The daily routines you create with your SO can make all the difference when it comes to having a happier relationship, which is why you should pay attention to how you end the day with your partner. If you two spend the entire work day apart, and then don't take time to touch base in the evening, you aren't going to be as happy as you could be.
Those moments when you first arrive home are so crucial when it comes to reconnecting, as they offer a time to check in, vent, and get a little support. "You spend the majority of your day apart from each other while at work, so those evening hours together are precious minutes to strengthen your bond physically and emotionally," Samantha Burns, licensed mental health counselor and relationship coach, tells Bustle.
The things you do when you first get home are what Burns calls "landing rituals." Just like "launching rituals" — the things you two do in the morning to connect, like having coffee together before heading off the work — landing rituals are a great way to bring it all in and connect after a long day. Burns tells me these moments are full of opportunities to become that much closer as a couple. Read on for a few great examples that are common among the happiest of couples.
1. They Greet Each Other With A Hug
Don't get in the habit of ignoring your SO, or brushing past them on your way through the front door. "Aim to greet your partner with a hug that lasts more than six seconds," Burns says. "Hugging for this amount of time or more releases oxytocin, which has been shown to not only make you feel more attached to your partner, but it also can lower your blood pressure and harmful effects of stress and depression." Other forms of physical touch — like kissing, spooning, or holding hands — work just as well.
2. They Set Aside Time For Each Other
Even though they're tired, happy couples always set aside time to chill with each other after a long day. "These couples create time in their busy schedule to connect and chat, whether it’s over a shared meal or a stroll hand in hand around the neighborhood," Burns says. Sounds totally doable, right?
3. They Ask Questions And Then Truly Listen
Sure, you both may want to vent about your day, and that's fine. But make sure you're actually listening to each other, too. "It’s wonderful to have the support of a partner who can really listen, validate your emotional experiences, and offer advice when needed," Burns says. And I completely agree.
4. They Ask How The Other Feels
Another thing happy couples do? They ask how the other felt during their day, and not just what they did. "When they ask, 'How was your day?' they don’t just want to know the logistics or what happened at your meeting with your boss, but how you’re feeling about everything," Burns says. This level of detail makes a huge different in showing your partner that you care.
5. They Work Out Together
Whether it's a post-work walk, or a trip to the gym, many happy couples make the time to exercise together. "Studies show that regular physical activity can make you happier," relationship expert and certified counselor David Bennett tells Bustle. "Instead of coming home from work, plopping down in front of the TV, and zoning out, happy couples get active together."
6. They Don't Reach For Their Phone Or Laptop
I know, it's so tempting to relax by scrolling through the internet after work. But do try to spend a few phone-free hours with your partner. "Many couples are so distracted with technology and social media, that spending non-distracted time together is rare," Bennett says. "Enjoying dinner, drinks, or even taking a walk outside with phones turned off (or at least on silent mode without being checked) can make a huge difference in increasing happiness as a couple."
7. They Make Time For A Spiritual Practice
It may sound strange at first, but one of the best ways to connect as a couple is by doing a little meditation. "Studies consistently show spirituality and religious practices make people happier and less stressed," says Bennett. "Whatever your religious views (even if you have none), just spending a few minutes quietly meditating with your partner may help you both relieve some of the day's stress and re-center yourselves in a positive way for the evening."
8. They Keep Things Positive
While it's OK to vent about your boss or your awful commute, try to keep it short. "Many people come home from work exhausted, cranky, and hungry, and this leads to stress in relationships," Bennett says. "Focusing on connecting positively with your partner in the evening hours may relieve some of the negative factors related to post-work stress and exhaustion."
9. They Get Comfortable
One of the best ways to bond as a couple is by being your truest selves (read: getting into those sweatpants) and settling in for a cozy evening. "In many cases, this means changing out of [your] work clothes and getting into something more comfortable," spiritual counselor and psychic Davida Rappaport tells Bustle. "Shedding what you worked in allows you to let go of whatever was bothering you or the stress of the work day."
10. They Plan Meals And Cook Together
If you two get home at the same time each evening, it's definitely worth creating a little dinnertime routine. "Happy couples love to spend time together prepping and cooking for a meal," Rappaport says. "They can make it a romantic meal or just enjoy being in the same space. There is something special about eating a meal that is cooked with love."
11. They Spend Some Time Apart
Happy couples allow each other space to do their own thing, so feel free to spend time "ignoring" each other after work, too. "If couples like to read, they may choose to sit in the same room and read their books, glancing over at each other from time to time," says Rappaport. You may also want to spend some time catching up, before heading off to do your own things entirely.
All of these evening activities are incredibly healthy for your relationship, so go ahead and give a few a try.
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