At the beginning of a relationship it is easy for two people to connect with one another. We loved coming home at the end of the day and being asked: “How was your day?” All the kisses, the hugs, the conversations, the sex, the whole nine yards felt sweeter than honey!
With the passage of time, some couples, experience a growing distance from one another. (What THAT’s about is another post). When that happens the last thing we want to hear is “How was your day?” It sounds disingenuous and perfunctory, if only due to repetition.
As distance between the two people grows it looks like this: less time spent together, holding hands less frequently or not at all, not sitting next to one another on the couch watching TV, less time out on dates, and maybe just a little peck on the cheek before you go to work or after you return home, instead of that nice long-held kiss and embrace.
There are many ways for couples to connect and disconnect. I will focus on one specific time of the day when re-connection is desired, but often is elusive.
The time of day I’m talking about this at the end of the day when one or both of you return home from your respective workplaces. The most commonly asked question is: “How was your day?”
While the question seems to ask about your partner’s day, it may also be a statement in the form of a question. That statement (in question form) is: “I want to connect with you!” When the desire to connect is there, one of the least effective ways of connecting is by asking the question “How was your day.”
What is a more effective way to connect? Try some creative approaches:
One option is to begin talking about your own day first. Another alternative is to express how happy you are to be home. That might come in the form of, “boy am I glad to see you!”
If you prefer to be left alone, don’t be shy about saying so. One way to say that without being off-putting is to simply announce, “I need a little down time, some quiet time. I need to decompress a bit.” Yes, a little transition time may lead to a better connection. Do your best not to be offended if your partner requests it. On the other side of the coin, if you request transition time, make sure that it is not a passive means of avoidance.
The goal is to attempt the reconnection by keeping the focus on yourself rather than on your partner. Otherwise, you run the risk of asking your partner for a performance of sorts. When we ask, “How was your day,” in a sense were asking for them to perform for us, or produce something for us.
After a difficult day, perhaps a day of constant demands, “How as your day” may feel like one more demand.
Depending upon how you spent your day, or whatever you’ve been doing through the day, you might even be boldly direct: “it sure is nice to connect with somebody at home who has got some sanity.”
These are just a few new ways to think about reconnecting at the end of the day, and some examples of how to do it. It may seem like a small thing but in the end it will net you big results.
Wishing you a satisfying relationship,
Jim Hutt, Ph.D., MFT
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