You’re rolling your cart down the supermarket aisle, when you bump into (literally), your friend whom you haven’t seen in – well, awhile. She asks “Where’s your husband?” and you say “Oh, I dunno – probably doing something around the house.” Your friend laughs and says “Well, I knew it couldn’t last – the two of you doing everything together.” And that stings. Because you remember when you and your mate used to do pretty much everything together – from groceries to chores to laundry to workouts. Now it seems you do everything separately, and you don’t remember when or how that happened. . .

As you think about it, you realize you spend a lot less time together, and what time you do spend together is all about the “business” of a relationship: what’s the schedule, who’s picking up the kids when, should we buy this or forego that, did you/he remember to do yet another on that unending list of chores, which in-laws/friends are next on the “must get together” list and so on. The intimacy has diminished in your love-life: not that you love each other any less, but that closeness, that feeling of true connection has faded.

You’ve complained about the lack of closeness – of course you have! You’ve complained to your mother, your girlfriends, your co-workers, the kids’ pediatrician, your mani-pedi gal, the dry-cleaners, all of whom sympathize greatly. You’ve complained and nagged about it to your spouse, but all that seems to do is drive him further away.

And there you have it: women complain, men leave.

Oh, they don’t necessarily leave physically, but whereas women speak up loudly in relationship about what’s wrong, what’s bothering them, men respond more often than not by simply leaving. First emotionally, then mentally, lastly physically.

Men are trained by our culture and society not to whine, not to complain, to be stoic and put up with hardship. They bring that attitude into their relationships as well. Which is why a wife is often surprised to find her mate has strayed, she assumed that since he wasn’t complaining, all was well.

Not! What to do? Pay as much attention to the connection side of your relationship as you do to the business side. Openly express your appreciation to your mate every day, let him or her know how valuable they are – to you, to your family, to the world – every day. Purposefully join in those activities he enjoys, be that the ballgame on Sunday afternoon, his new interest in golf, or his fascination with that software program. If you can’t join in, be supportive – be interested and enthusiastic. Be engaged in his work, show interest in what makes up his daily do, and engage him in yours.

Connection is automatic when we first fall in love, but it must be nurtured if it is to be maintained, and lovingly tended so you grow closer as the years go by, not apart.

Author's Bio: 

Noelle C. Nelson, Ph.D., is a relationship expert, popular speaker in the U.S. and abroad, and author of nine best-selling books, including her most recent, Your Man is Wonderful ( and Dangerous Relationships. Dr. Nelson focuses on how we can all enjoy happy, fulfilling lives while accomplishing great things in love, at home and at work, as we appreciate ourselves, our world and all those who inhabit it. Visit for more. Check out the Toad to Prince Contest at Deadline for entries is August 31.