Monday, January 23, 2012

Hello,Goodbye, and other Connecting Points

Connecting points are rituals of connection with the people you are closest to. They are touch points in your day and your week that make both you and the other person feel valued, important, and special. These actions make you feel like you belong. We need connecting points with all the special people in our lives: our partner, our children, our parents, and dear friends.
Couples need connecting points that include a kiss and a hug when you say goodbye for the day.
When one of you re-enters the home that evening, it is good relationship form to have the returning partner track down the partner at home for a hug and kiss hello. Even if they are cooking dinner, are on their laptop, or with the kids. The message is: everything else can wait for a minute. You are incredibly important to me. I am glad you are home.
Couples also need connection on a physical level on a regular basis, including holding hands and cuddling. Standing appointments with each other for a weekly date night also help re-romanticize the relationship. All week long you can both look forward to it. You wouldn't believe the number of good men I've seen in individual counseling over the years who are sensitive to the fact that their once affectionate partner never reaches out anymore.Be sure to kiss your partner good night, and tell them you love them often. Live without regret!
Rituals of connection are also bonding with your children and as a family. Have dinner around your kitchen or dining room table as often as you can. Share a prayer, and/or the best part of each person's day. Teens may protest, but they actually like it if you are serving food they like. Make Sunday dinner a big deal. I know someone in his 40's who still remembers the warmth of Sunday family dinners at his grandmother's house. Consider a game night, a pizza and a DVD night, or other great ideas the kids may have. Make it fun to be a part of your unique family. Create holiday traditions. Worship together. Read aloud together. I can still remember fondly my Dad reading to my sister and I. Bedtimes and tucking in time are terrific opportunities for end of the day connecting. Tell your children you love them. Hug them liberally and frequently.
Once you're on your own, and as parents age, create rituals of connection with your parents. They will look forward to a standing phone call, lunch, or dinner, and so will you. They won't always be there to enjoy. Get them talking about their life, their childhood, when they met their partner. Sharing happy memories about your aging parents' travel, work, relationships and life is wonderful for both of you. It's your family history, too! Make sure you tell them you love them. Many older seniors who are widowed don't get touched much, so be sure to connect with them with a hug. It might be the only touch they've had for a while, and touch is good for mental wellness.
Being intentional and conscious about staying connected to those you care about most is important. It's also some of the sweetest stuff in life. Make sure you don't miss out! Choose to be connected, rather than disconnected, from those you love. It will make your life much more meaningful.

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