Julie Griffin, PsyD: Psychology and Neurology of Couple Routines | Reloscope #41

In this episode, host Marie Stella Quek is joined by Julie Griffin, PsyD, a Licensed Clinical Psychologist specializing in relationship issues. Based in Colorado, she has been practicing since 2012

The episode examines the importance of couple routines in relationships and how they can benefit partners. It discusses the various benefits that couple routines bring, such as reducing stress, increasing emotional intimacy, and building a stronger bond.

Meet Julie Griffin, PsyD

Julie is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist based in Colorado. She obtained her degree from the University of Denver and has been practicing since 2012. In her private practice, Julie specializes in relationship issues and works with individuals and couples. Julie offers two-day couples intensives to help partners deepen their connection and develop healthy communication habits.

In the episode, she mentions that one of her favorite pastimes is exploring the great outdoors through activities like hiking and skiing. Julie has a fondness for fantasy novels, particularly the Harry Potter series. She also shares that her favorite is “Where Should We Begin” by Esther Perel. 

About the episode

In this episode, Julie discusses couple routines, how they can benefit relationships, and the psychology and neurology behind them. Couple routines are habitual behaviors that couples engage in together, like sharing meals, doing chores together, or having regular date nights.

These routines can strengthen bonding, intimacy, commitment, and stability and decrease stress through bonding behaviors like eye contact and oxytocin release.

But here’s the thing: routines aren’t just about the specific activities themselves. They also provide a sense of meaning and purpose, which independently improves relationships.

Julie points out that sometimes the biggest challenge is actually establishing and maintaining these routines. Like going to the gym, it requires prioritization and motivation. Over time, if couples disconnect slowly, it can be detrimental to the relationship

But worry not! Julie has some awesome strategies for couples to establish routines and strengthen their relationships. Let’s check them out:

First up, consistent check-ins. Setting aside a specific time each day to connect with your partner, like during dinner, is a great way to maintain open communication and strengthen your bond. And hey, put those phones away during this time to really focus on each other without distractions.

Gratitude and acts of service are also key. Expressing gratitude for the small things your partner does through acts of service, like loading the dishwasher, can make your partner feel appreciated and valued. It’s those little gestures that go a long way.

Moreover, daily connections are also super important. Finding ways to connect with your partner throughout the day, even in simple ways like greeting each other, sharing meals, or even brushing your teeth together, can foster a sense of togetherness and intimacy.

Furthermore, don’t forget about playfulness and fun! Engaging in lighthearted activities, games, or challenges together allows couples to experience joy and playfulness in their relationship. Plus, it’s a great way to alleviate stress and create shared memories.

Julie also provides more practical strategies for couples to establish routines and strengthen their relationship. These strategies include:

  • Regular date nights: Of course, regular date nights are great. Having a dedicated time for just the two of you, even if it means staying in, is an opportunity for couples to nurture their relationship and create quality time together. It’s all about that intentional togetherness that helps strengthen the emotional connection.
  • Shared email account: Creating a shared email account specifically for your relationship is an interesting experiment. It provides a unique and private space for exchanging messages, expressing thoughts, and staying connected throughout the day. It’s like having your own little virtual love nest!
  • Empathy and active listening: When discussing your days or any other topics, practicing empathy, validation, and active listening helps foster understanding, emotional support, and effective communication within the relationship.
  • Physical affection: Don’t forget physical affection. Engaging in simple touches like holding hands, hugs, or kisses releases bonding hormones like oxytocin, promoting feelings of closeness and intimacy between partners. So don’t be afraid to show some love!

In conclusion

Regular couple routines can truly work wonders in relationships. They strengthen bonding and intimacy over time, creating neural pathways in the brain associated with safety, trust, and positive emotions. By incorporating simple routines, you can increase your relationship satisfaction and find deeper meaning through quality connection time.

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