The smallest thing can strengthen relationships…
One of my favorite activities to do with my partner, Will, is to make the bed together. Until recently, one of us would do it alone. Then I bought a new set of sheets that seemed a half-size too small for our mattress. It was a wrestling match to get them on after laundry. As soon as I got one side hooked in, another would snap up. When I finally got three sides down, the last corner was so tight my knuckles would turn white as I tried to stretch it down.
One evening before we went to bed, I asked Will to help me to make up the bed with the fresh linens. “This sure is easier with two people!” I remarked as we worked together to stretch the fitted sheet around the mattress. We took turns tugging at the last corner until it fit snugly. Then we grabbed corners of the flat sheet and brought it up over the bed together and adjusted the comforter for equal length on both sides. We high-fived when we finished. It took half the time it did alone and felt like we had worked as a team. I went to sleep feeling in harmony with my partner–such a little activity, and such great pay off.
Later on Will remarked that making the bed can strengthen relationships. I’ve been thinking about this ever since. Your bed is an intimate space that you share with your spouse. It is a place of nurturing, pleasure, relaxation and safety. It is where you dream together. Making the bed together–in the morning or after laundry–involves cooperation, decision-making, trust, fun and a sense of accomplishment. You must agree on when and how to make the bed, and set aside time for it in the morning, etc. While making the bed you practice working together and then enjoy the fruits of your labor. The feeling of well-being from these little positive interactions can reverberate through your day and pave the way for handling bigger challenges.
There are many other chores couples do together that strengthen relationships–it doesn’t have to be making the bed (although I think this is a particularly potent one). If you don’t have a morning routine, try adding one. It may be sharing a cup of coffee and discussing your plans for the day. It could be reading each other interesting stories in the newspaper or walking the dog. You might even enjoy a morning meditation or prayer session together.
Will adds: “As couples begin to share this task it can become a daily practice for relationship strengthening. It’s also a nice quick morning activity to do together on days when you may be apart for many hours.”
Let me know how it goes! And check out this silly video.
Thanks to Will for his wisdom.