by Sheri E Ragland
Reconnecting is important to every relationship no matter how strong or weak the relationship is. I like to think of reconnecting as the bonding process within the relationship. Bonding is investing in your relationship mentally, sexually, emotionally and spiritually. It is all about spending valuable time with your spouse/partner. Spending time together can reduce conflict and improve communication depending on a couple’s maturity level. For instance, my husband and I like to reconnect at the beginning of each year and throughout the year. We begin the process with reflection at the end of each year followed by reconnecting, then goal planning. Reflection allows us to think critically about the level of our relationship and where changes should be made. Once we have reflected and discussed our thoughts and feelings, we focus on reconnecting. Reconnecting helps my husband and I to rekindle those intimate feelings for each in order to start fresh with planning for the New Year without barriers. For us, to reconnect means to take inventory of our relationship emotionally, sexually and spiritually. Reconnecting allows couples to move beyond the past through forgiveness and acceptance and it helps couples eliminate emotional barriers to their relationship. Here are seven ways to reconnect.
- Leave the past behind. Even though couples know that focusing on past issues can prevent them from moving forward, they still allow the past to rule their relationships. Frankly, there is nothing that can be done about the past because it cannot be changed. However, you can learn from it. It is perfectly fine to reflect on positive points from the past and consider them for the future. To dwell on negative points not only limits your thinking and frame of reference, it is a time waster. Not to mention, it can be emotionally draining to the relationship. Use your past to make better decisions in your relationship.
- Listen to your spouse/partner. Listening is an important aspect of reconnecting. Listening helps you to understand what is important to your spouse/partner even though you may not always agree. At times, you may need to listen and not provide feedback. It takes thoughtfulness to know when it is best to do so. Listening also promotes calmness, respect and open-mindedness. Listening creates a neutral ground for discussions without blaming and criticizing. It is an invaluable characteristic that all relationships need. A spouse/partner who listens shows maturity, patience and humility.
- Share Your Thoughts. Freedom in a relationship begins with having differing perspectives about situations and speaking openly about them in such a way that it does not offend or disrespect each other. However, it also requires respectful listening without interruptions from each of you. In your relationship, you both should be able to freely share your thoughts without being criticized by each other. Sharing your thoughts creates a platform for openness that can lead to greater honesty, trust and respect for each other.
- Embrace each other’s differences in thinking. I am a firm believer that two individuals can be opposite and still manage a strong relationship. A difference in thinking is an expression of an individual’s unique personality and can be considered strength to the relationship. Embracing each other’s differences requires couples to be open-mined about each other as they learn more about one another over time. Differences can allow multiple perspectives that may lead to alternative solutions for solving problems. In essence, open-mindedness is a solution for embracing each other’s differences. An Individual who fails to recognize the value of his/her partner’s thoughts may have difficulties with conflict in their relationship.
- Have faith in your spouse/partner. As much as you may love your spouse/partner, he/she is not perfect. The best support you can give to your spouse/partner is to encourage and edify him/her with positive words. Patience, kindness and forgiveness can protect the relationship in the future. Another words, have faith in your spouse/partner. One thing I have learned in my marriage is that we continue to grow and become better people because we want to be the best we can be as a person and for each other. Change takes time and persistence, while commitment takes faith.
- Make Time For Intimacy. Reconnecting or bonding allows couples to prepare for the future by strengthening the relationship through intimacy. Examples of intimacy include scheduling dates and planning time together. Time together can include playing games, watching movies, working out together, cooking together and so forth. My husband and I enjoy life in every way that we can. We schedule dates several times a month. It is fun, relaxing and stress free. The demands of life can often intervene and prevent couples from spending intimate time together. Honestly, you may need to schedule times for intimacy. That is ok. It is better to schedule time together as often as possible, than neglect your relationship.
- Include the spiritual component of your relationship. For holistic balance, consider the spiritual needs of your relationship. My husband and I make sure that we nurture the spiritual aspect of our relationship for balance. We do this by praying, studying the Bible and attending church together regularly. It is a great way to encourage each other daily. We continue to experience positive change in ourselves as well as in the relationship. It also helps us to make it through the tough times together. I believe it is important to have a Christ-centered relationship to manage your relationship as well as your life. This may include consistently attending a Christ-centered church, praying and studying the Bible together as well as individually.
Reconnecting is a great way to help couples to refocus and remove barriers to progress through the seven strategies provided. Couples can use any one or all of the seven steps to effectively manage their relationship. Reconnecting is a mechanism for strengthening the relationship and providing couples with emotional stability.