometimes. And what we've learned over the past few years is that when we start to trigger each other, when we start to react out of hurt and anger and insecurity, it probably means our quality time is lacking. When we look back on the past month, the evidence speaks for itself.
These times, when we want to walk away and be alone, are the most important for us to lean in to those feelings, explore them, mend our hearts. When we want to spend time apart, it really means we should be spending more time together.
Our therapist pointed out that when we are consistently spending time together, when we are feeling secure in our relationship, when we are feeling more connected, we are more likely to let small mistakes roll off our back because we know our spouse's heart and their true intentions. Alternatively, we we are less connected because we've been neglecting date night, we start to doubt our partner's intentions and the way they feel about us.
But what can we do to feel more connected? And what if we don't have time, money, or space to have a date night? Below are three easy tips for fostering connection in your relationship. And as for the date night struggle, click here and sign up to get a printable list of 20 (plus a bonus) simple date night ideas that won't break the bank!
1. Hold weekly date night (or day) as sacred! Every week, make a commitment to spend dedicated time with your partner, without interruptions. Occasionally you can even do family date nights, or couples dates, but make sure you also work in time where it's just the two of you. And if you struggle with finding time away from your kids, or if a babysitter is not an option, then do what we do! The large majority of our date nights are just us cooking homemade meals, sitting together on the couch and watching a movie while the kiddo is in the other room watching his own movie. We've taught him how important date night is, and how it creates a more peaceful home and happier parents. What kid wouldn't be on board for that?
2. Put the phone down! Intentionally commit to putting your phone away, in another room, for a specific amount of time. You could commit this to your partner, or if them calling you out would cause tension, you could commit to a friend or even write it down and put it somewhere only you will see it. The point is that you are committing to intentional time spent with your spouse, where you don't give into the unconscious urge to check your phone and then get pulled down a rabbit hole by notifications.
3. Hold hands! Seriously, this sounds so simple, but physical touch can totally build emotional connection. Especially if your spouse's love language is physical touch, but even if not! There was even a study done that shows the significant affect that holding hands can have on a person's stress response! I talk more about that study in my date night training in my Peaceful + Hope-filled Wives group on Facebook. If you aren't a part of that group yet, come check us out. We are here to lift you up and help you find solutions for any struggles you might be having in your marriage, based on our own struggles and triumphs!
So, I hope you will try out these tips, and use some of those date night ideas too! If you do, please drop a comment below and let us know what you tried and how it is working for you!
Until next time,
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