Don’t wait until a romantic getaway to create sparks with your spouse! Today is the day!
When many people think about what it takes to deepen their connection with their spouse, the first thought generally heads in the direction of some grand (and probably expensive) gesture. And while an extended vacation or a day filled with pampering and expensive restaurants sounds great, it’s not realistic to view these as our only opportunities to enjoy quality time and develop deep connections with our spouses.
Instead, I want to focus on some simple and practical things we can do on a day-to-day basis to develop a deeper connection with our partner.
Focus on using positive words, tone, and body language.
Unfortunately, sarcasm, irritation, and sharp words can become a normal way of communicating in the home if we’re not careful. After working to act and speak professionally all day, it’s easy to relax and let our guard down when we get home and we’re around the people we care about most.
One of the most basic ways to deepen your connection with your spouse is to be very intentional about the way that you speak to them and the way that you respond with your facial expressions and body language.
Proverbs 12:18 (NIV) says, “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Use your words and your nonverbal communication to bring some healing to your marriage! Body language and tone are hugely important because they can communicate the exact opposite of what our words are saying.
Think about how many different ways you can read the words, “Okay, sure” depending on the spin you want to put on them with tone and facial expressions. Work on catching the sneaky ways that negativity shows up in these little moments.
Tune in, not out.
It’s so easy to get distracted when you’re talking to your spouse. After all, you’re likely to be at home, which is probably the site of many of your unfinished (or un-started) projects: laundry, dishes, that spot on the wall that needs patching and touch up, the appliance that is needing some TLC, the yard work, and the list goes on and on. And that’s all without mentioning kids, pets, or entertainment options at home.
Creating a deeper connection with your spouse doesn’t mean that you focus only on them to the exclusion of everything else. But it does mean that you make the choice to give them your full attention when you’re in conversation with them or when they’re asking for your attention in order to ask a question, fill you in on something, talk about their day, or communicate what they’re needing from you.
In Philippians 2:4 (NIV), Paul encourages the believers in Philippi to think of others: “not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Practicing giving your full attention to your spouse and choosing to prioritize what they’re saying or needing over the other possible distractions around you will make a big difference in your level of connection.
Be intentional with your time.
While going out for dinner regularly might not be an option because of time and budget limitations, that doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to make time for each other while you stay at home.
What if you committed to sitting down at an actual dinner table to eat a meal with no TV or screens on in the background once or twice a week? Or you commit to going on a walk around the neighborhood twice a week as a couple? Or you headed out to your favorite coffee shop to sit down together for 30 minutes with no plan or agenda for the conversation?
While they don’t seem like much, these intentional moments often open opportunities for conversations that just don’t happen naturally during the normal day-to-day routines of life. I can’t explain why that happens, but I can tell you that couple after couple has told me that it happens for them, too. There’s something about breaking up the normal routine and creating some intentional time together that brings a different feel and allows couples to connect in a deeper way.
One of the first counselors we hired at Winning At Home was a former pastor named Jim Boeck. After he had been with us for a number of years, Jim became ill and eventually passed away. As he neared the end of his life, I asked him to give me some good, hard-won advice. Jim looked at me and said, “If nothing changes, nothing changes.” I had been expecting some great wisdom and insight, so I was initially disappointed with this little turn of phrase. But he told me to stop and think about it. He told me that if you keep doing the same things you’ve always done, then things will keep turning out the way they always have.
My guess is that everybody reading this wants a deeper connection with their spouse and wants a close-knit marriage. The truth is that doesn’t happen by accident and it doesn’t happen overnight. With time, effort, and intentionality, you will see growth over time. But if nothing changes, nothing changes.
Dan Seaborn is the founder and president of Winning At Home, a marriage and family organization based in Zeeland, Michigan. His practical illustrations and memorable real-life examples teach others how to win at home. He and his wife, Jane, have four adult children and live in West Michigan.