It’s not uncommon for couples to go through periods where they feel a little distant or out-of-sync. Maybe they’ve been consumed with work, focused on the kids or just in a rut. What matters, though, is what you do when the drifting happens: Do you ignore the issue and hope it resolves itself? Or do you make — and keep making — a conscious effort to reconnect?
We asked couples to share the small, simple things they do on a regular basis to feel closer to each other. You just might want to try some of their ideas.
1. Get up a little earlier to have coffee or breakfast together
“When you both work from home, it can be easy to wake up and hit the work tasks first thing. We take time, even if that means getting up a little earlier, to connect before we divide and conquer the day. Sometimes we spend time cooking and talking, or just keep it simple — like cereal or toast — and have more time to chat undistracted.” — Christina Litke
2. Create a healthy (and funny) morning ritual
“Every morning, I thaw out a little chlorophyll beverage for us to split and when we cheers we say, ‘To your health!’ Then, we do a second cheers with our daily probiotic and say, ‘To your butt!’ It makes us laugh, which is a great way to start off the day together.” — Bronwyn Lundberg
3. Kiss hello and goodbye, no matter what
“We greet one another with a kiss when we are heading out and coming back home. We also toast before eating by tapping our forks. I can’t even remember when that tradition started but that’s the signal for us to start eating when we eat together. We also text each other ‘Good night and sweet dreams. I love you,’ if we are not with one another that night before going to bed.” — Jan-Kristòf Louis-Mansano
4. Leave each other notes hidden around the house
“I have a set of postcards that I color in and then write a message for my wife. I leave them in places where she won’t expect to find them. The combination of surprise, positive intention and thoughtful message fosters connection in an often digital message world. I’ve had one sent to her workplace, hidden in her sock drawer, in her car glove compartment and at the end of her favorite [sneakers].” — Lee Chambers
5. Carve out “we” time after the kids are asleep
“We reserve two nights a week just for us. Since we became parents, my wife and I have made sure to set aside this time every week. It might sound monotonous to some, but with kids around, we both crave that time together. It gives us a chance to catch up and reconnect.” — Sham P.
6. Name specific reasons you’re thankful for each other
“Before falling asleep, we thank each other for everything we did for each other throughout the day that made us feel loved, taken care of and seen. We do this before bed every day. It has just become a nice habit, it makes us feel appreciated and loved.” — Amanda Oleander
7. Plan a special Saturday night dinner at home
“My husband, Jack, is our resident cook, and he’ll spend time during the day thinking about what to make, looking at recipes, etc. He’ll ask me for input and it becomes this big plan. Then later I either help him prepare the food, or if he doesn’t need help, I sit and talk to him while he cooks.” — Adrienne Hedger
8. Commit to unplugged Sunday mornings
“We’ve made a commitment to spend Sunday mornings in bed. We call it our Sunday morning ‘lie-in.’ No screens allowed while we read the paper, drink our morning beverages and just connect. Being slightly Type A, doing ‘nothing’ for four or five hours was a tall order for me at first. But it didn’t take long for me to start looking forward to turning off the outside world and just disappearing into him for the entire morning.” — Laura Cathcart Robbins
9. Celebrate the little things
“We’ve done ‘monthiversaries’ where we would do a small celebration on the 5th every few months — our dating anniversary is Nov. 5 — and that could be with a spa or a special dinner or something special at home.” — Louis-Mansano
10. Make up goofy songs for the heck of it
“We have a breakfast and dinner song we sing to our dog every morning and night. We also have a walking song we sing to him when we go out, and a bye-bye song when we go for a ride.” — Dan Regan
11. Play a slideshow of old family photos on the TV and bask in the memories
“We have an Apple TV, and we can set it up to display random photos from our phones, either from selected albums or just photos in general. So these photos just appear on the TV as we go about our business during the day, afternoon or evening. It’s fun to see old pictures pop up, and it can lead to fun memories and stories.” — Hedger
12. Take genuine interest in each other’s work, hobbies or passions
“My husband and I have very different interests and our jobs are also quite different in the sense that mine is very creative and his is more corporate. But we always talk about our days, our projects and the things that are happening no matter how unfamiliar it may seem to each other. I think that’s an important part of our marriage.” — Debbie Tung
13. Meditate together
“It sounds hokey — actually, it probably would have made me gag a few years ago — but Scott and I like meditating together. Even though we work from our home, sometimes our days are so hectic that we literally have to schedule time to eat lunch together. Taking time in the morning to meditate is a really nice way to prepare for an over-scheduled day and I always feel more connected to him afterward.” — Cathcart Robbins
14. Bring each other a snack, just because
“We both work from home and really get into our work and sometimes forget to eat or drink for hours. So we bring each other water and snacks throughout the day accompanied with a kiss, of course.” — Oleander
Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.