I’m busy.  That’s an easy excuse for me.  I’m a father of 5 kids, with one in college.  I’m running 3 small businesses.  Life gets in the way very easily.

As a parent, I find that it’s really easy to let the daily grind take top priority in my mind.  Bills to pay, meals to prepare, baseball practice for 2 kids, Martial Arts for another, School plays, choir concerts, and softball for their sister… That’s just on the home front.  Add work to that and it becomes easier and easier to divide my focus so many times that eventually there is no more focus!

Things are sacrificed, and if I’m not careful some things may suffer.  I have an incredible partner.  We have been through SO many highs and lows over the past few years!  We have learned and grown together.  We have supported and helped each other.  And I have realized recently, how easy it is to allow all of the other plates that I’m spinning in my life, to cause one of the most important ones crash to the ground.

I have had a few wake up calls that have taught me some very valuable lessons about being in a relationship.

1. We need to become a TOP PRIORITY for each other.

If we continue to put the kids first, our jobs first, the stresses of life first – then what happens to OUR happiness – individually and together?  How effective will we be as parents, employees, partners?  Sometimes it’s ok to tell the kids that WE need time together.  It’s ok to close the bedroom door, and take the time we need to be with one another.  When my partner is #1 in my life, and I am #1 in his life, then together we will be better in every other area of our lives – especially as parents!  The need to be loved is by far one of the most critical needs of life.  Experts agree that people who are in happy relationships will be more successful in other areas of their lives.

2. We need to MAKE TIME for one another.

There are 1440 minutes in a day.  When is the last time you and your partner took 15-20 minutes with one purpose in mind – to be with one another.  What I’ve learned in my own life, is that I can’t afford NOT to take this time!  When my relationship is suffering, I’m more stressed out.  I’m not as effective in my work or with my kids.  When WE are happy and connected, life is easier.  Period.  It’s worth MAKING the time to be together a priority.  There are some really easy, powerful, and amazing things you can do that can connect you more than you have ever experienced:

  • Spooning.  Sounds silly… but when is the last time that you and your partner spooned?  Lying next to each other, feeling each other’s breath.  Connecting for 15 minutes.
  • Pillow talk.  15 minutes.  Lie together on the bed and take turns talking.  About WHATEVER comes up!
  • Daily Detox. 15-20 minutes – as soon as you finish work and come home to each other.  Take some time.  Go to the bedroom.  Close the door.  Relax, breath, touch, talk, connect.
  • Date Night.  When is the last time you went on a real date?!  Make it a regularly scheduled part of your week.  One night.  You deserve it!

3. We need to CONNECT more.

Not just talking…  Not just watching TV together…  CONNECTING.  Maybe it’s just taking a few minutes to just gaze into each other’s eyes.  Maybe it’s a walk around the block.  Maybe it’s playing a game together.  But the real key, I’m learning is that we take the opportunity to really connect with each other.  Talking about us, remembering favorite memories, laughing, sharing, giving, receiving.  When is the last time you and your partner really connected?  When is the last time you talked about what is real, in that moment?  When is the last time you allowed your partner to see your vulnerabilities as well as your strengths?

4. We need to LISTEN better.

We talk a lot… but how often do we really listen, and HEAR what the other says and feels? Everyone has a deep need to be heard.  When we argue or disagree it’s almost automatic to shut off the part of our brain (and our heart) that really hears. Maybe it doesn’t have to be about me being right, or winning.  Maybe it’s just about HEARING and BEING HEARD.

5. We need to be IN THE MOMENT with each other.

I don’t know about you, but I would guess it’s very similar – I like to live in the past.  I’ll admit it.  Especially in relationships. Remember what he did or said the last time you had an argument?  Remember the feelings that you have but don’t give a voice to? Remember the way he (or she) misunderstood something you said or did?  When I was 17, I learned a lesson that I need to remind myself of often… If it’s not going to matter in 5 years, it’s not worth stressing about.  It’s not worth holding on to. One of the greatest gifts we have in our relationship is the moments we share.  Think of the happy memories.  They weren’t based in the past, or the future.  They were created living in the moment.  I am learning to let go of what happened, don’t dwell on what’s going to happen, and completely fall in love with WHAT’S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW!

6. We need to TOUCH more often.

Human touch is one of the most powerful things in life.  Touch can diffuse an argument, calm emotions, and reassure someone that you are there – that you care.   Before my marriage, I was given advice I’ll never forget.  “Hold Hands as much as possible, and touch often.”  The man who told me this said that it’s not possible to stay mad when you are touching or holding hands.  He’s right!  Especially in a relationship, touch can say things that words can’t.  How often do you and your partner touch in a day?  Do you take time to cuddle?   Do you fall asleep touching?  If you don’t – try it.  It will make a huge difference!

7. We need to BE PRESENT for each other.

When my mind is on work, the bills, the kids, what’s for dinner? Where is the dog? What’s happening tomorrow? – It can’t possibly be where it needs to be when I am working on my relationship.   I’m not able to do ANY of the things above, if I’m not present with my partner.  It’s easy to get caught up in life.  It’s a little harder to make sure that I’m present for my partner… and it’s one thing that can make the biggest difference.

So the magic here, is that I don’t have all the answers.  And the exciting thing is that I’m willing to go to scary places, risk what needs to be risked, and give all I can to give – in order to create a #10 relationship!  It truly is the most important part of life.  One day my kids will be grown and gone.  I don’t know about you, but I want to share my life with someone and make it an amazing life – together!

It’s easy to get tripped up in life and forget the priority that we need to give to our relationship.  I challenge you, as I challenge myself every day – Do whatever it takes.  Take the time.  Take the risks that you need to take to create the life of your dreams!

On May 11-13 I will be holding a CoupleConnect Workshop in Phoenix. For more information, click here.  All couples are welcome!  You don’t have to be struggling to grow closer together! I literally GUARANTEE that you and your partner will create more intimacy and connect deeper than you have in a long time!  If you finish the workshop and find that didn’t happen, I will give you a full refund!

There is only space for 25 couples.  The first 12 couples who sign up only have to pay $100 for the entire workshop!  Click here to take advantage of this special!

Regular price of the workshop is $350.  I invite you to make a decision TODAY, to take a risk, get connected like never before, and make your relationship a priority!