Healthy marriages don’t just happen. They’re the outcome of principles spouses have consistently put in place over time. One of these essential principles is making time to communicate and explore what is taking place in their respective hearts and minds. This principle may seem overly simplistic, nevertheless its impact in helping build a vibrant marriage is profound.
Discipline and Dedication
My clinical experience is that the couples who have the strongest relationships are those which follow this principle of making time to talk. Although they have busy schedules and are emotionally fatigued by the end of the day, they still choose to dedicate some amount of time to connect before the day is over. This is an act of discipline and a powerful way to demonstrate their relationship is a priority.
Spouses have to face the reality that a close and lasting emotional bond is developed by consistently communicating in a loving, respectful and supportive manner. If they abide by this principle they position themselves to reap the benefits of security, trust and honesty in their marriage. On the other hand, by letting days pass before they communicate, they are far more likely to experience the hurt, emotional distancing and distrust that commonly follows.
Considering the “How” of Conversations
Having deep, enjoyable and meaningful conversation is possible within a short period of time. Dedicating 15, 20 or 30 minutes to talk without distraction creates a framework for such conversation to unfold. The primary factor in this regard is how spouses engage during that time. By offering each other their undivided attention, being curious about what each member is sharing and validating those expressions, couples help one another to feel loved, cherished and valued.
A Fact of Human Nature
Human nature is such that we all bear an innate need to be loved. This fact holds true over the developmental life cycle. It’s embedded into our very being, therefore it only makes sense to do everything we can, together with our spouse, to ensure that each member feels deeply cared for now and in the future. Making time for each other to talk, and then doing so in a loving and respectful manner, is an incredible means of accomplishing that objective.
A Brief Reflection
My own marriage is a reflection of what I’m writing about here. When Gail and I daily set aside time to talk, our marriage feels more connected and our interactions are more positive as a whole. If we let this principle slide, and go days without focused and meaningful conversation, we can feel the emotional disconnect between us and our interactions are more tense as a whole. Eventually, one member will say “enough” and pull for us to change course.
Over 14 years of marriage, we’ve come to understand and respect our need for quality time and conversation as a couple. Yet, we never would have reached this level of understanding and respect if we hadn’t taken time to hash out our relational needs and desires. I’m not saying we’re perfect in this area, however I am thankful we’ve established time to talk each night, so that if any tweaks are needed in our marriage we can take them on directly.
Eric Gomez, LMFT
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist
Fulfilled Christian Counseling