It’s easy to drift apart from someone you love. Even someone you felt consumed by, obsessed by. Life happens; time and stress and work and family can take a toll. That’s when you put your spouse on the back burner—he’ll always be there, right? Because you have more pressing things to do right now, like pay the bills, answer to your boss, get your kids to the birthday party, take care of the busted water heater.

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And one day you wake up and you feel like a stranger is sleeping next to you. Your connection is frayed, and so are your nerves. That’s when it’s time to take stock and realize that, in fact, your spouse may not always be there. He needs love and attention, and so do you.

 

So how do you get back to that feeling of connection that you once had? Or even better, how do you move forward to a healthy, intimate relationship that’s better than ever?

 

Small acts of love. A lot of them.

 

These can be verbal or nonverbal, or both. The more the better. When you make an overture to your partner, even if it’s just a hand on his shoulder, how does he respond? He can turn toward you, which means he’s acknowledging your gesture. He can remain neutral or turn away, which means he’s missed the connection. Or, he can turn against you, which means he’s noticed your overture and is responding negatively.

 

Couples who enjoy a happy, healthy relationship, turn toward each other 86 percent of the time. Those who are headed for separation or divorce only turn toward each other 33 percent of the time.

 

Consequences of small acts.

 

Every time your partner responds to your overture, big or small, you feel a connection. It encourages you to feel more secure and to make even more connections. Likewise, as you continue to respond positively, you encourage your partner to make more overtures, too. Conversely, when your partner turns away, you are bound to feel rejected and inconsequential. When you get enough rejections, you’ll likely be discouraged from making more overtures because your experience tells you that you risk more negative responses. That’s when you become disconnected.

 

How to reverse a downward spiral.

 

If you’re at a disconnected place in your relationship, here are some acts of love you can perform to help repair your relationship:

 

Be attentive and tuned into your partner’s overtures, big or small. Pay attention to his need for attention.

Recognize your partners overtures as an opportunity to boost your relationship. Try not to let too many of these opportunities pass before you respond in a positive way.

Respond to your partner in a way that he’ll know you are being affectionate. If he has an aching back, and you know he loves back rubs, take the time to give him one.

Don’t let distractions and busyness take priority. Your spouse is more important than whatever is happening on social media.

Deliberately build moments of connection. Develop a habit of telling him how much you appreciate him. Catch him in the act of doing something nice, even if it’s just taking out the garbage, and thank him. Step up your physical affection with small acts like holding hands or hugging. Make sure your overtures are frequent—never let a day go by without acknowledging your partner in some way, even if it’s small.

 

 

Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: https://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact