“Hockey season? Oh no, I just lost him again.” “Football every Sunday, and Monday?!” Wives across the country who are not as passionate about sports are probably thinking similar thoughts as they watch their husband (or boyfriend) take his place on the couch where he plans to live until Christmas.

This difference of opinion can be detrimental to a relationship, so I have a suggestion for the women, and one for my fellow men, that could make this a winning season for you both.

First the guys: Heads up, your wife relates differently than you. Although you can be in the same room with a group of guys, say nothing but “Oh ya! NO, NO, NO!! Hit him! Yes!” for three hours and feel that you have deeply connected (and if you’re cheering for the same team, bonded), realize that most wives do not share the same connection response capabilities. Yes it is surprising, but true.

So here is the plan: Initiate time to listen to her. Don’t glaze over on me! Women connect through verbal exchange, sitting facing each other instead of side by side watching a screen. I realize this is scary but you did just fine when you were dating. This week, plan a Starbucks date or even just a walk. Suck it up and be a man, you can do it. You might be surprised how meeting her need for connection on a regular basis will make her more willing to let you enjoy the game next time.

Now the women: Most guys speak, not through verbal exchange, but through doing things together. “What! Do you want me to watch the game?” That would work but only if he wants it. Having the guys over to burp, yell, eat junk food and do other rude things are bonding mechanisms for guys but having a woman present could hinder the process. Try to think of it the other way around: imagine your husband joining you and your friends when you go out for coffee and how that would change the dynamics, and the conversation. Don’t take it personally if he’d prefer some all-guys time.

Here is the plan for you: Do something with him, an activity he enjoys. One woman went out to the garage and read a book while her husband worked on his car. She was just there and he loved it! It may confuse your husband at first, but that woman’s husband said, “I don’t know what you are doing, but don’t stop!”

So, one thing each: Guys initiate time to talk this week, without the tv on. Women initiate doing something with (or at least near!) your man this week. I’d love to hear the results even if things didn’t go as planned.

More to Read:
Romancing your wife
Paul Henderson: The goal of my life
Go for gold in your sex life

Written by Neal Black

Neal Black

Neal works at Power to Change developing leaders. His passion is to challenge people to listen to God and develop their giftedness as they follow where Jesus leads. Neal and June speak at One Day events for FamilyLife. They love to communicate God’s game-plan for relationships with humour, energy and lots of stories!