Last week, we began talking about emotional intimacy. Since you may have more time than usual to spend with your spouse during this quarantine, we thought we would spend the next three weeks delving into the topic a bit more. This week we’ll talk about the goal. Then, the process and the landmines.
Are You Just Business Partners?
For the first 25 years, Bob and I would have told you we had a smooth-running marriage. We didn’t hit, yell, or throw things and there was a fairly clear division of responsibilities, so we didn’t get in each other’s way much. We assumed this was as good as it could get, and we had arrived. This was the way an average evening went: Bob came home from work. We had dinner and took care of the kids. Then we sat down to talk or began working on household business (Did you pay the utility bill? Do we have a babysitter for Saturday?), Sunday School prep (Can I bounce my lesson on the Beatitudes off you?), or one of our numerous other projects (I’d like to sponsor a table for the Good Friday breakfast. Is that okay with you?). We figured this was all there was. It wasn’t until we attended an advanced marriage seminar and saw heart-to-heart communication demonstrated that we understood there were levels of connection we had never experienced.
Talking at a Heart Level
What we witnessed was two people talking at a heart level. Business talk, while necessary to life, was not part of this conversation. Spouses made a safe place for each other to share their successes, the things they had enjoyed during the day, and what made them laugh. It was also a time to share memories, incidents, and ongoing situations that shaped us growing up. It was a time to explain the things that frighten us as well as situations that make us uncomfortable.
Do you and your spouse often talk about “heart matters”? When you know your spouse is rooting for you, this type of conversation becomes a safe place to share. When your spouse feels completely safe, they open up. When you feel completely safe, you might even try asking if you do things that cause your spouse pain.
That’s the goal. Next week we’ll talk about the actual process we used. Until then, take some time this week to try to connect more deeply with your spouse than you have in the past. Leave the business items for another time. Here are a few questions to get you started:
Safe question: What have you enjoyed most about the years we’ve been together?
Question to open conversation about your spouse’s feelings: What’s going on inside right now?
Harder question: How much do you feel emotionally cared for by me? (0-100%)
May God bless you as you seek to “know” your spouse at a more complete level.
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