As winter approaches many get more concerned with the presence of germs in their lives. Closed houses keep germs inside and thus we get more colds and perhaps the flu. So we are encouraged to wash our hands more and sneeze into our sleeves, get more sleep and a little fresh air, and are reminded to eat fruits and vegetables. As we were thinking about this we wondered if we should also think about “de-germing” our relationship so that it might be healthier this winter season. Here are 5 suggestions that may help.
- We need to find a balance between times alone and time together. Each of us needs time to foster our own gifts and talents as well as interests, but at the same time we need to spend time together. Bob is a voracious reader. He could likely read from the time he gets up until he goes to bed. He reads cereal boxes and the newspaper every morning. He collects all the data he can before he purchases anything. The funny part is that he doesn’t always read directions. Rita likes to watch Jeopardy and a few HGTV programs. We do read together and watch a little TV together. More importantly we find ways to spend time together while eating meals together, on little road trips and exercising together. It allows for conversation about the mundane and about serious things. Finding the balance will bring a breath of fresh air to your relationship.
- De-bug your communication skills. If, like us, you spent a lot of time with kids activities and/or outside in the summer, being indoors again means we spend more time together. There are many possible topics. Perhaps it is money. We have to come to an agreement about how and how much we will spend on the holidays. Maybe it is children. Are we on the same page about what we will allow as they are invited to parties with friends or associated with school events? Do we have a set routine for family events for the holidays, or do we have to make some adjustments this year. We have different sets of children/grandchildren here on Christmas day every year and always have to work out details together. In the busy holiday times it is easy to let our intimacy suffer in the pressure of other events. How do we support each other in a little time alone for each of us when the house is crowded over several days, and also some time together. Perhaps it is a time to revisit our relationship with God. It might also be a good time to look at where we need to forgive each other and perhaps acknowledge the moments that become tense between us when life is hectic. We have put some effort into anticipating the tension and have been able to decide how to handle them by anticipating and deciding together how we will deal with them. Developing good communication skills is like getting that flu shot or sneezing into your sleeve, it enables you to face what needs to be faced and helps contain and refocus things that could potentially be destructive.
- While we may be more conscious of catching colds, etc., in the winter, it might also be a good time to think about your overall health. If you haven’t had that annual physical for some time, winter is a perhaps a good time to do so. While warm weather might make it easier to get out and exercise, as the colder seasons arrive in the Northern Hemisphere, it might be good to figure out how to fit some indoor exercise into your life, especially as the holiday seasons and foods enter our lives. Eating healthy is another way to strengthen your relationship. Being healthy physically adds a lot to the tenor of our relationship. Maybe this fall would be good to sit down and discuss overall health with each other. You just might catch some real bugs in your lives.
- In the cold of winter and shortening of the hours of light we tend to settle in and perhaps do less “fun things.” Having some fun together is always a good way to de-bug your relationship. It might include a walk in the leaves, kicking them along as you go. When it snows, perhaps make snow angels. Maybe make love in a new or interesting place. Watch a funny movie or TV show together. Perhaps revisit some of the funny, outrageous things you have done during your years together. Laughing together, not at each other, is a fun and wonderful way to keep germs out of your relationship. Bob has a wacky sense of humor and sees humor in many things. Talk about how you tease each other. Gentle, loving teasing does wonders for our relationship.
- Physical touch is another way of keeping the germs from your relationship. Holding hands, hugging, and perhaps lingering kisses are a great way to keep closeness. Some might not want to do that with the advent of the cold and flu season. We figure we are going to get it any way just living together and maybe the happiness that comes from engaging in physical things might just boost your immune system
Getting a healthier outlook on your relationship can be fun, a source of growth and just might add to the joy in your life.
Bob & Rita’s book: Forever and Day: An Invitation to Create a Marriage That Lasts a Lifetime is available on Amazon.com or by contacting us. Also available for Kindle and Nook. Make a retreat with your spouse, at home, on your time. Readings, relationship tips, questions for discussion.