A year ago, as the entire world seemed to shut down, my husband and I experienced a significant increase in our togetherness.
At the time, it felt like I had won the lottery.
Spring is usually challenging for us with his busy PA announcing schedule. Yet, suddenly, amid growing precautions, his calendar was wiped clean, and we were both cooped up at home with two young kids and a baby.
The emotions in those early months were that of a rollercoaster. The high of rallying together to make the best of our predicament would often crash into an explosion of exhaustion, annoyance, and irritability at having nowhere to escape.
Every day felt the same. Every day we were met with the same stressors of three children with never-ending needs. Every day we tried to make sense of the ever-changing state of the pandemic. We fell into roles and routines that were centered around survival and that left very little room for intimate connection. While pre-pandemic, our kids were getting love and attention from an entire community of people, suddenly we were the sole source. With all of our love pouring into each of them, very little was left for us to dedicate to each other.
2021 has brought with it a chance to reflect upon how to combat our closeness fatigue. Challenging ourselves to connect in ways that spanned beyond our typical go-tos (like watching a movie together) led us down the path of having more consistent and meaningful conversations to rebuild our bond.
We are discovering unmet needs and desires. We are laughing about younger versions of ourselves. We are learning how to do and be better. Just by having a discussion about what each of us needs to hear when we are feeling overwhelmed, I learned something new about how to uplift and comfort my husband. Even though his answer was a simple gesture, it wasn’t one that I would have attempted beforehand.
Here are some of the conversation starter activities that are helping us to foster a more intimate connection:
Questions for Couples Journal: 400 Questions to Enjoy, Reflect, and Connect with Your Partner
This activity journal includes a wealth of thoughtful prompts that can be answered in any order. The questions are a balance of seriousness, romance and lighthearted fun. They span across seven categories: Your Relationship, Goals and Dreams, Values and Beliefs, Passion and Intimacy, Communication and Just for Fun. Even after knowing my husband for over a decade, this book has ignited conversations that we’ve never had the chance to explore. I look forward to taking it on a road trip in the future to fill out while we drive.
The Gottman Card Decks App
Designed by the Gottman Institute to create connections and improve communication, this app consists of 14 different topic decks and over 1000 cards. While they are a wide range of couples apps sprouting up these days, I was honestly enticed by the fact that this one is FREE. There are a multitude of open ended topics to channel the conversation. I also loved the accessibility of having all of the questions right on my phone.
Holstee Reflection Cards
The versatility of this beautiful card deck makes it worth owning. Intent on sparking meaningful conversation, these questions can be used in any kind of relationship–family, friends, coworks, or significant others (the list is truly endless). My husband and I used these on a double date and thoroughly enjoyed the depth of discussion. Each card has an icebreaker question on the white half and a deep question on the color coded half. The questions center around mindfulness themes such as Kinship, Gratitude and Adventure.
Love Language Card Game: 150 Conversation Starters
This 150 conversation deck is spread across five categories: Family, Intimacy, Couple, Individual and Past & Future. The questions are designed to create a powerful connection with your significant other through talking intentionally about the things that matter.