It’s often said that it’s the ten minutes which can save a relationship – a 10-minute ritual – where you sit down with your partner and talk about the two of you without interruption. So, the kids are in bed, it’s a quiet night – what are you waiting for?!
Your very own 10-minute nightly ritual can help bring both partners together in the relationship, so they can operate more as a team. Lucy, mum of Olivia (18 months) and Charlie (8 weeks), says this is exactly how she feels:
“I just know that whatever my husband and I talk about / whinge about / feel proud about, it always feels like it’s him and I against the world – not just me. Knowing he is “on my side” is the best feeling and very reassuring. Even if there are no immediate solutions to our ‘problems’ (i.e. no time, no money, not enough sleep etc.) I know I can handle things because he is on my side.”
“The other thing that we sometimes do is ‘give time over’ to the other person. For example, if Andrew is having a really crappy time at work, I give the whole 10 minutes to him. There is nothing I can do to fix it, but I always try and end the conversation on a light note so that he doesn’t stew on his problems all night. Of course, he will do the same for me.”
Not sure what to talk about?
Here’s a list of suggestions compiled by our very own Forum members.
Things you might like to talk about or do:
- What stressed you out today?
- What made you smile/laugh today?
- Thanking each other for the little things we have done for each other
- What have we achieved for the day, either together or as individuals?
- What’s something interesting that happened today?
- What do you want to have happen in the next month? Year? 5 years?
- What are our expectations of each other tomorrow?
- How are our plans going in the big scheme of things?
BellyBelly Psychologist, Daniel Chable, suggests,
1. Make an appointment to have a chat – don’t expect it to take place simply when YOU want it;
2. Make sure the man understands what the woman wants to hear about in relation to his day – e.g. not intricate details about the processes about his job, but more stuff to do with connections i.e. what’s happening with Jim’s relationship, how are John’s kids doing etc.
3. Make sure the man also understands what the woman wants to tell him about her day and what she wants him to do about it (i.e. just listen, let her know you hear what she says, be empathic, don’t fix it).
4. Organise the appointment such that you can share a cup or tea/coffee etc hopefully without interruption (this may be a big ask).
5. Remember that the relationship that got you into this is still there but may be hard to see.
6. Hopefully retain a sense of humour – you are both only people after all.
Relationship Ritual Tips For Women:
1. Understand that if he is watching football, or some other sporting event on television, that he really gets plugged into it. He would very much appreciate it if he were allowed to watch whatever it is – presuming that it’s not everything. This seems to be particularly important during September, i.e. during the football finals. He also needs to feel that he doesn’t need to fix things – most of us guys tend to be solution focused and as soon as we hear about a problem we want to fix it.
2. Many guys, myself included, really appreciate the opportunity to do something when we get home before getting involved with the kids. For me it was changing into a t-shirt and track suit pants. Others want to have a smoke, have a shower, walk around the block. Now I understand that for many girls this may not be ideal, but it seems that if they discuss it with the guys and come to some agreement, the guys will feel very much appreciated and put effort in accordingly.
Relationship Ritual Tips For Men:
1. Often women feel like they have been running a marathon and what they want is a soul mate, that is, someone who will be sympathetic to her rather than someone who wants to place yet further demands on her e.g. sexual, and be prepared to simply cuddle or hold hands or sit next to. Acknowledge that men may not understand this. It is important for her to feel acknowledged and valued by you.
2. Sometimes when women are expressing their frustration to men, they are doing it because they feel safe with you and that it is really important for you not to feel that you are about to be attacked and run for cover.
Some 10 Minute Rituals of BellyBelly Forum Members
BellyBelly forum members do it many ways!
Doing it before the nightly routine
Christy says, “We do this when hubby comes home at night, so we connect before we get into the night routine which is dinner, bath, bottle, bed etc. One thing we do every night is make a drink and sit down and drink it together.”
Doing it while making dinner
Cailin says, “Marc’s my kitchen hand, so we do it whilst I’m preparing/cooking dinner. He’ll help me by passing things to me and whilst I cook we chat about our day. He ALWAYS gets me a glass of water before bed. I could probably count on my hands the times he hasn’t in the past 9 years. It’s something little he does for me that shows me he cares and as silly as it is it means so much to me. When we get into bed that’s our talk time, especially if we haven’t had any. Funnily enough its something I remember my parents always doing so I guess thats why I continued the trend. He used to HATE it, but now he appreciates it too.”
Doing it after dinner
Alton recalls, “I remember growing up and we would eat dinner as a family at 7pm, then mum and dad would go into the lounge room from 7.30 to 8pm and talk about their day. It was their time together and us kids were not allowed to annoy them.
My dad died at 50 years of age (12 years ago) and it makes me really sad to think that my mum no longer has that 1/2 hour each night to talk about her day. When I speak to her I always make a point of asking her how her day was, etc – but I don’t think it is the same for her!
DH and I also make the point of eating together every night. TV goes off, I put on some music and we talk. I see how strong my parents were and they were always talking and that’s how I want my marriage to be…”
Doing it before bed
Lucy said, “Last night we had a feral evening, with very revolting 18 month old on our hands as well as a windy overtired newborn. By the time we got them both bathed, fed and in bed asleep, we were both knackered. So we poured ourselves a wine each and sat in front of the fire and delighted in the fact that we had 2 sleeping children!
Then we went on to tell each other what we had got done that day. I finally managed to secure a bouncy castle for our wedding and Andrew signed a big deal at work.
Eventually, even after a tough day, we still like to tell ourselves we are ‘Super Mummy’ & ‘Super Daddy’!”
Doing it before sleeping
Nadia says, “My husband and I talk in bed each night before going to sleep no matter how tired, it can be a 5 minute conversation or an hour long one, but we never go to bed without saying ‘I love you’ and saying goodnight – even if we’re fighting!”
Simone says, “My husband carries me to bed and tucks me in every night and we have at least 10 minutes. We always talk about something different, sometimes we just snuggle up. Our marriage counsellor suggested the 10 minutes a day and it works.”
Sal says nightly snuggle sessions are the ritual in her home. “Snuggling together, platonically, is a wonderful tonic! I couldn’t live without my snuggle sessions with my partner. They tend to go for at least half an hour every night, nothing sexual just hugging, stroking each other’s backs etc.”
No matter which way you do it, an easy 10 minutes a day could save your relationship – it could even make it even better than ever before.