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Reconnect Through Meaningful Conversation

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Shown from behind, a couple sitting on a bench outside. His arm is around her, their heads are leaning against each other.
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It takes intentionality to overcome the tendency for talk with your spouse to morph from meaningful to administrative. Deep, meaningful conversation is a must for couples hoping to stay connected.

Think back to your dating days or your engagement period. Remember the hours you spent, on the phone or in person, bonding with your significant other — the time you spent connecting with each other through deep, meaningful conversation. I know I enjoyed that season of my life!

If there’s one thing that my wife, Erin, and I have been working on in our marriage, it’s this need for connection through meaningful conversation. It’s something we used to do so naturally, but then things changed. About five years and two daughters later, Erin and I woke up and realized that our conversations had mutated. We were focused on administrating our marriage (talking about the budget, schedule and to-do list), working through conflict or talking about how to keep up with our busy lives. We wondered what happened to our long walks through the miles of trails in Arizona, the talks we had while shooting baskets at the park, or even the laughter we shared together over things that were irrelevant. Where had all that interaction gone?

The value of 10 minutes together

We’ve since discovered that the average couple spends less than four minutes a day in meaningful conversation. What in the world? Where are couples going awry? Apparently, Erin and I were not alone in our need to connect as a married couple.

So we set off on a mission to rediscover meaningful conversation in our marriage. More recently, we came across a piece of research that inspired us to press on in our endeavor. Dr. Terri Orbuch, an Oakland University professor and research professor at the University of Michigan, completed a 30-year study of more than 400 couples. She discovered that the happiest of these couples spent time every day connecting with each other, talking about meaningful things for at least 10 minutes. Indeed, the lack of deep, intimate conversation had been wreaking havoc not only in my marriage relationship, but also in the relationships of millions of others.

The joy of rediscovering each other

At first I had no idea what “meaningful conversation” even involved. But since that time, I’ve learned that all this means is getting to know your spouse’s inner experience and social world — his or her daily routine, likes, dislikes, needs, emotions and dreams. It’s about having an intimate knowledge of each other, kind of like the apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:12, “Then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” That’s exactly what married couples seem to be longing for —a return to the early years when they were fully knowing and fully being known by each other.

The goal of having meaningful conversation is to talk about things that keep you current and deepen your understanding of who your spouse is. What are his or her likes, dislikes, preferences, feelings, stressors, friends and life dreams? It makes me think of the popular  ’80s song “Faithfully” by the group Journey. The song contains a line that says, “I get the joy of rediscovering you.” Indeed, each and every day married couples can choose to set aside 10 minutes in order to “rediscover” each other. What a simple way to stay updated about that special person to whom you are married!

I want to encourage you to make a commitment to your spouse — that you will fight for this daily time together for meaningful conversation. Make it your goal to talk for 10 minutes every day. You can discuss anything other than work, kids, household management, finances and your relationship. This can be done face-to-face or on the phone. And if you need help thinking of good questions to get the conversation started, check out Conversation Starters for Date Nights for hundreds of questions to ask your spouse.

Take the time to continue getting to know your spouse, and in return offer him or her the gift of getting to know you. As Erin and I have discovered, this simple change can infuse new life into your marriage relationship.

Dr. Greg Smalley is vice president of Family Ministries at Focus on the Family and the co-author of Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage.

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Your Teen Needs You Most of All

No parent of teens is perfect and even the best can learn how to better connect with their son or daughter. Get practical action steps to better connect with your teenager in 8 Essential Tips for Parenting Your Teen in this FREE video series!

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.
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Understand How to Respect and Love your Son Well

Why doesn’t my son listen to me? Have you ever asked that question? The truth is, how you see your son and talk to him has a significant effect on how he thinks and acts. That’s why we want to help you. In fact, we’ve created a free five-part video series called “Recognizing Your Son’s Need for Respect” that will help you understand how showing respect, rather than shaming and badgering, will serve to motivate and guide your son.

Reconnected: The Digital Experience

Is the love there, but not the spark? Reawaken fun in your marriage and move from roommates to soulmates again with the help of this 7-part online video experience. Learn how to connect emotionally and spiritually as husband and wife using techniques such as dreaming together and establishing deep, heartfelt communication. The Digital Experience includes 7 teaching videos, an online study guide and access to additional tools and resources to help spouses reconnect.

Next Steps: Marriage Assessment

We want your marriage to be thriving and healthy. Take the free Marriage Assessment from Focus on the Family to learn how to strengthen your bond with your spouse and get the tools to help you need to grow closer together. 

Next Steps: Fruit of the Spirit Devotionals for Couples

The Fruit of the Spirit Devotional is a free series of nine short videos to get you into God’s Word and inspire you to seek the Holy Spirit’s help in loving your spouse.

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