You might associate bonding with your spouse in the early stages of your relationship. But whether you are 6 months or 6 years in, there are always numerous opportunities to grow closer with your partner says Shivani. Learning methods to bond in a relationship could be a lifelong pursuit, but it certainly does not have to be difficult.
Couples Therapist Shivani says there is a difference between struggling and putting effort into your relationship. With bonding, at times it will simply take a little bit of conscious effort. “Bonding with your spouse takes effort. Sometimes ‘bonding work’ feels simple and at times it feels difficult. Bonding with your partner seems easy when it flows out of shared interests, hobbies, and experiences. So if you can recognize what small ways you are already sharing with your partner, you might be a step closer to bonding even more, and potentially growing your love and bonding.
You do not have to ask each other the endless questions that lead to love, or do any kind of forced activity or bonding, simply to get to know your partner better. At times simply expressing your interest will do the magic. And professionals who work with couples have identified some brilliant ways to bond a little bit more with your partner — methods that you may even already be doing to some extent.
This blog by Couples Therapist Shivani Misri Sadhoo shares some ways to enhance the bonding in your relationship.
Express Interest and Curiosity
When you have been together for a considerable time, or even live together, you and your partner might fall into the pattern of asking fewer open-ended questions: questions that start with “how” or “why,” and normally do not have a “yes” or “no” answer.
“It appears so simple, but it is easy for couples to end initiating open-ended questions since they fall into a habit of taking each other for granted. The reality is that you and your partner will change over a period and that you need to constantly update your knowledge of your partner. Asking open-ended questions helps boost emotional link and friendship within the relationship.” Being aware of how you ask your questions will help you develop this bonding as a habit.
Verbally Express Your Appreciation
Saying “thank you” to your loved one may seem more like an act of politeness, instead of an act of bonding, but appreciation is a lot more nuanced than that.
This too looks simple and you are perhaps doing it to a certain extent, but appreciation gives huge benefits,”. When you show appreciation towards your partner you create a protective shield surrounding your relationship [since] appreciation counteracts contempt — which is one of the major destructive forces in a relationship. Learning to show your appreciation regularly will assist you two grow even closer than ever before.
Give Priority to your Partner’s Emotional Calls
While you might know your partner better than anybody else, it can still become easy over some time to not always see when they are reaching out to you emotionally. Paying attention to “emotional calls,” and responding to them is an integral form of bonding.
Emotional calls are all small attempts to bond with your partner throughout the day, If, you wish to improve the health of your relationship, make it a priority to see your partner’s attempts to connect with you. Respond to their calls by lovingly responding and meeting their needs and communicating to your partner that you are there and care for them.” It is worth finding avenues to respond or pay attention to your partner, even when they are communicating non-verbally, to show your bond.
Make an Effort at Eye Contact
When you and your partner have been staying together for quite some time, the realities of everyday life as a couple might mean that you are not staring lovingly into each other’s eyes as much as you once used to. But working towards more eye contact could be a major boost in terms of bonding.
Partners can bond with each other by maintaining eye contact regularly, while they communicate, specifically, if discussing important topics such as their feelings, experiences, or needs. So even if you are not in your honeymoon stage anymore, at least you will be opening the windows towards more honest and vulnerable communication.
Keep your Phone Down
While there is something to be said regarding a connection so deep that you can sit in silence on a couch, scrolling through social media, and not feeling awkward about it, there is still a certain thing to be said about dedicated phones and gadget-free time for couples.
“A truly vital task you should do to make your partner feel worthy and appreciated of your time is to put the phones down while communicating, which also enhances bonding. Whether it means actively following a no phones at the dinner table or bedroom policy, or simply leading by example, you might find that these moments are good opportunities to bond.
Initiate Physical Touch
Having or maintaining a strong sexual connection with your partner is great, but physical touch does not have to be saved for moments of sexual intimacy between you and your partner only. Making physical touch a more common, regular habit in your relationship could be quite beneficial.
A simple task you can do to facilitate bonding is through physical touch when you are in the same space such as watching TV, cooking together, or getting ready to go out. Sometimes, a simple and gentle touch is good enough to create a substantial emotional association. Not all touch has to lead to anything, and practising it more can support grow the bond between you and your partner.
Make Rituals Together
Creating rituals or traditions as a couple could give you two something to look forward to daily, and be able to make sure that you and your partner are continuously building your connection — even if you have hectic daily life schedules.
Creating a ritual of bonding — like going on a walk post-dinner, or having coffee ready for your spouse after putting the kids to bed or in the morning so that you can talk about your day, could be something you both look forward to as well. Whether you decide you wish to build in daily, weekly, or monthly rituals, there is something about the continuation of these simple acts of bonding that could help actually, level up your existing connection.
Whichever method you decide to grow your bond with your partner, probabilities are — you are already likely well on your way. Bonding has no concrete targets to get as it is something a couple does and keeps on doing, for the course of a relationship. And making even the smallest of changes in your daily interactions could assist blossom your love even further.