It doesn’t take much to throw off a good date night routine. Marc and I can be on a roll for months… keeping to our weekly quality time like a paperboy does his Sunday route. But, then, a few schedule changes, unexpected commitments and business travel come along and it all goes down the drain. It easily happens. We do our best to commit to the routines and rituals that serve us only to find life’s unexpected surprises and detours have another plan altogether.

Unreliable, unsteady, unpredictable. That’s life. Three hours together on Saturday night isn’t always in the cards. And three hours can be challenging to carve out, but who doesn’t have just fifteen seconds to connect? What if I told you that much of the benefits of a three-hour dinner together could be gleaned from a tiny, little micro-moment of connection? Seriously!

As it turns out, we actually have tons of these micro-connection opportunities every day. They’re called liftoffs and landings, and they’re found each time we say hello and goodbye to each other.

Imagine this scenario: You’re in one part of the house and your spouse calls out from the other side of the house to let you know he’s leaving. “Bye hon,” he hollers. “See you later,” you holler back. Connection opportunity missed.

Now imagine your spouse found you in the house, wrapped his arms around you, gave you a big kiss and said, “I’m headed out but I wanted to kiss you goodbye first.” A river of endorphins flows. The serotonin fireworks blast in your brain. An avalanche of happy chemicals begins to gush. In just fifteen seconds you reclaim your bond, reaffirm your love and give your relationship a mini-boost that has the potential to lift the entire mood of your day.

The same holds true for when you return home. Trade in a wave and quick hello for a more mindful moment of touch, eye contact and smiles. Boom! Those connection chemicals are flowing once again and setting the tone for the next few hours.

Then there’s bedtime, another opportunity for a 15-second reconnect before you fall asleep. It doesn’t have to be an all-night snuggle or even a prelude to intimacy (but it can!). A 15-second reconnect before bedtime can merely be rolling over for one last smile, one last kiss or one last “I love you” before you close your eyes.

Creating a ritual around our liftoffs and landings takes practice and intention. It might even take you leading the charge, perhaps for a long, long time before your partner gets with the new program. However, it may be surprisingly easy! The act of really showing up for your hellos, goodbyes, goodnights and good mornings is so simple and so effortless. Yet bringing present to these moments is incredibly impactful. Why? Because they make us feel like we matter; they give us the chance to see and to be seen. These moments help us to actually stop and feel the love we share with each other.

I love my date nights with Marc; wouldn’t trade them for anything. But I think I love all of our micro-moments even more because they’re everywhere… when I slow down long enough to pay attention to them.


Kristen Manieri is the Founder and Editor of Date Night Guide, as well as a prolific freelance writer. She regularly appears on FOX35 Orlando and has been featured in Good Housekeeping Magazine and on Kristen lives in Orlando with her husband, Marc, and her two daughters.