In the craftsman’s shop you’ll find a can of “wood glue” on the shelf. He carefully uses it to bond special pieces of wood together. “Togetherness” is glue that bonds a couple through the thick and thin of everyday life. Though it looks different for each individual couple, there are some key factors to consider in this bonded commitment to do life together.
1) Carve out opportunities for two
The rush of work, outside commitments and simply “getting it done” can squeeze couple time to the fringe of your relationship. Be intentional about the value you put on being together. Quality time can rarely be scheduled, but rather it grows out of quantity time. Value those moments you get to be together. Acknowledge them. Appreciate them. When you highlight your appreciation of being together, even if it’s just a quick hand squeeze over the armrest as you drive, your bonding strengthens.
2) Be interested
You don’t need to have the same interests, but it is important to be interested. My husband and I have very different interests yet we make a point to stay interested in what draws each other. Listen, ask questions, share the experience in some way when you can. Celebrate each other in your differences. Choose to let them be part of the glue of your marriage rather than something that simply takes you in different directions.
3) Have friends in common
Seek out couple friendships that you can share together. Friendships are key to quality of life. Make sure you incorporate some that you can enjoy together. Friendships in common are glue to a relationship and they build a bond of support as couples.
4) Keep growing
A healthy couple relationship is one in which both individuals keep growing and learning. Keep reaching in your own areas of interest but also nurture the marriage with growth together. Plan exercise together, a cooking class, attend a concert or seminar, a class at a church; anything that could be mutually enjoyable and would enrich your conversations together.
5) Take time to refuel
Everyone refuels differently. Some need quiet time alone after being with people all day. Others need people to stimulate them after a work day at a desk. Some need to create, or work on a project or read. When life is particularly hectic make sure you and your partner both take some time to refuel, to gather strength, to refresh, and refocus on your priorities. Talk together about how you each refuel and work together to help make it happen for each other.
6) Share life
Be intentional about sharing life together. Share the tangible things of life but also share the inner spaces of your thoughts, feelings, faith and fears. If that isn’t happening start small and ask something like, “What did you enjoy most in your day today?” Prime the pump of conversation.
Simply increasing your awareness of valuing togetherness will up the bonding factor in your marriage. After all, most people get married to “do life together” and build their history together. Take the craftsman’s glue from the shelf and up your bonding factor this week! It’s well worth the effort!
“History together is built one day and one event at a time.”