Moving from the honeymoon stage of any relationship to the "real" phases of the relationship can be difficult, to say the least. However, if you are a mature couple dedicated to growing together, there are a few things you can do to make that transition pretty painless. For example, there are things all couples do before bed to stay strong that, while small and seemingly insignificant, can make a big difference in any romantic relationship.
When my partner and I moved to the "real" phase of our relationship (AKA out of that splendid, effortless "honeymoon phase"), we struggled with certain issues — more often than not, communication. We led incredibly busy lives and barely had time to see each other or talk to one another. When we began to notice a strain on our relationship, we took the time to talk it out and uncover what was really going on, and what we needed to work on (together and separately) so that we would grow stronger in our relationship and our love. Usually, that time was available to us right before bed.
As a result, we decided to make these before-bed communication sessions part of our day-to-day routine, so that we wouldn't experience the same struggles over and over again. Of course, everything we did before bed is everything two people could do throughout the day, too. However, for us, bedtime was the best option. We were guaranteed to be home; guaranteed to spend time in the same room and, usually, guaranteed to be alone. So, with that in mind, here are just a few things every grown-ass couple does before bed, to keep themselves strong and on the same relationship page.
Cuddling can lead to sensual and sexual activity, but (and usually when you're a new parent and totally exhausted) it doesn't always have to. Sometimes, cuddling is simply an easy, comfortable way to feel close to your partner.
If you want to get all "science" with it, there's always the added bonus that cuddling usually ends up increasing your overall happiness, by releasing Oxycontin, a "good feeling" hormone. It's a win-win, my friends.
They Try Other Forms Of Non-Erotic Touching
Sometimes it's just nice to be touched and not expect anything to "happen." According to Psychology Today, touching in a non-erotic way satisfies the need for physical contact that is present from birth, a need absolutely everyone has.
So, go ahead and take that extra twenty minutes to cuddle or give a non-erotic massage. It'll do you both a lot of, very necessary, good.
They Ask About One Another's Days...
Life can get ridiculously busy and simply checking in with your partner throughout the day can prove to be difficult, if not impossible. However, you two have made the choice to share a life together, so it's important that you both know what's going on with one another and assist them if they need help or support or simply someone to listen.
Asking your partner something as simple as, "So, how was your day today?" let's them know that you care, that they're still a priority and that, no matter how busy your day gets, you'll never be too busy for them. (And visa-versa, because you matter, too.)
...And They Both Genuinely Care
Of course, simply asking is never enough. You both need to listen to one another, and be genuinely invested in the answer your partner gives (and you should expect your partner to be genuinely interested in your answer, too). There's no point in talking to someone that doesn't pay attention. At that point, you might as well talk to a wall, right? No one wants to have a relationship with a wall.
They Take A Break From Social Media
Social media can really eat up a lot of our time and energy. Our focus can quickly leave what is going on around us to the point where we are no longer "present" in our own conversations. By putting down our phones and taking a break from social media and technology, we allow ourselves the time to truly focus on our partner, their needs, and of course, our own needs and wants, too.
They Speak Up If Something Is Bothering Them...
If something is bothering you or your partner — whether that be something that happened at work, in the home, with your kid, or outside of the home with a friend or family member — you need to talk about it rather than let it build up and continue to bug you. Talking about issues as they come up helps decrease stress and ensures that small problems, don't turn into very large, very menacing ones.
...And They Sort Them Out Before Going To Bed
In my experience, leaving an issue open-ended or unresolved when you've gone to bed, only makes it worse. Not only do you wake up still upset, because nothing has changed, you have had time to over-think the problem, only adding to any pain or stress or frustration or anger you were already feeling.
If you sort out any potential issues before you go to bed — and no matter what time it is — you will both feel a lot better in the morning knowing that you've discussed the issue, taken time apart to refresh your mind and body, and are more calm to discuss the issue further if the need arises.
Pray (If You're Religious)
As a practicing Christian, I think it is extremely important to pray all the time, but especially before you go to bed and when you first get up in the morning. It gives you an opportunity as a couple to focus and center yourselves on God and on your love for one another to start your day off and end your day on a positive note together, as one.
Of course, not everyone is religious or believes in a high power, but if you do, praying is a great way to come together and feel connected.
Say "I Love You"
These three words can have so much power and meaning behind them (if you truly mean them, of course).