If you missed Monday’s post on Marriage Week, click here for Minimize Monday. The goal of this week is to write about actions that we can take every day that will add up to big moves within a marriage.

Most men I know break into hives and immediately feel the pang of guilt when their wife says, “We need to talk.” I realize this plays into a “females-like-to-talk”… “men-like-to-not-talk” stereotype. I also realize there are exceptions and if you fall into that exception category—fabulous! Change the context and you can read this just the same.

My experience is that when Cathy says, “we need to talk” that she really doesn’t need me to shoot words in her direction… she wants to connect.

I assumed there was a certain number of words or amount of time of “talking” that would lead to connection (i.e. “If we’d just talk more, we’d be closer.”) I’ve since learned it’s more accurate to say, “If we connect more, we’d be closer, and ‘talk’ would be more natural.”

Cathy and I know that when we get away on a date or share a meal together or have planned pillow time, our connection is going to be much stronger. But, we also realize that life with kids is so busy that we’ve got to steal a few minutes and be intentional to get to the heart of connection.

These are specific questions that seem to fast-forward our connection:

• Tell me what’s happening with you.
• What occurred today that you want me to know?
• How are you feeling about life? Us?

Obviously, it would be irresponsible to write about “talk” and “connecting” and not comment about listening

No one wants to be in a relationship with a world-class talker. We all want to be with…

• Someone who doesn’t rush to judge or evaluate what we’re saying.
• Someone who isn’t quick to agree or disagree.
• Someone who doesn’t feel the need to express every opinion that flies across their mind.

I have many regrets over things I’ve said. I can actually grieve some misplaced and hurtful words I’ve used. But, I have no regrets over listening. I’ve never regretted thinking, “Why did I pay such careful attention to her? Why was I so patient and empathic and understanding?”

But I have regretted checking email and reading my texts while Cathy was talking. But, listening has never led to regret.

Connecting and listening will lead to more talking. Talking isn’t the end game… connecting is.

Question: What do you find as the most difficult part of connecting with your spouse? Share it here.


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