What does a perfect marriage look like? Is it scheduled date nights with dirty martinis before you head over to a chic little French bistro? Is it holding hands while strolling through the botanic gardens before it gets too hot and the crowds show up? Maybe it’s reciting haikus to each other before an hours-long tantric sexcapade. Well, trick question. There is no such thing as a perfect marriage. So even if a realistic snapshot of your marriage is more along the lines of decompressing on the couch together after a long day (extra points for a foot rub), the important baseline is connection. But what does a connected marriage look like? Relationship experts and co-founders of Decoding Couples, Rachel Facio, LMFT and Stacey Sherrell, LMFT, help us understand.
What does “being connected” mean?
When a couple is connected to each other, it means they can be authentically present with one another (see: chilling on the couch after a long day). Says Facio and Sherell: “If you and your person feel the best about yourselves and your relationship when you are in your PJs on a Sunday at 2 p.m. watching Netflix, awesome! ‘Being connected’ has gotten so much pressure to look a certain way over the years...and that’s just not sustainable (or real life!).”
Why is it important?
Simply put, the women behind Decoding Couples tell us that being connected means partners are slowing down enough to pay attention to each other in the moment. “So many relationships go on autopilot after a certain amount of time…and that’s the opposite of being connected. Being connected means slowing down enough to acknowledge what each other need, what makes each other smile, what you still like and enjoy about each other,” the marriage experts explain. All of that? It takes some purposeful effort and energy.
5 Signs Your Spouse Is Super Connected to You
1. They give you wiggle room to mess up
Did you miss Taco Tuesday because you were working late? Sure, it’s her favorite night of the week, but she knows that sometimes life gets in the way and doesn’t punish you for it. “When we are connected to our partner, we are keeping in mind that they have other things going on in their lives,” says the Decoding Couples team. “So, when something is extra stressful or there’s a significant hiccup that impacts our person and thus the relationship, a connected spouse gives their partner a little wiggle room.”
2. They make you smile
“Whether their commentary makes you crack a smile or their dance moves still make you blush, couples who are connected know how to bring joy and lightness to each other in the smallest ways,” Facio and Sherell say. Seems small, but this one’s a biggie because let’s face it, marriage can be a long, bumpy road. But if at the core of your relationship is a shared joy, you’ve got a connection that can last through the ups and the downs.
3. They make thoughtful gestures seem easy
Marriage takes work, but you know you’re part of a well-oiled machine when that work feels…well, easy. The Decoding Couples therapists share that one of the ways to increase and maintain connection is through thoughtful actions, gestures and words. “If you and your partner are connected, engaging in thoughtfulness can feel easy and maybe even exciting. Some examples are leaving a love note in your partner’s lunch or picking up their favorite treat while running errands.” For some, this might be a bed of roses and romantic candles. For others, it’s more along the lines of running to Walgreen’s for batteries and grabbing some sour gummies while they’re there (your favorite).
4. They are vulnerable with you
Sure, last night you two mostly just chatted logistics for tomorrow’s Little League tournament, but when your spouse needs to get real, they can open up about the uncomfortable stuff. According to Facio and Sherell, vulnerability is one of the biggest signs of connection. “Connection can create a sense of safety that allows each partner to be vulnerable with one another. This means sharing the good, the bad and the ugly with your spouse to allow your relationship to move forward and grow authentically.”
5. They can sit in silence with you
“If there is connectedness, there is an ease of being around one another. There isn’t pressure to talk all the time, to be doing, to be impressing each other,” say the therapists. True ease, they explain, comes when a couple can be with one another without needing outside stimulus or external factors. But hey, a date night dinner and a movie never hurt anybody.