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Finding Connection in Chaos: Connecting With Your Partner When Life is Hard

Kali Purnell, MSW, LSW
Insight Clinical Counseling and Wellness

Summer is coming. That means there will be graduation parties, baby showers, bridal showers, weddings, summer sports, kids that don’t have school, Memorial Day events, Fourth of July events and oh my gosh, vacations! How could I forget vacations? Summer for most people and families means chaos. As human beings, we are usually surrounded by chaos. Pick a season and there’s some sort of chaos going on. Chaos impacts relationships in a huge way that often goes unnoticed and not talked about.

Relationships are a core part of our every day lives. We have a wide variety of relationships in our lives but I want to focus on marriages, long term relationships and friendships. When we are so consumed with our day to day lives, we let our relationships slide. They are put on the back burner and labeled “we’ll get back to that later.” I want to start by saying: This. Is. Normal. It is also totally ok to prioritize things in your life because you cannot focus on everything at the same time. (PS – please prioritize the most important things to you.)

Amidst the chaos, how do we find the time to focus on the back burner? Just to give it a quick stir. How do we connect with our wife/girlfriend/husband/boyfriend/partner/best friend amidst chaos? Let’s dive into it!

There are so many ways to find connection with your person. Below will be a list of a variety of things to try to find connection throughout the day. Try one or all of them. This is not an exhaustive list and it is definitely not a “one size fits all.” Find what works for you and add it to your routine!

Marriages/Long Term Relationships

  • Verbalize appreciation to your partner
    • This may sound like “Thank you for picking up the hot dog buns for this weekend.” or “I appreciate you making time for this.”
  • Focusing on meal times and communicating during those times
    • Implement new rule for mealtimes: no phones
    • Make meals together
  • Kissing “hello” and “goodbye” everytime and verbalize your love
  • Monthly Dates Nights
    • Take turns planning the date
  • Lazy weekend mornings
    • Try to not plan morning activities and allow you and your family to sleep in, make breakfast and enjoy each other


  • Stay connected via technology such as texting or social media
  • Plan date nights
    • Allow yourself the time to step away from your to do lists and do something fun
  • Plan play dates if there are kids involved
  • Celebrate big moments (even if they feel small)

Relationships do not need to be perfect. Perfect is unrealistic and unattainable. The key to improving and fostering connection in any relationship is consistency. Being consistent and making the act/plan/person a priority is the most important thing. If you find your relationship struggles feel like too much, it is ok to consider couples therapy or individual therapy. Seeking help is the first step to improving your own mental health and relationships around you.

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