When you feel out-of-sync with your spouse, don’t rely on shallow communication, adopt these four habits instead.
The rut that so many of us fall into is just trying to survive the family schedules. When you finally get through the day, you fall into bed just hoping no one requires anything else of you that day. Small talk happens when we spend our days just exchanging facts between one another. I remember Steve and I constantly communicating, but it was all about who is going where and who is taking which kid to which event.
The first step in striving to communicate better was a determination to change some things that had become habitual. We made a resolve to do four things that would lead and open us both to a sweeter, deeper connection.
Be HONEST, but with HONOR!
In our previous years of marriage, many days we would walk in the door at the end of the day and naturally ask, “How are you?” Without hesitation, we always answered “Fine!” Were we fine? Maybe some days we were, but there were lots of days we were NOT. Our relationship wasn’t close or safe enough to answer honestly. Even if we did choose to answer honestly, we most likely just attacked and blamed the other for not being “Fine”. That attitude and answer was never going to get us out of the rut. We made a pact to start answering honestly without attacking each other. This was the first game changer in our walk towards communication.
Be more UNDERSTANDING of each other.
We chose to put ourselves in each other’s shoes. When we get unhappy, we get very selfish and self-centered. This made us stop and think about what the other was dealing with or experiencing during their day. It taught us to empathize and to really care about our spouse and what all they have to navigate in a day. It made us better spouses to each other.
Have a strong CONNECTION.
When all you do is small talk and exchange facts, you are not connected. The fastest way to restore connection is to have fun together. One of the first things we stop doing once married or having children is we stop playing together. When you know you are not connected, do something fun, something that makes you laugh and pick on each other. Before you know it, you are reconnected and you’re smiling at one another.
Make a CHOICE!
If you want to go deeper in your communication, to the level of feeling safe to be honest and vulnerable with each other, you both must choose to give the time to do the work to move you closer to each other. Often asked “What if one spouse wants to but the other doesn’t?” Our answer….PRAY. God can change hearts way better than we can.
Steve & Debbie Wilson
Steve and Debbie Wilson are the founders of Marriage Matters Now, a non-profit marriage ministry that has reached couples for over 25 years. Their 43 years of marriage coupled with passion and a heart to see marriages healed and healthy has driven this ministry all over the nation as they speak at numerous conferences, have spent hours counseling couples, and have written two books.
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Web site: marriagemattersnow.org