Bedtime Rituals to Grow Closer with your Partner
Bedtime rituals. They’re something we do everyday, where we’ve developed habits and rituals, it that seems so ingrained into daily life that we forget it can be a special time between partners.
During difficult times in our marriage, restoring certain bedtime rituals has allowed Mike and I to grow closer together again. In this post, we’re sharing a few of the things we do, and some other ideas we’ve had too!
1) Always give a kiss goodnight.
This is perhaps the most basic advice I could give, but it’s because it’s good advice. A simple kiss goodnight is a powerful thing. It’s the final connection between you and your partner before you drift off to sleep. I find this is especially important on days where you’ve had an argument, or are not feeling particularly ‘simpatico’ with your loved one. It’s a comforting reminder that you are loved. It’s affirming to both your partner, and yourself, and your commitment to each other.
2) Give each other a back rub.
Physical touch is extremely important in romantic relationships. It’s actually a fundamental human need. Simple forms of physical touch, such as a hug, or a peck on the cheek, release a hormone called oxytocin – the love and attachment hormone. The release of oxytocin also lowers cortisol, your stress hormone, levels. When increased levels of oxytocin appear in your bloodstream, you feel a euphoric sense of calm.
Giving your partner a back rub is a great way to simply show love and attention, but also makes you feel more connected to one another. A bedtime back rub is something that generally requires two hands, so it’s distraction-free too. Perhaps the best part of a back rub is that is can lead to more intimate touching, which can lead to sex. Many people experience a huge rush of oxytocin levels after sex, increasing feelings trust and connectedness between partners. All this is possible just from a back rub!
3) Read together.
Bedtime stories don’t have to end when childhood does. Reading a book together is much like watching a TV show together, but with much more mental stimulation, connection, and cuddling. As you read together, you discover together. Reading helps your body to fall asleep (whereas watching TV is a kind of stimulation that discourages sleep). Best of all, reading together almost guarantees that you’ll fall asleep together, maybe even cradled in each other’s arms. What could be better than that?
4) Reflect on and discuss the positive things in your day.
Taking a few moments to discuss good things that happened in your day will bring positivity into your relationship overall. We deal with a lot of stress in our lives – job stress, home stress, money stress – the list goes on. It can be really easy to fall into the trap of making your partner your “emotional dumping ground”. That is, it can be really easy to (unintentionally) over-burden your partner with all the yucky stuff that’s happened in your day. Over time, it’s a pretty sure bet that your partner will get worn out.
You have the responsibility of bringing positivity into your relationship. Your partner carries the same responsibility. This doesn’t mean that you can never discuss difficult things that happen with your partner. The key is balance. Discussing the positive things can also help keep the negative things in perspective. Sometimes a little thought about the good things we’ve got going in life helps to remind us that things aren’t so bad after all.
5) Get ready for bed together.
This is a habit that Mike and I organically fell into early in our relationship. I didn’t know it at the time, but this is one of the simplest things we’ve done that’s had a great payoff. Honestly, we have fun getting ready for bed together. It sounds really lame, but it’s a time that we are silly together, talk about all kinds of things, and it ensures that we go to bed together, at the same time. Getting ready for bed together is a time when we genuinely connect, and perform small gestures of love and kindness for each other. To be really honest, there are days when this is the only time that we really get to connect.