All marriages lose emotional connection from time to time. Here are helpful ideas for things to do with your spouse to reconnect (including specific examples from our marriage).

I am not a couple's therapist. I'm just a woman, married to a man, who has needed to figure out how to reconnect with my spouse from time to time over the past 10 years.

married couple in bed together with smartphones, text overlay "17 ways to reconnect emotionally with your spouse"

Like, after we had a baby. And after we drifted apart here and there. And after things got a little stagnant.

An important question to ask yourself when you feel unconnected to your spouse is:

What’s different now than when you felt connected? You can make a mental list.

  • Are you spending less time together?
  • Is the quality of time spent together not so good?
  • Did you have a baby, and there’s less energy for one another?
  • Did you stop having fun together?
  • Has your engagement with each other turned completely logistical in nature (you know, revolving around things like who is going to pick up an ingredient at the store, where to eat next, and planning for your parent’s anniversary party)?
  • Is work or another external stressor causing distress on your relationship?

For example, one thing I noticed for us during a stint of feeling emotionally unconnected was we had stopped actually doing engaging things together.

Which is huge, by the way.

I mean, we were still doing things together. But they were logistical in nature – like dividing up night duty with our baby, filing taxes, and conquering the laundry pile.

If you don’t do things together – fun or at least experiential things, like when you first dated one another – then your well of commonness goes dry.

This is okay here and there – like having personal hobbies and such, which is a pretty healthy thing to do.

But if you’re never doing common things together? It eventually erodes that connection.

And then you end up googling something like “things to do with your spouse to reconnect.” (Just sayin’).

While you’re thinking about exactly what is different now than when you felt connected with your spouse or partner, let me dive into some ideas for how to get that connection back. Ideas for how to reconnect with your husband.

Things to Do with Your Spouse to Reconnect

Great news – things to do with your spouse when you need to reconnect need not be complicated, nor expensive. In fact, most of these are free!

The point is to choose something that gets you even a little excited, and to commit to doing it.

After all – what is a marriage, if not a series of small and large commitments to someone you love?

Figure Something Out Together

This doesn’t have to be a huge problem to solve – like where to move to next, or how to find a different job, etc.

This can be something that’s small, but meaningful.

It makes the two of you “in it together”, even if only for a little task. And when you find some sort of success (or make a few mistakes, which can be quite funny)?

You will have that new connection point.

Example from our own marriage: I needed to redo my go-to breakfast for both health and convenience sake, and had always wanted to figure out an iced coffee latte-type drink I could quickly make myself. When I told my husband, Paul, that I wanted to try cold brew because it can keep in the fridge for a week or so, he jumped right in. We spent about 20 minutes researching and then creating our first cold-brew together, flirting the entire time. What a delightful memory!

Consume Something Together

When you both consume something together, it gives you a shared reference point to leap into conversations about.

I’ll give you a few ideas.

Some couples:

  • Read scripture together
  • Read an article together throughout the day, and then talk about it
  • Read a book together, like a couple’s book club
  • Watch a TV series together*

*My husband and I just love our TV series that we watch together. However, I think that most couples do this! SO, I challenge you to get out of your comfort zone and find a different thing to consume together on top of your TV show so that you can engage with each other in a different way.

Example from Our Own Marriage: We both read The 5 Love Languages, and then took the quiz at the end so that we could talk about what our love languages were. Something else we love to share are articles on Japanese culture that pop up here and there – that’s where we met one another. It helps to keep that specific connection between the two of us alive!

Create No-Phone-Couple-Zones

You need to establish what I like to call “no-phone-couple-zones”. What do I mean by this?

Places AND times where phones are out of the picture, and the two of you are spending time with one another.

Times to cut out the phone:

  • During dinner
  • During family date nights
  • During couple date nights
  • After X:XX p.m. at night
  • During church

Places to cut out the phone:

  • In the dining room/at the kitchen table
  • During shared TV shows
  • In the car when you’re the passenger
  • The bedroom
  • At church

When you cut out the phone from specific times and places in your life, you open up space for more communication, spontaneous sharing with each other, and getting reconnected.

Example from Our Own Marriage: We chose Wednesday nights to be no-phone time, and the dining room table to be no-phone zones for us. And honestly…Wednesday nights have crept back into normal phone use night (with everything going on in the world – we both browse news apps while sitting together). I think we need to reinstate this!

Take an Online Marriage Class Together

I’ve detailed out 11 free online marriage classes in this article, and you’ll definitely want to take a look.

This is the perfect way to work on something new together, that has everything to do with working on your connection as a couple!

Example from our Own Marriage: Paul and I have taken several marriage classes together, including the Divorce Proof Your Marriage mini-course – it’s how we got started doing consistent, at-home date nights as a couple – and an in-person marriage class taught at our church.

Share Your Dreams Together

I’m talking about your actual dreams – when you first both wake up in the morning, take a few minutes to simply share with each other the crazy, whacky, scary, soothing, awesome dream tidbits you can remember from the night before.

What’s even more fun? Is then trying to interpret them for each other. You actually gain some pretty interesting insight into your partner this way.

Example from our Own Marriage: I won’t bore you with the details of our own dreams. However, I will mention that sometimes we do this at like 2:00 in the morning! If I wake up and remember a crazy point from a dream I just had, and Paul turns over, I’ll whisper it to him.  

Do a Couple’s Relationship Challenge Together

One of my favorite activities for married couples to do together? Is a relationship challenge.

In fact, I’ve written a whole article on 41 relationship challenges for couples to do together that keep helping couples connect over something fun to do together.

A few other resources:

Example from Our Own Marriage: When we first got engaged, we combined our $25,000 in remaining debts and declared we would challenge ourselves to pay them off before our wedding 10 months later (on top of paying for the wedding, putting a down payment on a home, and saving about $2,500 towards our honeymoon). It ended up taking us 5 extra months…but we DID it. Not only that, but what an awesome way to start our marriage off – working on a debt payoff challenge together.

Choose Dates to Specifically Help You Reconnect with Your Spouse

My husband and I have gone on many, many dates together (mostly at home date nights in the last 5 years).

And there are some dates that really inspire reconnection over others.

These kinds of dates include things around at least one partner’s Love Language, teach you something about each other (but through self-discovery – so it just naturally pops up during the date activity), and exploring something new together.

Three engaging date ideas for you:

  • Eating fondue at home…with chopsticks only
  • Putzing around an ethnic food market together
  • Giving at-home couple’s massage (definitely check out my article on 37 at-home date ideas for married couples to learn about the free massage videos and massage oil we use!)

Bite-Sized Reconnectors (10 Minutes or Less)

Alright, alright – so did you read through that list and think that there’s no way you can fit those reconnection activities into your schedule (or your husband’s)?

No worries. I’ve got you covered with these bite-sized ways to emotionally reconnect with your spouse.

If you guys have just 10 minutes or less, then check one of these out.

Psst: you might be wondering Is it possible to reconnect with your spouse when you have such little time together? I have to say from experience, that YES, you can. But you have to be diligent and committed.

Soul Gaze One Another

Soul gazing – a fancy-schmancy way of saying, “take 4 minutes or so and do nothing but stare into each other’s eyes” — soul gazing is actually quite effective in reconnecting or connecting two people.

I mean, when was the last time you stared into your partner’s eyes?

Example from our own marriage: This was awkward at first for us to do, and we giggled a lot. But then…something magical happened. Aside from really nailing down my husband’s eye color, I really started to feel connected with him. It was pretty great.

Send an Article with Commentary

If I’m reading a magazine article and have something to share with Paul – but we have no time to read it together or talk right now – I simply rip it out, highlight the area I’m talking about with a highlighter or underline it in pen, then write in a comment or two on the margins.

Then, I put it in his lunch, or on top of his keyboard, or wherever else I know he’ll see it and get to it as soon as he can.

We’ve had some really interesting conversations that started this way!

Give Some Post-It Note Love

Post-It Notes are like the poster-boy for bite-sized writing.

You’re forced to share something short, sweet, and simple.

Which is what my husband did while we were at home working on two separate floors of our house (he’s working from home mostly for the last 4 months).

We had gotten into some small arguments, mostly stress-related, and things were a little tense.

The next thing I knew, our 4-year-old came into my office and handed me a post-it note from Paul. It read, “I love you!”

That post-it note turned it all around, and instantly reconnected us.

In fact, it’s been on our fridge ever since.

Be More than Crossing Ships in the Night

Perhaps the two of you are not in the same spot long enough to reconnect. This was the case for us when Paul was working night shift and going to college at the same time (he graduated just a few years ago!).

So what did we do to connect with each other some, even though we hardly ever saw one another awake?

We started writing shower notes to each other.

I had gotten this pad of shower notes from a Mastermind I was part of, and Paul was the first one to write a little note of encouragement on it. The next time I took a shower (I shower at night, so he was already at work), I was SO SURPRISED to find it.

I responded, which he got to read when getting home and showering (before nodding off to sleep). We kept this up for a while, and it’s been a secret weapon of ours to stay connected.

*funny story – we moved last year, with movers paid for by Paul’s new employer. When we unpacked our shower note we realized that:

  • a) it still had the last note we had written to each other, which was to say things like “we’ve GOT this!”, and
  • b) one of the nice mover boys had written a note on it saying that we were awesome! We were SO touched.

Is it possible to reconnect with your spouse? Absolutely. I mean, I can’t guarantee it, but I CAN tell you my husband and I have been through this and come out much better for it. When you’ve been married for years (we’ve been married for 10 years), you understand that the relationship balance can waddle from very engaged to not-so-engaged…and back again. I’m happy to share the resources we’ve used and our own marriage examples for things to do with your spouse to reconnect the next time you feel the two of you emotionally drifting apart.

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Amanda L. Grossman is a Certified Financial Education Instructor, Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Frugal Confessions. Over the last 10 years, her money work helping people with how to save money and how to manage money has been featured in Kiplinger, Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, Business Insider, LifeHacker, Woman's World, Woman's Day, ABC 13 Houston, Keybank, and more. Read more here.
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