Extreme, Everyday Love

Ashley Davis Bush, LCSW, looks at ways couples can boost their relationship happiness and intimacy by incorporating daily habits into their lives.

A relationship is like a plant: it needs regular attention to stay healthy. Does your plant have enough sunlight, water, air? Is the soil a bit dry . . . are the flowers drooping? With today’s modern, busy lifestyles in which we’re juggling work demands, kid schedules, home maintenance, health concerns, and social commitments, ‘gardening’ may be the last thing on our minds.

When we come home stressed and exhausted at the end of the day, the thought of sitting down for a 20 minute relationship ‘pow wow’ can feel overwhelming. And though date nights sound like a good idea, they rarely seem to happen.

But what if you could weave small habits through your day that actually boosted your relationship happiness level? What if these habits were just small shifts in your behavior and attention? Yes, by integrating the following 5 habits into your life every single day, you’ll bring more intimacy and a feeling of connection into your relationship.

  1. Morning Light  It matters how you greet your sweetheart in the morning. If you wake up together, or even if you wake up separately, you want to communicate “You are my beloved, I adore you.” You can offer an “I love you” no matter what your morning schedule: by phone, by text or email, a whisper in the ear, or even with a post-it on the bathroom mirror. Make sure that one of your first communications in the morning is saturated with the feeling that your sweetie matters to you and you matter to them.
  2. Text Treat  Use modern technology to your advantage. When you’re having lunch, send your dear one a text just to let them know that you’re thinking of them and that your relationship matters to you.
  3. Home Sweet Home  As you approach your home after a day’s work, think of one thing that you particularly love about the home you created with your honey. Say it out loud. Be specific, recognizing that a house is just a house but a home is the sum total of the love that exists within it.
  4. Puppy Love  When you reunite after any separation (an errand to the grocery or a 2-day business trip), greet each other with a stomach-to-stomach hug lasting for 10 or more seconds. Think of it this way, you don’t want to be greeting your pet with more enthusiasm than you greet your mate. Stop what you’re doing, close your eyes, and hold on tight. Hugging stimulates oxytocin, the bonding hormone.
  5. Life and Breath  When you say goodnight, lay your finger under the nose of your beloved so you can feel their breath. Say the words, “I’m so glad that you’re alive.” Even if you go to bed at different times, do this before you sleep. Remember that life is brief, fragile, and unpredictably short. Savor each day together and give thanks for your time while it lasts.

These connection building skills are a great way to thread emotional intimacy through your days. With them, you’ll find that your relationship is stronger than ever before. Get ready for your relationship to bloom and grow!