Boost Love and Connection in Your Busy Life

By John Howard
Web Exclusive

Five communication tips to sweeten your relationship, by relationship educator John Howard.

With the hustle and bustle of life coming at us full speed, it’s easy to overlook our most important relationships and forget the little things it takes to make a relationship work and flourish. Yet every day is an opportunity to take stock of the love in our lives and let our sweeties know how much they mean to us. These five tips can make a big difference in strengthening the connection between you and your partner while taking minimal time out of your busy day.

1. Eye contact is one of the simplest, most powerful ways to create a deep connection quickly. We often don’t engage in enough sustained eye contact with our sweeties in order to make a deep connection. It’s said that the eyes are the windows to the soul. However, they are also a live portal into your partner’s unconscious and emotional brain. Even 30 seconds of letting yourself land in their eyes without rushing can remind you of what you mean to one another.

2. The part of us that registers safety and security at our core often pays more attention to touch than to words. Use physical touch when you’re speaking and connecting with your partner. Get in close, touch his or her arm, sit on his or her lap. Try holding hands or stroking his or her hair, even while discussing everyday topics. The power of touch is that it communicates love, affection and connection quickly and it speaks directly to the security center of the brain.

3. Validation! We’re all too quick to interject our opinions when our sweeties are sharing their experiences with us. It’s typically best to validate your partner’s view before you contribute your own perspective. Whatever your partner shares with you, try responding with curiosity and an eagerness to explore his or her world. This is a quick and easy way to create a sense of connection in communication.

4. Developed by Dr. Stan Tatkin, the Welcome Home exercise is a belly-to-belly hug you and your partner engage in after you’ve been apart. When you’re away from your partner, your nervous system syncs up to itself and your environment. When we are back in the presence of our significant others, it’s asked to switch into partner mode. Hold the hug until you feel both your bodies relax, and talk afterward. The welcome-home hug helps prevent disconnections by syncing the important neurons in your belly so that you get on the same wavelength.

5. Laughter and fun! Knowing how to change your partner’s mood from a bad to a good one quickly is a great skill in a relationship. Inviting care directly when we’re down rather than complaining or criticizing is equally important. When we feel disconnected, a powerful hack is to create some positive memories quickly. Too often, we linger in heaviness, trying to process disconnection. It’s better to shift to an uplifting experience that changes our brain state and perception. In a down phase with your person? Go ride roller coasters with each other, or do something silly together, like karaoke, to wake up your funny bone. The power of laughter reduces shame, and once those groovy chemicals are flowing, you’ll forget much of what you were upset about.

Connecting and having a fulfilling relationship doesn’t require a lot of time together every day. Even in the midst of a busy life, you and your partner can prioritize each other and send an important message of love and appreciation effectively. For more relationship tips, sign up for John Howard’s newsletter at


Web Exclusive