Have you ever had something like this happen between you and your spouse?
My wife was talking with a friend, telling her a cute story about one of the children in her classroom. It was a delightful story. They laughed together. And I thought, “Zerrin never told me that story. How come I am hearing it now and not first hand?”
Maybe it’s because I never asked.
Some days I just get too busy. I am so inwardly focused that I fail to turn towards my wife and show interest in her. When that happens, I stand a good chance of not hearing important parts of my wife’s day. If that happens on a regular basis in any marriage, the felt sense of intimacy with our spouse will decrease. Before long, frustration with the relationship sets in. Then, if we are not careful, our hearts become open towards other alternatives.
Every single day, there is story that plays out in each of our hearts and lives. And every day those stories go unheard unless we make it a priority as husbands and wives to connect.
Spend a minimum of 20 minutes a day – ten minutes for each one to listen to the other. Hear the highs and lows of their day. Listen to any fears or concerns. Stay focused, letting them know you care.
Noted author and marital therapist, John Gottman Ph.D., is one of the nation’s foremost researchers on successful marriages. He says in his book, The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work, “In marriage, people periodically make what I call ‘bids’ for their partners’ attention, affection, humor, or support. People either turn toward one another after these bids or they turn away.” Couples who regularly hear the “bid” and respond positively with a glance, a grunt, a smile, or more are likely to have a successful marriage.
Every time we acknowledge our spouse in any way big or small, we are putting money into each other’s emotional bank account. Done over time, it pays great dividends.
So begin tonight. Think. When will be the best time to connect with each other even for 20 minutes? If you and your spouse are not accustomed to doing this, ask them to read this blog. If he/she is willing, then decide together on a time best for each other. Start with any of the questions below and take a minimum of 10 minutes to simply listen to each other’s answers. Do not give advice unless asked. Instead seek only to understand and appreciate what the other is saying.
Here are the questions:
* What would you like to tell me about your day?
* What were the highs and lows about your day?
* What stressed you out about your day?
* What did you enjoy most about your day and why?
* What is a new thought or idea, a wish or a dream you had today?
P.S. Remember also to “turn towards” each other all throughout your time together (not just the 20 minutes) when either one “bids” for the attention of the other. It will stir the embers to grow madly in love once again!
What is another good question to ask each other at the end of a day? Any other comments? Questions? Please reply below.