If you missed yesterday’s post, you can read it here, Day 1: Learning to Love.
Do you remember when you first started dating your spouse? The relationship was new, exciting and fresh. Your conversations were long and full of wonder. You spent hours talking about your likes and dislikes, what it was like growing up, your dreams and even your futures. There were likely late nights on the phone and maybe even some long walks when the weather permitted. All while communicating with each other.
Then you get married and have kids. Your conversations become about the children and what’s on the schedule for the week. Some days you only see each other in passing. And one day you find yourself married for 10 years and you have nothing to talk about – or at the very least it’s a struggle. Communication is so important, but it does take work. For some people, talking may come easier than it does with others.
Although television and even society would like to tell you there is a magic formula for how to communicate, the truth is there’s not! There is no right way to communicate as long as you are both involved. Just like love, communication is a two-way street. Neither of you can do all the talking all the time. You’ve got to learn how to talk to each other and with each other.
Now, I don’t have a secret formula that will magically fix the communication breakdown you might be experiencing. In fact, you’ve probably heard all these tips before, but it important to be reminded of them from time to time.
- Begin your day with God’s Word. Beginning your day with God’s Word is not just a great way to communicate with our Creator, it’s also where we learn how to love and communicate with our spouses.
- Listen to each other. Take the time to really listen when your spouse speaks. Know what’s important to them, because it can and does change. But if we work at listening and communicating each day, then we won’t feel like strangers when the kids are grown and leave the house. By listening to each other now we will ensure yourself of many heartfelt conversations as you grow older and closer together.
- Ask open-ended questions. Pointed questions are key here. Instead of asking, “How was your day?” which lends itself to a one-word answer, ask “What did you like about your day?” When asking such questions it leads into a conversation rather than just a passing word, not to mention they help you learn more about your spouse. Maybe they had a bad day and need to refocus. Maybe they had a particularly wonderful day and if you simply asked how their day was you may never know.
- Regular date nights. Set a night each week, every other week or even once a month to go out just the two of you. If you can’t afford a babysitter, try setting up a babysitting-swap with some friends. Each week one couple watches all the kids at one of the houses, while the others go out. Then you rotate on a schedule that works for everyone in the group. This is a great way to make date nights more affordable and your kids have new playmates!
- Turn it off. Take time in the evenings to turn everything off and just spend time with your spouse. Now, I’m just as bad as the next guy at wanting to watch my evening shows, but it’s good to put that aside every now and then to just sit and talk with your spouse. Practice asking those open-ended questions and listening to each other.
Now I realize none of these are new revelations in the marriage and relationship realm, but they do warrant our attention. Putting these simple, yet powerful steps into practice can help secure your future as a couple who truly knows each other.
Read the next post in the series: Day 3 ~ Finding and Loving Your Spouses Love Language