– In our last video, session seven, we established how important physical intimacy is in marriage, but most of our married life happens outside the bedroom. Your spouse should be your best friend, a trusted confidant, an ally who always has your back. Someone genuinely committed to your wellbeing in this video Russ, and I will share how we stay connected with the help of doing a weekly check-in in three steps. From our own personal experiences in our marriage and through mentoring many couples over the years, we’ve noticed one thing that can easily occur in marriage that can lead to significant frustrations. We’ve already discussed the importance of this one thing in a previous session, and it’s the topic of communication. Knowing that we need to communicate to our spouse and making a plan to do it are two different things. Intentional communication in marriage involves consistent conversations on the past present and future.
– The way we make communication a priority in our marriage is by scheduling a weekly check-in. We’ve set aside 20 minutes each week to discuss three topics and to encourage each other in one specific way. Here’s a breakdown of the questions we ask each other. One, we start by reviewing our schedules for the upcoming week. First we focus on the present and we review our schedules for the upcoming week and ask each other, “how do you feel about the week ahead?” This is a chance to consider conflicts in your schedule. Like John has baseball on Thursday at 5:00 PM and Jane has a soccer game at the same time. So let’s determine a plan for who goes where. Now we’ve found that using a shared Google calendar is a good way to keep track of kids’ practices, events, and appointments. And you’d be amazed at the peace that comes from having plans like this already in place and not having to scramble at the last minute. Besides the obvious value of ensuring we are communicating well about our schedules, it allows us to know about important meetings coming up for the week, so that we can pray for each other and just be aware of what is going on in each other’s worlds.
– Right. And number two, we discuss hopes and dreams. We discuss our future hopes and dreams by asking questions like, how are we making progress in pursuing our dreams? Or is there anything you found yourself hoping that could happen? And what are you hoping to accomplish this week? It’s important to know our spouses dreams and listen to them as they describe them. Some big dreams are the same every week like perhaps a condo at the beach, while others are smaller and change often like, I’d like to visit my out-of-town family soon or I’d love for us to plan a weekend away, maybe lose five pounds this month, or try a new restaurant. This process keeps what’s important to our spouse at the forefront of our mind and gives us the opportunity to help support our spouse’s hopes and dreams.
– And then third, we resolve tension that has built up over the past week. Make sure to provide an emotionally safe environment to talk about this next session. Here’s the process. I always ask the husband to lead by going first. Pray out loud together for God to help you both provide an emotionally safe environment for each other by not getting flooded or defensive, and ask your spouse, “have I done anything this past week that’s hurt or frustrated or embarrassed or angered you?.” And when they answer, the tendency is to get defensive, but instead, validate their feelings by saying, “I’m sorry that my action or words hurt or angered you.” And say, “I love you. And I would not intentionally hurt or anger you.” Now make sure your tone and body language are compassionate and not defensive. Their feelings are real even though you might think that they’re not justified. And then ask curious questions and really listen. Next ask what your spouse wished you would have done differently. Then either say, “I will work hard to do that next time,” or if you feel it will be difficult to do that next time, suggest an alternative. The key is jointly coming up with a solution. And then after the husband finishes this process the wife will start the process. Now remember, this takes time to get good at it and can be hard the first few times. So be patient and persistent because the reward is, you will actually feel closer afterward, if done with compassion and issues will not build on each other over time.
– Yes, it’s one of the best intentional exercises we’ve done in our marriage. And number four, finish with discussing what your spouse did well the past week. This helps us focus on the positive attributes and actions of our spouse. This is very important as our brain often wants to focus on the negatives and this helps train our brain to focus on the positives. For example, this week Russ did the grocery shopping. I do not like grocery shopping, it’s just so cold in the grocery store. So this is my opportunity to really share how much I appreciated that he took care of it. It means the world to me when he does an errand that he knows I don’t like doing. And this part of the weekly check-in, it helps me make sure that I’m communicating these things to him and not just thinking about how grateful I am.
– And for example, for me is this past week, Danielle sent me a text right before a really important meeting that I was anxious about that she was praying for me. And it means the world to me. I get all this peace right before this meeting because she’s prayed for me. The reason she knows I had this meeting is because when we were reviewing our schedule for the week she made a note. And then here it is Thursday, and she sends that text. So this, when we’re doing the celebration part, it’ll reminds me to thank her for that text that she sent me during the week. Now this is what works for us, but you can create your own topics to discuss. The key is being intentional to check in with each other on a consistent basis.
– And we hope this will help your marriage thrive as much as it has helped ours. Much of what we’ve covered in these past eight videos will help you with emotional intimacy, if you put it into practice. Working on you first making sure you’re a safe person, communicating your desires in a healthy way while learning and prioritizing your spouses, learning about the family patterns that have shaped you both, working on communication skills, healing past hurts, all of these things contribute to a heightened sense of emotional connection. Wives if you’d like to improve the emotional connection in your marriage, I’ve designed a private workshop just for you. If you’d like to join, check out this page wiveswhothrive.net, scroll down to the very bottom leave your email address on the waiting list and I’ll be sure to reach out to you. Remember, to have an extraordinary marriage, be intentional.