Ever feel like the village idiot when your wife says, “How was your day?” Maybe you don’t feel like rehashing everything that happened—or maybe you’ve legitimately forgotten. But I have a great conversation tool I’ve used for 25 years. I simply call it “the pad.” I’m serious. I use an actual paper pad, but you can use your electronic device. As you go through your day, record things you want to share with your wife. Making notes is a simple act that’s the basis for what I call “couple talk times.” Here’s how the process works:
Start with God
The first step is to create regular times to talk with your wife. I suggest at least four 30-minute talk times each week. It’s best to meet in an atmosphere that is inviting to your wife. Maybe get her a cup of coffee.
A great way to start the talk is to say a short prayer with her. In your prayer, you might thank God for your wife and ask Him to help the two of you really connect in conversation. This can set a positive tone for your conversation.
To transition into communication, try reading a page from a couples’ devotional book and answering the questions. To give yourself time to think, read the devotional ahead of time and jot down some comments.
Build emotional intimacy
Next, you could segue into revisiting subjects you’ve discussed in other conversations. Talking about the same topic two or more times can help you reach a deeper level of communication.
Then it’s time to bring up new material: work, family, home maintenance, friends, church and events. (This is where the notes you made earlier come in handy.) If any of these lead to deeper conversation, continue talking about them next time.
Last, take turns praying out loud. We tend to pray for the most urgent concerns of our hearts, and following up on these topics in conversation can lead to greater emotional intimacy.
This progression is not set in concrete. It helps you start the process. It also provides structure, a nice flow and multiple opportunities for deeper conversations.
Dr. David Clarke is a psychologist, speaker and author.