While it's always possible to work on the
connection you have with your partner during the week, nothing beats Friday night when it comes to all the opportunities you'll have to feel close. This is a great time to slow down, catch up, and go on a fun date, of course. But what you do can also set the tone for the days ahead, by setting you on the course for a truly great weekend.
This is true whether you live with your partner, see them all the time, or not; if you'd like your relationship to remain close, it's all about putting in the effort. "If you don’t purposely carve out quality time (and respect the commitment), you may find that you [start to drift apart]," Dr. Jess O’Reilly,
Astroglide’s resident sexologist, tells Bustle. "Just as you have to plan and dedicate time to [your health], so too do you need to specifically schedule time to be together as a couple."
If you had a tough week, Friday evening can even serve as a reset button both for your own life, and your
life as a couple. "The beginning of the weekend is a great time to create a ritual that reminds you both that you’re intimately connected," Dr. O’Reilly says. "And that you share an intimate bond that is worth nurturing."
Read on for a few small things you can do as a couple on Friday nights
to feel closer, and set the stage for a truly great weekend.
To kick off the weekend, start by sharing all the highlights of the past few days. And let your partner do the same.
"This is helpful because it lets your partner into your day-to-day world,"
therapist Jordan Madison, LGMFT, tells Bustle, which can be especially helpful if you've both been busy.
"Expressing what’s been going on at work, what you’re stressed about, or even something that made you happy during the week are ways that allow your partner to continue learning about you," Madison says. And vice versa.
Complain For Five Minutes
If you had a tough week, this is the best time to complain about it. But try not to let
the venting session go on for too long.
"Rather than letting negativity permeate your entire weekend, set aside five to ten minutes before the weekend officially begins to air your grievances about work, family, friends, etc. and then let them go," Dr. O’Reilly says.
This way, Saturday and Sunday can be all about your time together, instead of all those worries and stressors.
Talk About Your Relationship
Quickly chat about your relationship in general, too — especially if something negative happened that you have yet to discuss.
"Maybe something occurred during the week that caused tension, and you two didn’t resolve it," Madison says. "Set time aside to
discuss hard topics [...] so that they don’t fester and build into contempt or resentment."
To keep your Friday evenings from turning into a spiral of negativity, let the last thing you chat about be something positive.
As Madison says, "You can use this time to
show appreciation to your partner by discussing what has been going well in the relationship." That way, you can head into the weekend on a lighter note.
Friday nights are also the perfect date night, both as a way to end the week on a good note, and to reconnect for the weekend.
But remember, don't feel like you have to go overboard, just to remain connected. "Date nights don’t always have to
be fancy and expensive," Madison says. "You can use these date nights to try something new, create more memories, or relive moments from the past that you two enjoyed."
Speaking of affordable, one of the best ways to end the week — while also feeling closer — involves nothing more than watching TV.
"Maybe you two have had a long and hard week and just want to stay in and relax," Madison says. "Try starting a new series on Netflix together that you two both find interesting." And call it a night.
If you want, try to connect physically in some way, in order to
build up your intimacy. "You don’t have to have intercourse — all forms of consensual physical affection with a loved on can increase connection, relaxation, and trust," Dr. O’Reilly says.
Look Into Each Other's Eyes
There are plenty of ways to feel close, such as holding hands, snuggling on the couch — or even looking into each other's eyes. So if that sounds like it might help you connect, go ahead and give it a try.
"Even if it’s awkward at first, you’ll
benefit from an increase in oxytocin," Dr. O’Reilly says. "And you’ll likely feel more connected and calm to begin your weekend."
Putting your phones away for a period of time — perhaps while you watch that new Netflix show — can prove to be pretty miraculous when it comes to bonding.
"The mere presence of a cell phone (even if it’s in your pocket)
detracts from connection," Dr. O’Reilly says. "So invest in quality time with your partner at least once a week. You’ll more naturally practice being present and mindful without distractions and this can carry over into your daily interactions throughout the week." Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock
After a long week of running around and eating food on the go, nothing can feel more grounding than
making a real meal at home with your partner.
"Agree on a recipe you both are interested in and plan on making dinner together Friday night,"
dating and relationship expert Kayla Kalinksi, tells Bustle. "Making dinner is an easy way to bond by working together to accomplish a goal you both are excited about."
As an added benefit, it may even result in a few leftovers that you can enjoy the rest of the weekend.
The last thing you want to do is let each other down as you head into the weekend. So if you made plans to see each other, or have a scheduled date night, stick to it.
"Often couples have great intentions and plan for a Friday night together, but then at the last minute one person has to work late,"
Katie Ziskind, licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle. And while it's OK to cancel occasionally, it's also important to make each other a priority.
You don't have to spend the entire weekend together, of course. But if your goal is to feel closer, you can set the right tone on Friday night by setting aside time to catch up, hang out, and enjoy each other's company.