The comic shown here may be “funny” to some couples —especially those who are engaged or newlywed. There may always seem to be something to talk about together. And there is. But sadly, many couples lose the art of “just” talking together.
The dynamics of marriage often leads the way into settling us in together into a life of familiarity, which can tempt us to become lazy as far as investing the time into growing our friendship. Another aspect of marriage can stir us up with SO much busyness (especially if you have children), that it’s not unusual to find ourselves in a place where we just don’t talk together, as we should. Either way, we’re put into a place where there is a real “need to communicate more.”
Communication is Vital
I heard someone once say that communication is the lifeblood of marriage. And I believe that to be true. We need to actively talk to each other in our marriage, to grow our relationship.
Now, in this blog I’m not talking here about having a type of “reporting” conversation, where you “report” what this child has done or how that event went, or something that happened at work —the regurgitation of facts. Yes, we need to engage in those kinds of talks too, but that’s not what I’m referring to here.
And I’m not referring to your talking AT each other either. That happens too. I’ve seen this go on with different couples —my dad and stepmom in the past, to my amazement, got into that grove of “talking.” So many words were said, and yet no there was often no connection.
Talking But Not Conversing
I remember feeling one time like I was stuck in some type of a warped chatter box with them that I couldn’t escape. (That’s because Steve and I were in the backseat of their car on a LONG trip.) They both would mouth words out loud that seemed to be important to themselves personally, and yet even though they were sitting side-by-side, they definitely weren’t listening to each other. That was obvious by the bizarre way their “talking” was going. I honestly don’t think they cared to hear each other… they just talked to themselves out loud AS IF they were talking to the other. It had the appearance of a conversation, but it wasn’t.
I’m talking here of conversing with each other —having a “normal” conversation together. The Merriam-webster dictionary defines “conversation” as an “oral exchange of sentiments, observations, opinions, or ideas …an informal discussion of an issue.” When you talk AT each other, there isn’t an “exchange” of opinions and ideas going on (as I described with my dad and stepmom). There is just blabbing, with no heart-felt connection.
Reporting VS Conversing
If that meets a need, that’s fine. But please don’t allow it to be all you have going on together whenever you open your mouths —either “reporting” to each other, or getting into contention, and/or talking AT each other. Make sure you include time to have a “regular” conversation —where you connect in a positive, healthy, relationship growing way.
Having a regular conversation together, is where you exchange ideas. It involves each of you talking and LISTENING to what the other is saying. That is the way you better know and (sometimes) better understand each other.
Talking with Spouse
I LOVE talking with my husband Steve. There isn’t any other human being I’d much rather talk with, than him. It hasn’t always been this way, though. We went through several dysfunctional seasons of fighting and opposing each other. But eventually, we each woke up and applied ourselves to working on our issues. We grew our friendship into a beautifully strong one (that we continue to apply ourselves to grow). I enjoy talking with my gal friends, and need them to talk about some things that would bore Steve or he just wouldn’t understand, as the man he is. But for the most part, he’s the one I most enjoy conversing with.
Perhaps you need help with this, and you feel you just aren’t as creative in knowing what to converse about, or you’ve gotten out of the habit of making this an important part of your relationship. If you need some ideas to get you started again, here are a few ideas for you.
• First off, you can go into the Communication Tools topic of this web site, where you will find “Conversation Starters” and “Fish Bowl Conversations” and other articles (with links to additional topical conversation starter resources, as well).
– You may also want to go into the “Links and Recommended Resources” part of that topic. Within it, you can pick up a few resources that you’ll find helpful.
• The Romantic Ideas topic also has some great ideas for you. Mix some romance in with your conversations sometimes. It’s good for your marriage.
– The article, 22 Minutes to a Better Marriage can also give you added tips to apply. And then you can glean through the Mentoring tips in the article, Using Our Website for Small Group Study as a springboard for your own conversations. Just adapt them to work for the two of you.
• If your excuse is that you don’t have time to fit a conversation in with your spouse, please read, Pockets of Time.
– If it’s your children that divide and seem to conquer any time you could have together, then please go into the Children’s Effect on Marriage topic and read what you believe might help you… I’m thinking of the article, “Don’t Let Your Children Come in Between You” is a good one to start reading TOGETHER, if possible. It might stimulate a good conversation.
— ALSO —
• There are all kinds of Facebook Quotes and Twitter Quotes that we have posted in each topic provided of this web site. You can go through them little-by-little —reading one and talking about it, reading another and talking about it. Even if you disagree, that’s okay. You’re allowed to have your own opinions. (Please make sure you DO allow your spouse to have his or her own opinions.) That just says you’re different. And different isn’t bad, it’s just different! We’re all created and grow to be different in a variety of ways. That can add spice to our lives.
• If you want to converse in a deeper way, there’s a web site at Prageruniversity.com, which houses hundreds of 5-minute videos. They each center on different controversial topics, that can be great for you and your spouse to watch together. You can then talk about them with each other. The lecture topics are given by author, and talk show host, Dennis Prager, and others who are great thinkers. They should get you thinking deeply on a variety of subjects. Don’t get stuck into thinking that you and your spouse have to agree on everything. Just enjoy the conversation.
When you’re conversing with each other, on a 22 minute date time, or longer, don’t allow yourselves to start arguing with each other. This is not a time to stir up angry feelings aimed at fighting with each other. If you or your spouse has a gripe of some type, schedule another time to “talk” about it. Then go on with your conversation time and/or date time. Later, pray about it so you hopefully are able to approach the matter in a more positive direction.
Concerning all of this, I agree with something that Diane Sollee (from Smartmarriages.com) says about conversing with each other:
“The most important marriage skill is listening to your partner in a way that they can’t possibly doubt that you love them.”
Connect With Each Other
Listen to and talk with each other in ways that help you to better connect with each other. It’s a GREAT way to grow your marriage in a positive, loving direction. And isn’t that a big part of the reason you got married in the first place? Didn’t you marry so you would grow together, in love, rather than to grow apart?
I hope you will put the intentionality into what is needed, to do so (as Steve and I are doing). If you do, the rewards can last a lifetime.
Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this blog.
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Filed under: Communication Tools