Let’s take one last look at the Awesome Marriage Quiz results for now. The last question I want to talk with you about is this one: “I feel really connected to my spouse . . .” Sixty-five percent of you answered “most of the time.” That is great. Being connected is so important, and when we are connected with our spouse, it seems to affect other areas of our marriage in very positive ways. However, I also know there are 35 percent of you who answered “not very often.” With the number of people who have taken the quiz so far, that is a lot of unconnected people.
If you are connected, keep doing the things that are connecting you. Don’t let up, because the downhill slide can come rather quickly when you let up on the effort. For those of you who want more connection with your spouse, here are some ideas for you.
First, there is no shortcut to connection without spending time together. We have talked about our busy lives and the distractions of life. Your first step is to sit down together and find a daily time to connect. Then hold it sacred each day. What will you do in that time? If you have not connected in a consistent way for a while, it may be awkward at first. That is okay. Talk about your day, your hopes and dreams, or anything else that is on your mind. The idea is to begin connecting. Try to start with at least thirty minutes each day. It may mean that you put the kids to bed a little earlier or you DVR that favorite show. Whatever it takes, do it.
Second, practice really listening to each other. Research tells us that a person can listen five times faster than someone can speak. If Nancy is talking to me, I have to decide what I do with the extra time. If I am thinking what I will do when she finishes or what my great rebuttal will be to her argument, I will not be listening to what she is saying and she will not feel that I heard her. I have to focus on her and listen to her words and heart so that I can give an appropriate response. If we do not listen to each other, we will not connect.
There is a simple listening technique that I have used for years. It is STOP–LOOK–LISTEN. If Nancy comes to me and says, “Can we talk?” my first step is to STOP everything I am doing. I need to turn off the TV or put down what I am reading or stop doing whatever so I can focus on her. Then I have to LOOK. This means I face her so I can easily hear her and look into her eyes. Finally, I need to LISTEN to every word she is saying so I can respond to what she is saying. STOP–LOOK–LISTEN really will work.
Where is your “connection” as a couple? What is your next step in taking it to a new level?
Learn more about connecting with your spouse in Dr. Kim’s new book, 7 Secrets to an Awesome Marriage.