As you already know, what you do before bed can have a pretty big impact on the rest of your life. There's a huge difference, for example, between following a nightly skincare routine and just plopping into bed. And the same can be said for your relationship. What you and your partner do before bed can have a ripple effect on the rest of your relationship.
So, take a second and think about what you two do in the evening hours. Do you lay next to each other, talk about your day, have sex, and fall asleep feeling all loved and secure? Or do you ignore each other, scroll through your phones, and go to bed at different times without talking or sharing thoughts about your day?
While there is no "perfect" routine, especially since every couple is different, it's easy to see how the former situation could make for a happier relationship than the latter. "Going to bed feeling connected to your partner and like they have your back helps you feel like you can overcome stress thrown at you because you have support," NYC-based therapist Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW, tells Bustle. If that sounds like a worthy goal, read on for some sweet little habits you and your partner might want to incorporate into your bedtime routine.
1. They Really Listen To Each Other
If you get in the habit of tuning each other out — either by not listening or focusing on other things, like the TV — then you definitely won't feel as connected as a couple. So, from now on, make a point of really listening to each other in the hours before bed.
As psychotherapist Maureen Werrbach, LCPC tells me, you two should sit down, make eye contact, nod to show you're listening, and ask questions. "Anything that lets your partner know you are actively listening and interested in them," she says. It'll make all the difference in the world.
2. They Spend A Few Minutes Venting
OK, so you don't want to get into a heated convo right before bed. But it is a good idea to spend a few minutes venting about your day. "Allowing your partner time to vent shows you are supportive," Hershenson says. "The conversation does not need to be all negative, but giving 10 minutes to each person to open up about [the] day helps you feel connected."
3. They Point Out The Good Things
If your partner made an awesome dinner or did something else particularly amazing, definitely mention it before bed. As Hershenson says, "Gratitude shows how thankful you are for your partner's existence while also showing appreciation for your partner." Trust me, they'll really appreciate it.
4. They Always Say "I Love You"
Wanna know what pretty much every healthy couple does before bed? They make other feel secure, often by simply saying the words "I love you." This habit creates that all-important feeling of connection and support, dating and relationship coach Christine Baumgartner tells me. So get to sayin' it.
5. They Have A Few Minutes Of Pillow Talk
Remember what I said earlier about venting? If you don't have any worries to get off your chest, it's still a good idea to talk to each other for a few minutes before bed. "It will give each person a feeling of being connected and appreciated," Baumgartner says. And that's so important when it comes to maintaining a relationship.
6. They Spend Time Spooning
As all my fellow spooning fans will know, this cuddly position is a surefire way to feel closer as a couple. So if you don't already do it, you might want to consider adding spooning to your nightly routine. As Baumgartner tells me, you two can even switch things up with one of you being the big spoon, then the little spoon the next night. "The benefit [is] an opportunity to consistently give and receive physical support from each other," she says. How cute is that?
7. They Leave Electronics Out Of It
How often do you lay next to your partner, but you're both totally distracted by your phone? While it's OK to do this sometimes, you definitely don't want to make a habit of ignoring each other in favor of your phone/laptop/TV. "Create an agreement that limits electronics," Baumgartner says. You can either ban them from the room, or agree to put them away 10 minutes before bed.
8. They Give Each Other A Massage
While you don't have to do this every night (unless you want to), spending a few minutes massaging your partner is a pretty great way to bond — and wind down at the end of a long day. "A brief massage of each other’s feet, hands, or back is relaxing and connecting for both people," Baumgartner says. It might even help you both get to sleep.
9. They Take A Shower Together
Even if it's just for a few minutes, hopping in the shower with your partner is another healthy way to connect. "I know couples who make a point of showering together before bed," life coach Nina Rubin, MA tells Bustle. "They like to connect in a vulnerable way and it relaxes them." And hey, it's also kinda sexy.
10. They Spend Time Hanging Out (Quietly)
Most happy couples don't feel like they have to entertain each other 24/7, and thus are OK with sitting quietly in the same room doing their own thing. So go ahead and give it a try. As Rubin suggests, you could also try meditating near each other for ten to 30 minutes before bed, as another way of being together without having to talk.
11. They Tell Each Other "Thank You"
To remain on the same page in terms of expectations and the like, it can help to thank each other for the things you appreciated throughout the day. "Point out positive aspects of your partner's behavior, talents, kindness," Hershenson says. "Whether it's 'I like it when you cook me dinner' to 'I like it when you support me,' this simple daily phrase brings positive attention to your partner while reinforcing these behaviors."
It'll ensure you both know just how to make each other happy. So go ahead and make the time to reconnect before bed. It really will do wonders for your relationship.
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