I keep getting asked about how to bring playfulness and spiciness back into a relationship, but the truth is, connection comes before playfulness in your relationship. In this podcast episode we crack this open to discuss why connection is the foundation for your family unit, including tips for how to connect with your spouse. My intention is to shift your perspective for what should be a priority while you strengthen your relationship while coming into your authentic self. When we rush into playfulness and spicing up the bedroom before creating that connection, it’s not sustainable and quickly reverts back to the status quo. When you can build the foundation of connection, you can truly blossom in your relationship together weaving in playfulness and spiciness while you thrive.

Tune Into The Episode

Show Notes

Unpacking Mommy Martyrdom, Relationships, Patriarchy, Mindfulness, and More on Breaking Norms and Building Dreams with Brittney Ashley Episode: https://spotifyanchor-web.app.link/e/gR0Sj7pbuIb

Complimentary Catalyst Call: https://tidycal.com/janninemackinnon/catalyst-call 

Free Honey Pot Meditation: https://janninemackinnon.com/honey-pot/ 

Free Sexuality Shadow Work Play Sheets: https://dashboard.mailerlite.com/forms/21057/114943557669749787/share 

Unapologetic Practices: https://janninemackinnoncom/practices/ 

Nourish Through Pleasure: https://janninemackinnoncom/nourish/ 

Connect on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jannine.mackinnon/ 

Why Connection Comes Before Playfulness in Your Relationship

  • Foundations of Meaningful Connection
  • Exploring the Dynamics of Playfulness
  • Why Connection is Essential Before Playfulness
  • Side Effects of Lack of Connection in a Relationship
  • Tools for Deepening Connection – How to Connect With Your Spouse
    • Physical Connection
    • Emotional Connection
  • Cultivating Authenticity and Vulnerability
  • Nurturing a Playful Connection


Hello! I hope you and your family had a lovely Easter long weekend. We are just getting back into the swing of things and I’m excited to be getting back to a regular life. podcast with you to talk all about connection in our relationships. Last week I published an interview when I was on Brittany Ashley’s radio show, Breaking Norms and Building Dreams. And so it feels really nice to be getting back at it with more my style, my usual flavor of podcast episodes for you. So. This topic around connection and relationships has been coming up time and time again, and it’s actually framed in a different way around How do I spice things up?

We want to reconnect. What kind of toys and things should we be playing with? And something that came up in last week’s Mother’s Circle that I co hosted with my dear friend Melissa. If you’re local to Sooke, please check them out. They are awesome. So wonderful. But the topic came up again and how do I bring more playfulness into my relationship?

That’s something I’m really wanting to build. And the thing is, I find these questions are very geared towards that outcome and they’re missing a really essential foundation. And that is that connection comes before playfulness. Playfulness. We actually require that foundation of connection, which also is intertwined and intermingled with communication and support.

And once we have that foundation, we really feel safe and a sense of belonging and feel connected and our nervous systems begin to relax so that we can open up and bring in more of that playfulness and fun and spicy connections into our relationship. So that is what we are digging into in this episode.

We’ll be exploring. connection, touching a little bit into that communication and support. And of course, as always, I will be leaving you with some tips to help build more connection into your relationship.

In my opinion,

our connection with our partners is really the foundation for our family unit, and it is so, so important for all of us. For the head couple to really feel connected and heard and supported. Now, unfortunately, this is the piece that generally really quickly fades away through having kids.

We get caught up in that survival mode, doing the things we need to, to get through the days, keeping our heads above water. And before we know it, we’re just kind of caught up in that co parent and roommate phase. And so, I see this kind of split into two main scenarios with women I talk to and the ones I work with.

And so, that’s where you can either end up feeling like you are just passing each other by doing your own thing within your role for the family. But not communicating, often this comes with harboring resentment for one another. There’s like that passing by and each one of you may be thinking these different things, but not having an opportunity to speak.

There isn’t that communication going on, that resentment’s being harbored, and there can be conflict that comes from this or on the flip side avoidance. And so again, that’s where these things can really begin to fester. So for example, say the, we’ll do a married couple for instance. And so say the husband is going away to work and then coming home and just kind of checking out unwinding from work, isn’t doing as much around the household.

And that’s kind of his role is the financial providing and say the wife within this relationship is. The family provider and so she’s tending to the kids, tending to the house and doing all those sorts of things. And so where resentment can begin to build when you’re just passing each other by, he’s going to work.

She’s staying at home with the kids. They’re not communicating, so they feel like they’re tending to grow further and further apart. They’re really in their own islands. Again, there’s that avoidance, perhaps. She is beginning to feel resentful because, yes, he’s at work all day, he gets to leave the home, and then comes home, checks out, and she’s having to take care of him as well.

He’s not doing things around the house unless she needs to ask for it or somewhat demand or nag for it, which is frustrating for her. And so this all kind of builds up. And so there’s that conflict that can come from like, I need you to do this thing. Or there’s that avoidance of like, I’m just going to do it myself.

It’s not worth the problem. And so that divide tends to grow and grow and grow on the flip side. The other scenario that I see really frequently is where your great co parent team, but the relationship tends to revolve around the day to day. So there could be good communication between the two.

You each know your roles within the family and how you get things done, but it’s all revolving around the kids. The to do’s, what needs to be done, what has been done and like the making life happen stuff and the relationship itself gets kind of pushed to the wayside. And so it’s just being caught up and like keeping the family alive.

Both are supporting one another. The kids feel supported. There isn’t that resentment going on. But there is that distance. There isn’t that deeper connection within the team. It’s just kind of two independent players doing their thing, keeping things going, but there isn’t that true, true deep connection.

And so with both of these circumstances, often you feel, you end up feeling quite lonely. Like you’re missing the connection you used to have with your partner before. And Again, I’ve heard this time and time again, it’s you’re left wondering if things continue this way, if we continue to just go our separate ways, we’re going to drift further and further apart and divorce is what is further down the road.

And you know what? That is the case sometimes for some couples. And so that’s why I think is so important to when we’re recognizing these situations, recognizing what’s going on. We do that preventative care. That’s what has been shown in long term relationships that staying on top of those small things, noticing when things are starting to shift apart, you catch it and you come back together because it’s inevitable that turbulence is going to come up, that you are going to drift apart, that there’s going to be high stressful situations, and you will be a little bit more.

A part, but you come back together. You recognize what’s going on. You communicate, you connect, you put in the work and you keep coming back together time and time again and that’s how your relationship really lasts in the long run.

And so that’s why I would say that our connection with our partners really is the foundation of the family unit. I do believe there is another step of foundation below that, which is our connection and our strength within ourselves. So, this includes feeling safe to voice ourselves, to express our authenticity.

We heal our attachment wounds, so we can really show up with that secure attachment for our partners. That’s something that comes within.

We create that sense of belonging within ourselves. And so these are all things I work on clients with through coaching and have some downloadable meditations and practices to support you in, but I’ll leave that section for another episode and really focus on that connection within the relationship as the foundation.

So once we have our inner strength and connection, or while we are building those things, Things that next foundation piece that coincides, whether it’s one on top of the other, they kind of like mix and mingle together, depending on your flavor of your relationship and where you’re at in your life. It requires good communication and support.

And when we feel connected and supported by our partners and communicate well. That’s when we really become that rock solid team. We each give our 100 percent to the family unit, knowing that our 100 percent changes from day to day. Sometimes we might be in our summer season, like not, you know, necessarily literally the summer, but in thinking about the cycles of life, we all ebb and flow along with the seasons in our own timing.

And so perhaps when things are blooming, things are great. We are high energy. We are feeling good. Both of us are a hundred percent. Each is like, maybe it’s 110, 120%. We’re doing great. Things are thriving, which is amazing. And we also know that there’s other seasons that come up, perhaps there’s just sicknesses within the household, stressful situations with work, and perhaps one of you is more at a 40%.

And so that’s where the other one knows what the other needs. There’s communication around that, there’s understanding around that, and that other partner is giving that 60 percent, that 100 percent to really keep things going within the family unit. Keeping that connection and that strength together.

And so that’s that support and that teamwork. And not only does this allow you to get things done and build that life together intentionally moving through and thriving in the great times while also getting through and supporting each other through the more challenging times. You also feel connected and supported within.

You create that sense of safety within yourself and in your relationship, and it allows you to slowly release those protector pieces.

And so this is a lot of the work I do with clients, is working through that learned behavior that kept us safe, those protector pieces, those inner child pieces. But we get to a point where yes, they really helped us earlier in our lives. Life, but now they’re no longer needed. And often these pieces hold us back from that next stage in our life.

So when we have that connection and our support and our relationship, we have this space to begin to work on these pieces and that naturally comes up or it comes up through intention, through doing different programs and coaching and working on our things in different ways.

And that’s how we become more and more in alignment with our authentic self, with our inner essence, not being a product of our learned behaviors and our limiting beliefs and our responses and our triggers.

But really being able to release all of that programming, all of those learned behaviors so we can show up as we truly are, not who we needed to be, but really allowing that inner essence to come out, being intentional about how we want to program ourselves and show up. And we need connection and support to be able.

To work through these things and allow these protector pieces to slide away. Because if we are feeling stressed out, we need these protector pieces, right? And so that’s what keeps us stuck and stagnant. And so you can really see the ripple effect this has for you and your partner. And it also creates a massive impact for your kids as well.

You show up as a team. You’re able to intentionally build a family life rather than reacting to what life throws at you. You become very clear on your values and you weave that into your family life. You create stability and connection within your family, which creates secure attachment for your kids, sets that loving tone for your family, and gives them a great foundation for their lives and relationships.

So to feel connected. We need a few key things, and that’s to feel heard and listened to. This is where communication really comes in and it’s a very, very integral part of all of this. As well as we need to feel supported. Communication is needed here too. So we can communicate and learn how to support one another.

And the family unit.

We also need physical. Connection. As humans, we are community centered beings. We are very tribal by nature, and a lot of our stress responses turn on when we feel alone or feel that we don’t belong, feel isolated, feel like we’re doing everything ourselves, that we don’t have our community or our tribe.

And so, alternatively, a lot of our parasympathetic nervous system responses Turn on and make us feel calm, centered, and safe. through physical connection. So when we hug, our bodies release oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine, and this gives us those feelings of happiness, relaxation, improved mood, improved sleep, and lower levels of depression and anxiety.

And there’s a really interesting study I heard about recently. I can’t remember who it was done by, but I found it really interesting. So it was done with teenage girls and their mothers, and the study looked at what their physical responses were when checking in with them. with their moms. And they looked at this in two different ways.

One group of teenage girls would text their moms just to check in about the day. These weren’t any high excitement things or low lows. It was more of that basic checking in. And then the other group did phone calls for these check ins. That’s where they actually heard each other’s voices rather than just texting on the screen.

And what was really interesting is that the texting on the screen, there was no physical response linked to it. Alternatively, when it came to hearing each other’s voices. There was that physical response that oxytocin and dopamine and serotonin were released which show those feelings of connection and that physical response that human beings have towards that.

And so my takeaway from that study is how important hearing each other’s voices are for our physical state and having those community feelings and getting those happy hormones moving through. We don’t get that in the same way through texting.

And so all this to say, physical close proximity connection is a requirement for our wellbeings as humans. And that’s why this type of connection is so important in a relationship. And that’s why when we don’t have it, we feel like we’re on our own. We do everything ourselves because it’s easier. We don’t have a support system.

We don’t have someone to see and truly release our emotions with. And we notice higher stress levels and other physical issues like hormones off balance because of the higher cortisol levels, shitty sleep, higher levels of anxiety and depression, stomach issues, other chronic health issues, and it’s all related.

And it can all be mitigated through a series of things. I’m not here to say that connection is going to heal all these issues. Um, but I will say it will have a major impact. And when you feel connected and supported and heard, you are more easily able to make those other lifestyle habit changes that really support your health and wellbeing.

Again, it’s that foundation for the family through feeling safe, feeling connected. you are brought out of that more survival state. state, more stressed out fight or flight response state. And able to really begin to blossom as you are, to open up, bring in that fun and playfulness, to be able to make those different adjustments, looking at your triggers, coming more into alignment with yourself, making those different lifestyle habit changes with your food or your physical or your mental health.

That connection, that support truly is. that foundation.

So, how do we cultivate more connection within our relationships? Before I expand into that, I have a quick request for you. If you’re listening and enjoying this conversation, if you catch these episodes on a regular basis or this is your first one and you’re really interested in it, My request is for you to please press pause and take the time to leave a rating or review.

It’s called different things and there’s different ways of doing it depending on your podcast player.

But it was so appreciated if you could take a moment to do that right now. When you do, it helps podcast players know that this podcast worthwhile for listeners to tune into and begins to push it out to other women who want to learn more about these topics. And your simple act of leaving a reading or review helps create a ripple effect, empowering families one woman at a time as they listen to these conversations, as they integrate these lessons into their own way, coming more into alignment.

And leading their families more into alignment, which is my leading mission. It is what I tap into and picture every single time I sit down to do any sort of work. And I so appreciate your support in amplifying that ripple effect. And you can do that with something as simple as leaving a rating or review.

So thank you so much for supporting me. Now, back to the nitty gritty. How do we cultivate more connection within our relationships? And it really is all about the small things. I like to say that fourth place starts with coffee in the morning. That’s something I heard from olga Nadal, who’s a divorce coach, a few years ago at this point and it’s really stuck with me because I think it is so, so true.

It really is about all of the small, simple moments and something seemingly simple as your partner, giving you coffee in the morning really sets the runway for continued connection throughout the day, which leads to that playfulness, that spiciness, that sexual connection together.

And so these different things, these different simple connection points we can sprinkle in it throughout our day is that coffee in the morning. It’s that nice text or that phone call throughout the day. It’s a hug while one of you is cooking or doing the dishes. It’s a back scratch while you pass each other.

And again, these things seem so simple, but they really make that impact. And they are again, often. Just push to the wayside when we get into that co parent roommate phase going through the day to day and just not doing these small things. And when you incorporate these small little things, I guarantee you will feel the impact over them in just a matter of a few days or a couple of weeks if you keep at it.

And that comes in addition to some of the bigger things you can look at for your connection points. And

one of the like main things to look at is your connection points. before and after your biggest moments of separation. So this is something that I actually first learned with kids and it applies in relationships as well.

So generally our biggest moments of separation is the work day when both of you or one of you goes to work. And so what you do before that separation, that kiss goodbye, that wishing each other a good day at work, or the day, or whatever it might be, as well as the connection point when you reconnect, how you hug, kiss, check in about the day.

It makes a really big impact for your attachment, for those happy hormones that are flooded, for how connected you feel as that team compared to coming home at the end of the day, getting a head nod while one of you is still in the middle of something and the other one comes through the door, which again, I see is just kind of the status quo that people fall into.

And it’s not that. Something’s wrong about it. It’s just that there’s an opportunity for more. And when you really bring that intention into those connection points, again, I feel like a bit of a broken record, but it really makes a really big difference within your relationship.

And so that after work connection point, that hug and a kiss, that check in about the day leads into my next point about regular check ins. as we know, it’s not just about the physical connection, like those hugs and those kisses and those different moments of touch. It’s also about that mental connection. And so check ins are a great way of doing this.

And so that’s not just when someone comes home, Hey, how was your day? Did this, this, and this. It’s not about those like to do lists, what has been done or what needs to be done, although it can include that. And it’s also about how you each feel about it? What’s stressing you out?

What are you excited for? How can you support one another? Perhaps if someone has this big project going on at work and they’re really stressed out, they can use some extra space or they can use their other partner to do a little bit more to just help them. Or perhaps they’re really worried about something.

And so just having some extra moments for hugs and reassurance can really go a long way in helping them manage those stress levels and managing that sense of worry. And so these are all great things to do on that immediate check in point. And there are more in depth check ins that you can do in your relationship as well.

And so this can be done On an ongoing basis, and I split them into two categories, which is the more logistical side, and then the more value based side. I really do need to like consider better names for these, but for now, that’s what we’ll call it, the logistical side and the value based side. So logistically, this is something you can check in on a weekly or a monthly basis or something like that, but it’s looking at the logistics of the household.

What are your schedules like? What are your finances like? Is there anything that needs to be prepared for or planned or booked or anything to be aware of? New sports, different events coming up,

is there a mortgage renewal coming up? How much is in the savings? What’s our debt looking? All of these different things. And so taking the time to go over those logistics ensures you’re both on the same page. There’s no like wondering what’s going on or anything like that. So you feel connected and you’re in that mutual understanding.

You’re together making these decisions, talking about things, moving in a certain direction together, connected. Then there’s the value side of things. And so that’s more like goals in a way. It’s looking at what you’re working towards as a family. This can be professionally, more on the side of play, like different vacations, or switching around schedules so you have a three day weekend instead of a two day weekend.

How you want to parent together. What kind of work you’re doing as individuals. What type of life you’re building together. Where you see yourselves and your family in one year, in five years. And so this is something that can be woven in on a regular basis as well. It’s great date night conversation, I think.

So often when couples get out for date nights, it’s like, okay, talking about the kids, what do we talk about? So this is a great, really connecting conversation to have that can begin to light you up, is really building that life together and being intentional, feeling heard and witnessed in these different things that you want.

And so when we break up these check ins into this like logistical side and this value based side, we’re really filling up our cups in both that emotional and logical side, that right brain, left brain. We can weave in the physical connection with those different touches as well. And so it really anchors in.

That deeper sense of connection, that sense of safety and belonging and stability. And that is the foundation, not only for our family, but it’s the foundation for our feminine to flow out and to bring in that playfulness, that spiciness, that fun, and that enjoyment.

Because when we have those stress levels, feel very more towards the isolated, less connected, worried about the different things, unsure, when we don’t have that connection side, we tend to be more in our masculine side of things. And so we are Doing what we need to, to feel safe, to be protected, perhaps we might be worried, like I touched on that beginning of the conversation, of divorce happening down the road.

So we feel like we need to guard ourselves because that may be something that happens. We need to push ourselves to work, to hit certain goals in case that might happen down the road. And so when we’re like this, it’s really hard. To switch into that feminine flow, to be able to open up, to have that playfulness, to have that fun together, to have those great sexual experiences.

So when we’re able to really weave in this connection, to build that foundation, that’s where that begins to crack open more and more. And again, that’s woven into the coaching that I do, is Setting up this foundation so you can begin to explore your inner parts. Okay. I feel very rigid in this particular way, or I feel very triggered or reactive in this situation.

Let’s explore that. What’s going on? What part of you is feeling the need to protect yourself in that way? What does that piece need? Really allowing that piece to be heard, to be loved, to be tended to and then it can begin to be transformed and really support you in this next stage of your life rather than constantly reappearing and holding you back and continuing those cycles until you address that piece.

And so all that said, I will leave you with one last tip for connection, which is to do things together. Again, it seems so simple. And it gets pushed to the wayside because divide and conquer can be a much easier thing to do. One can watch the kids while the other does the things and Look, it’s very effective at getting things done and at, like, giving the kids the attention.

Fully a time and place for doing it. It’s something we’re doing right now. So I can get this podcast recorded and when that is the go to, when that’s how your family, It primarily operates, it perpetuates that separateness. And so it perpetuates kind of each being on your own track, doing your own thing, and not really being together on the track.

And so that’s why we want to make sure we’re building in that togetherness to continue to weave back together. Together. And so this can look like doing errands together instead of one staying with the kids. You actually go as a family and you can teamwork like tending to the kids.

One can still be more focused on the kids while the other is more focused on the shopping. But you get to be together and like even joke together or go for a walk before or after. It can be

Doing yard work together, having the kids play, and doing that activity together. Another one is actually snuggling while on the couch. Again, I think, a thing that is super common amongst couples is to be sitting at different ends of the couches, doing your own thing for the night, and Again, there’s nothing wrong with that, but when that is the primary and there’s nothing else going on, there’s that separateness.

And so one thing that we did in our relationship early on when I was like really pushing hard at working, and I would be working in the nights, and then I feel really guilty that we wouldn’t be together, but we weren’t necessarily Like, connecting as much together is it’s like, okay, Friday and Saturday nights are a couple time.

So the rest of the nights, we’re going to do our own thing. And we know that Friday and Saturday, that’s when we are intentionally together. We are snuggled up. We’re generally like watching a movie together, having different conversations or working on each other’s businesses. But it’s doing that together, side by side, having that connection.

You can also do things like exercising together, or hiking and walking, like it’s different for everyone depending on your hobbies. But really prioritizing that togetherness and not the conquer and divide, or finding your own harmony, your own play between those two different things in a way that works for your family.

So when you have all of these different pieces, that physical connection, that mental connection, that connection in your current situation and where you’re moving together and spending that quality family time together and even doing things together, it’s really creating that rock solid foundation.

That you get to build off of and

Relationships are an amazing opportunity for self development, for growth, because when two people are together, we trigger each other. We get activated. We have different annoyances or different responses that pop up. And so these are just fantastic opportunities to be like, huh, I noticed that keeps happening.

Why might that be? And getting curious and really looking at it and looking at those triggers as portals for transformation to really figure out what’s going on and be able to continuously grow together. Perhaps you notice you have an avoidant or an anxious attachment style that keeps popping up in different ways.

Maybe you want to keep doing things yourself, not asking for help, and not being into the togetherness. It’s easier to do it yourself. It’s like, huh, I wonder where that stems. To have a mother who always did things herself, huh. Is this what I really feel, or is this what I’ve been programmed to feel? How is this serving me?

Maybe it worked really well for a stage in your life, but like, hmm, maybe it’s not so great for your relationship and your mental health now. And so relationships are this great way of showing us these things, and when we bring our consciousness to it, we can really work through them.

And That’s something I support clients with.

If you’re interested, I would love to chat. I love digging into these things on like a inner part somatic level. When we have these certain responses, we have a physical response. Bonds that really flares up perhaps if we are doing things ourselves. I think , I think many of us who have had a period of time in our masculine energy, myself, very much included, and the independence that I’m gonna do it all myself, it’s easier this way, we can feel that in our body.

And so what I do with clients is we bring this forward. And we lean into it. We don’t push past it. We don’t get the things done. This is the space to lean into it. This is the space to lean into it, to explore, to see what’s going on and really learn from it. To listen to it. And when we give it the space to really be present and not just stuff it down.

It tends to release, actually, so much more quickly than constantly stuffing it down because it wants to tell us something. It is here. It is popping up because it wants to be heard. And so, my coaching containers are a safe space to explore this. In a trauma informed way. And then begin to alchemize these things.

To give them a different role. To transform them in different ways within yourself, so instead of holding you back, instead of repeating these cycles that are not getting you anywhere, you are able to heal them, to move forward in a different, more supportive way. So if you’re interested, you can feel free to book a complimentary CataList call with me.

So totally free. We can chat about things, explore this, see where you’re at, where you want to go, and how I might be able to help, and if it’s a good fit, also feel free to email me or send me a DM, but that is available for you. And I will say thank you so much for listening. It has been a pleasure digging into all of this.

I am almost leaning towards like, I think I need to do a series and expand on this and include the communication side of things. And so when we have that and the support, we have more of that foundation and then we can build on that playfulness, that spiciness. So let me know, shoot me an email or DM if that’s what you want to hear more of and we can definitely play within that.

And yeah. Just thank you. If this episode was helpful for you, please share it with a friend. And again, if you haven’t already, leaving a rating or review is so helpful in helping this podcast reach more women just like you, raising the vibration of the collective, one woman, one family at a time. Wishing you a lovely rest of your week, and I will see you next week.