There are a lot of tips, programs, books, and courses to help couples navigate the enthralling relationship of marriage. It is no secret or new found understanding that marriage is a work in progress relationship. It will never be finalized or reach any pinnacle. There is nothing that we can do to stamp it as successful, and really that is by design.
Marriage was literally designed by Christ. He had a plan in place when He realized that every man needed a woman. We are to work in tandem. And like our relationship with Christ, it is never finished. We must, work, invest and sacrifice continually for the continuity of keeping it alive; to keep us faithful to one another. We should be able to rely on the other person to make our life function at a higher level. It seems far fetched, but it’s necessary when there is so much that can bring us down or set us apart.
Having open communication is what I would deem a VERY CRITICAL component to having a healthy, loving relationship. If there isn’t open communication, each person will begin to pull away…which ultimately leads to isolation. Isolation becomes a huge wall builder in marriage. Disappointment and resentment find their way in. And those two become a true blue problem.
It’s important for each person in the marriage to recognize that while they are a unit, they are both individuals. Individuals, that just like the marriage, never stop at a certain point of absolute. We all continue to shift and grow and change. And if truly committed to one another, each person will be receptive to the shifts and inevitable struggles their spouse will surely face. In those times, it’s key that communication is present.
There will also be shifts that affect a marriage at one point in time, such as children, or loved ones passing away, or a disaster (i.e. a house fire). These shifts will force the couple to markedly take stock in what is happening. Learning how to deal with the shift as a unit will cost an enormous amount of effort from each person. And again, if communication is a pain point, those times may seem insurmountable.
The best way to keep communication open and constant is to PRACTICE! As an introvert, I’m done by the end of the day. I’m drained, tired, worn out, and when it’s been exceptionally busy…I have no words. And this natural tendency for me is not conducive for my husband, who naturally wants to talk when he gets home. Once he steps through that door, he is energized again and wants to catch up, recap what just happened in his day and find out about mine. Over time (poor guy), he has realized I’m just not going to recap my day. I’ll give the one line response to ” How was your day?” , ” Fine” and that’s about all he can get out of me. But I think it’s important, even if you are like me and need to recharge for a bit, it is crucial to engage at some point. Even if it’s laying in bed before you go to bed.
A simple line of questioning could be:
- What was the best part of your day today?
- What was the worst?
- Did you hear about XYZ on the news?
Even these simple questions can spark a convo that can lead to an interesting dialog, and further develop a connection to one another. Today, more than ever, couples are pulled by so many external elements.
- House work
- Social Media
- Childrens’ activities
And making it a priority to speak to each other in an active listening manner will foster a sense of unity. There have been times when with our busy work/life schedules and travel, that Adam and I only talk on the phone to say “Alright, going to bed now, goodnight.” And it’s during those busy patterned days that the isolation and breakdowns can occur. So, make it a MUST DO to meet each other every single day with engaged hears and open mouths. Get used to sharing with each other, even if it seems trivial because feeling connected to what each other do throughout the day makes you more intertwined and used to communicating. Those disconnects will seem less apparent and even if you don’t know all the ends and outs of what your spouse does each day, you know enough to not feel like you’re living separate lives but sharing the same bed.
Another great practice is to have a “check-in” weekly. This check-in would consist of hashing out schedules for the upcoming week, recapping what happened the last week, and planning out goals. I had major aspirations to work this into our “normal”, once our son was born, because I knew time would be precious for reconnecting as a couple once children came into the picture. This is something we haven’t mastered, but it is on my radar, and we now consistently try to have a game plan to tackle the weekends at least. An awesome addition to this would be to work in a weekly bible study/devotional. I love when Adam and I talk theology. It’s always helpful and interesting to hear his perspective, and he has a much better skill than I do with recalling specific stories or verses to connect.
If we can have conversation with each other outside of the mundane
“Can you take the trash out?”
“Did Charlie get his bath yet?”
“What do you want to eat?”, we will feel more cared for, heard, and enlightened by each other’s presence. That connection/communication is what keeps the marriage unit at the forefront and much more fulfilling.
Let’s start here for now. Practice communicating and take note on how it changes your perspective about your spouse. Notice how you feel about them when you feel more engaged in their everyday. Try working the weekly check-in into your routine because having a clear objective each week for getting life done creates a team mentality that establishes a stronger bond!
LET’S MAKE MARRIAGE WORK!
Do you have any communication tips to share? Comment below!
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