The 8-10 Challenge: Connecting with your partner

Ya'll, let me start with some vulnerability. This time of connection SAVED my marriage. I was in a cycle where I would go to my 8-5 job, pick our son up from daycare, nurse him, cook dinner, and get him ready for bed. After he was in bed, I would come downstairs if I hadn't fallen asleep and my husband and I would watch a show or I would mindlessly scroll my phone. The honest truth? My husband had no idea I was unhappy because we were talking surface level topics asking each other closed ended questions. Did you know quality time is the top love language? Our quality time, as a society, has seemed to drift towards mindless scrolling and binging on Netflix. Here's some tips on what to do to reconnect and make your marriage stronger.

The Chores

Something both Bria and I cover with clients, and I know she covers in her online childbirth education class and virtual workshops, is sitting down with your partner and taking an inventory of all of the chores around the house.

  1. Create a chore list together with (2 copies): include cart maintenance, dog poop pickup, grocery shopping etc.

  2. Separately, write down who currently does each chore

  3. come back together and compare your lists, talk about what imbalances there are currently and what will change when baby arrives

This is also a great time to get all the little chore annoyances out in the air. For example, I am really good at stuffing the kitchen garbage really full, I mean really full. My husband is usually the one that takes out the trash, so me stuffing the trash extra full is like me TYPING IN ALL CAPS TAKE THE GARBAGE OUT! That's annoying/frustrating to him. Honestly, I knew that was going to be a pain point for him, because how annoying? There is likely 3 or more each, but start by discovering the top three that drive you crazy with one another and make a plan to fix them moving forward. Keep checking in every few months to see if something new has popped up or you have fallen off the path.

The Challenge

Alright, now the fun part. You and your partner set aside 2 hours DAILY. That's right, daily! It is imperative to get real emotional connection with your partner on a daily basis. New baby? No problem, you just get your connection in when you can and if it's 5 minutes or 4 30 minute intervals it is what it is. The best part? It doesn't require a babysitter because the majority of the time it will be happening in the comfort of your own home.

The rules

  • No technology: phone, TV, iPad, computer, gaming systems, or whatever other random tech thing that is out there these days.

  • No talking kids or work...ok ok, if it comes up put a time limit of 10 minutes or less on it!

So...what are you supposed to do?

  • Go back and read Bria's post for a few activity ideas if you want to get out of the house, or have a date night in.

  • Cook or bake something new together

  • Make a charcuterie board, binge on Girl Scout cookies, have a glass of wine and chat...or make out

  • Not sure what to talk about? Get a couples journal that gives you 365 days of prompts to get the conversation started.

  • Take a virtual workout class together and then soap up together in the shower

  • Pop some popcorn, grab a bag of chips and get the board games out

  • Tackle a DIY project together

  • Don't know your love language? Grab the book or take the quiz online then talk about them and what you like the most!

What if we have a babysitter?

  • The rules still apply, and that means if your date includes a movie then your emotional connection time starts before or after the 2 hour movie. That means you better have a 4 hour time block available to enjoy your time with one another and catch the new movie.

  • Do something new together like indoor skydiving then catch dinner at a restaurant you haven't tried

  • Check Bria's post (again) from last week with a few more ideas

The Goal

This process is to help you and your partner feel more connected emotionally which will likely lead to more physical intimacy, and let's face it we all need more hugs and/or sex in our lives. I promise this is worth missing that new series on Netflix for, in fact you will probably forget all about it. Happy connecting friends!

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