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In marriage, husbands and wives often struggle to be on the same page with communication.
After four decades of marriage, I still find that true. And I’m going to assume I’m not alone.
Some of it probably comes from our male/female differences and some from cultural differences.
Sure, we may be talking, but I’ve learned that talking isn’t always communicating. When we are communicating we are connecting in a way that both satisfies her and deepens our relationship.
So given my weakness in this area I am always looking for help. Something that will make me better at building our connection and intimacy.
With that in mind, here are 5 simple ways of connecting with your spouse that I have found to be practical and helpful!
Please note that your mileage may vary depending on your wife’s personality and communication style!
Physically Turn Toward Her to Connect
Have you ever watched two guys driving in a car?
I often notice this. Guys rarely look each other in the eyes when they are driving and talking. They tend to stare straight ahead when communicating in the car. And it can be the same when watching TV. Even in a deer blind, two guys scan the surrounding area and rarely look at each other. Is it a throwback to our hunter ancestry or God’s design? I don’t know.
But this looking away while talking does not work well with most wives. Women prefer looking at someone when they are talking. We see this regularly. And they will tell you that they feel more connected that way.
So when either of us don’t face our spouse, in a conversation, we are creating a doubt in their minds. The doubt is that we aren’t very interested and are not fully giving them attention.
That’s why your will find that looking up from the TV, computer, magazine, paper, tablet, phone, or your food plate is meaningful for her.
She wants to see your eyes because then she knows she has your attention. Sure, you think she already has your attention, but to her the lack of eye contact signals a form of inattention.
So, try turning away from whatever you are doing.
Lock eyes on her.
Smile and listen.
Don’t forget to tell her you want to work on this skill. She will appreciate your effort…
Don’t Always Jump in to Fix Her Stuff to Connect
Some guys are “fixers”. When they hear a problem in a conversation, they automatically go into fix-it mode.
They assume the conversation is to communicate a need and that their role is to jump into action and fix the problem.
That’s a problem. It may be that when your spouse wants to first talk about the problem and then maybe ask you to help fix it. (If you are needed…)
I’ve found that Lou Ann likes to talk about her problems because…she likes to talk about her problems. She is usually verbally processing her options when she does this.
When I try to jump in and give her a quick solution, it frustrates her. Plus I’ve then sidelined the conversation, and she now feels unheard.
So, if your wife is discussing something with you, just listen. Don’t provide solutions. Then, if you are wondering if she needs a solution, ask her. She will tell you.
Bottom-line? Know your wife’s style and adapt. When unsure, ask questions and remember the answers…
Respect her differences to Connect
Some guys have assumptions that get in the way. They believe their spouse’s differences are unique, wrong and need to be corrected. It’s the old “I’m normal”, so you must be weird line-of-thinking. But who ever said the way you see things and act is normal?
But then some of us take it a step further.
We will make joking or critical comments or snarky jokes about her in the presence of company. Our brilliant logic excuses this as motivational and funny. Duh. That’s a bad idea. Why?
Because every wife is different by nurture and design. They grew up in a different environment, had different expectations put on them and experienced different things that you did. So try to respect that. Plus remember that our spouses are God’s beloved children and he doesn’t take kindly to us mistreating each other.
So, it is important to live in harmony with our wife and to respect her unique differences and perspectives. Pray for her if you want to see her change, but recognize the difference between your preferences and sin. Just because she is different doesn’t make her your fixer-upper project.
To add more motivation to this “respect her differences” idea, here’s a factoid that should get you thinking.
You will live longer
if you live in harmony with your wife.
How much longer?
Eight years, on average. That’s 8 Super Bowls, 8 deer seasons, 8 Final Fours and 2920 days of marriage bliss.
Do I have your attention, yet?
Romans 14:4 1 Peter 3:7
So, honor God with how your speak to her and about her whether she is there or not.
Kiss her on the lips for at least 6 seconds to Connect
Couples who kiss more often on the lips and for at least 6 seconds have better relationships.
Do you remember your first kiss? 90% of couples remember their first kiss, so there must be something going on we don’t understand.
So when should you do this kissing?
Ideally, when your breath doesn’t smell like dead fish.
So, try kissing each morning before leaving for work and each evening when you both return. For 6 seconds. If you cannot kiss that long without suffocating, try small repeating kisses. Just keep your lips together.
Here’s the pseudo-science. Kissing releases Oxycontin and may explain why kissing bonds us to each other. Kissing also releases dopamine, a necessary chemical messenger in your body. Some studies show that kissing reduces cortisol, a stress hormone, so it might help lower your blood pressure and prevent heart attacks.
Don’t stop flirting and dating to Connect
Marriage is not an excuse to quit dating each other. In your marriage vows did you vow to stop flirting or dating?
You don’t date to get married. You get married so you can date. – Tony Evans
After 40 years of marriage, Lou Ann and I still find ways to flirt. Almost everyday. It might be a suggestive comment, holding hands, a casual touch or a surprise hug and kiss.
Note: This flirting should be not to be confused with foreplay.
Dating each other still matters. Why? It shows that we value each other and our relationship.
Maybe you are like me. I can spend weeks planning a vacation/fishing/hunting/hiking trip but feel challenged to plan a weekend away with my wife.
So be a leader. Discuss plans for getting away. Find a cute restaurant or campsite or condo. Make the reservations. Don’t wait for your wife to do it.
Feel broke? Not a problem. Take just an afternoon. Find something you both enjoy. Visit a new park. Go sightseeing. Walk through a museum or aquarium. Look up stuff on Groupon. Get coffee together.
It’s not how much money you are spending, but your attitude and attention that matters. When you don’t have a lot of money, just do lots of smaller things instead of a few big things.
While you are alone together, shed your silent warrior persona and lead the conversation with great questions. Listen closely, don’t look for fixes and be open about your feelings.
I’ve found that when I use good questions, I’m much better at connecting with my wife.
Learn to use open-ended questions that cannot be answered with a “yes”, “no”, “yeah”, or “ok”. Like this: “What was your high/low today?” “Where do you want our relationship to grow the most?” What is your favorite _____ and why?
Stumped? Check out our dozens of conversation-starters under QUESTION-4-Us on our website.
So Here is a quick Recap.
1. Physically turn toward her
2. Don’t try to fix her stuff
3. Respect her differences
4. Kiss her on the lips for six seconds
5. Keep flirting and dating until you die
The ball is now in your court. Will you choose to connect with your wife as she so richly deserves?