A romantic getaway may seem like the perfect way to reconnect as a couple. But, that’s not always possible – and even if it were, it may not be the answer you’re both hoping for.
A more lasting solution is to look for opportunities to grow closer in your everyday interactions. Practice mutual respect, carve out time for one another, tune in more closely to each other’s needs. These and other simple ways to express love and affection for one another will strengthen your relationship.
Seeing each other’s side and managing your expectations
A first step toward reconnecting with your partner is to open up to each other and to be honest with yourself. As a couple, you can use these insights to forge a deeper connection based on mutual understanding. Here’s where to start:
- Check your expectations against reality. Examine each other’s ideas of how your relationship should be. Where did those expectations come from? Are they realistic? Accept that no relationship is perfect all the time. Relationships also naturally change and evolve. The romance in its early stages may deepen into a reliable partnership that can be equally fulfilling, if not more. It may be time to update your expectations.
- Stand in each other’s shoes. It can be truly eye-opening to hear each other’s perspective. It’s important in all relationships, but particularly for military couples when one partner is new to military life. For example, the demands of a service member’s job may make it impossible to have dinner together every night or talk on the phone whenever you want. By listening to each other’s needs and responsibilities, you will develop a greater awareness of and appreciation for each other. You may even be able to come up with creative ways to meet halfway, such as having breakfast together each morning or checking in during a scheduled break.
- Avoid angrily criticizing each other. This will put each other on the defensive and shut down communication. Instead, name the specific action that bothers you and how it makes you feel. Then work together toward a solution that will work for both of you.
Ways to connect at home
No matter how busy you get, it’s essential that you and your partner make time for each other. Here are ideas for keeping your relationship fresh and meaningful.
- Describe your perfect date together. Write down or tell each other in great detail what your ideal date would be like, right down to your outfits. Describe the setting, how you will get there and what you will do when you’re there.
- Have a date night. You probably won’t be able to pull off your fantasy date, but you can aim for the emotional connection it would create. Plan a special night at home if going out is impossible. If you have children, ask a neighbor or friend to watch them for a few hours. Put away your phones, so you can focus on each other. Have a special meal, watch a movie. Dance. Do what makes you both happy.
- Ask each other 20 questions. It doesn’t have to be 20, but there are probably many things you don’t know about each other. Do you know your partner’s favorite movie? Favorite recording artist? What would each other’s superpower be and why that one? The questions are endless and can open up new insights into one another.
- Exercise together. Run, bike, hike, lift weights, sign up for an online fitness class together. Encourage each other and have fun together.
- Go on a walk. Try to fit walks into your regular routine with your partner, even if it means getting up early. If you have young children, bring them along. Walking reduces stress and can lead to great conversations.
- Take a long drive together. The car is another good setting for conversation. Enjoy the scenery outside your windows while catching up with each other.
- Share your favorite childhood foods. Incorporate family recipes into your meals or order regional treats online. This is a good way to learn about each other and share an important part of your personal histories.
- Take a class together. Experience the excitement of learning something new together. If you can’t get out, sign up for an online class. You should be able to find whatever you are interested in online, from cooking or learning a new language, to dance or drawing.
Resources for connecting with your partner
The Department of Defense, through Military OneSource and the Military and Family Life Counseling program, offers resources to help service members and their partners reconnect at home.
- The Building Healthy Relationships specialty consultation is a free and confidential series of personalized coaching sessions to help you deepen your relationships. Strengthening the Couple Connection track focuses on issues common to military couples.
- Non-medical counseling is another option available to couples or individuals. Free and confidential sessions with a Military and Family Life counselor are available on your installation. Military OneSource also offers non-medical counseling.
- The Love Every Day app is a fun way to practice your relationship communication skills and rekindle your romance.
- Visit the Re the We page on Military OneSource for access to articles, tools and resources to rekindle, repair or reset your relationship.
Military OneSource is there for you 24/7 to help you and your partner thrive in your relationship. Call 800-342-9647 to connect with a consultant. OCONUS? Use these international calling options.