Any marriage can benefit from implementing new or re-sharpened tools. These tools move us deliberately in building a growing relationship.
- The sharing tool
Share as much of life as possible! Share your time, share your thoughts, share your interests, and share their interests. This is a tool that must be deliberately engaged or life will push it aside. Time spent together doing things affords a connection opportunity. History together is built one event at a time. Make sure you are inputting positive events that build a positive archive. Plan dates. A movie night, dinner out, or even a coffee date is a good way to keep sharing alive!
If life has crowded the sharing out of your relationship, be deliberate in building it back in. Start small, share a certain TV program and sit together. Share a cup of coffee or a glass of lemonade for a couple of minutes in the middle of a task your spouse is doing. Even cleaning the garage or basement together can connect you. Reminisce briefly now and then. “This old bike brings back memories of those good times we had biking that summer before we moved.” Share your time. Go together to do errands occasionally. Begin to share your thoughts.
- The contact tool
Make daily contact! It is entirely possible to live with someone and not make any or very little contact. Contact is an excellent building tool and you can use it in a variety of ways. Each day try to connect in one way, whether emotionally, mentally, physically, or spiritually. Think about it and try to be deliberate. Some construction tools look overwhelming, yet when you know how to use them they are extremely valuable in the building project.
- Emotionally – Share a thought that goes beyond picking up milk or confirming the time of an appointment. Use “I feel…” comments.
- Offer emotional support. “You’ve had a lot of pressure lately. Why don’t you sleep in a bit Saturday?” “I know we are in a financial crunch right now, but we’ll do what we have to do, and together we’ll get through it.”
- Encourage each other using different means. Remember that communication is only seven percent words we speak and the rest is our tone and body language. Tone and body language are the emotional language we speak.
- Mentally – Connect by sharing a newspaper article you’ve read, a news commentator you listened to or from a book you’re reading. Ask their opinions and listen to them. Share a story from your day or ask a question about something of interest to them.
- Physically – Give lots of non-sexual touching such as a quick hug, a hand on the arm, a pat on the hand or the back. Touching says “I care” and touch is one of our basic human needs. If all touching has become a signal for sex, touch on the way out the door, touch casually, touch in passing. Do make time for the sexual contact as well. Plan for it and dwell on the good things about your spouse.
- Spiritually – Many couples never share on this level even if they share the same faith. Spiritual sharing gives a third dimension to a relationship. Share a thought or a reading that inspired you. Take time to pray for your spouse. Let them know you are praying. Pray together if possible.
Endeavor to connect regularly on these levels.