Building Better Marriages

By Rob Furlong

Find 30: do coffee with your spouse!

click

The movie Click tells the story of an overworked architect who has become increasingly frustrated at constantly being caught between his responsibilities to his boss and his family. He is given an unexpected gift however, in the form of a TV remote which he discovers allows him to pause, rewind and also fast forward parts of his life. Inevitably it leads to disaster because he discovers, almost too late, that by fast forwarding through his life he has also missed the best parts, particularly those spent with his wife and family. In a harsh lesson he learns that the richest aspect of life is to be found in the relationships that we build with one another.

PRAY, PAUSE, PEACE

Claire Diaz-Ortiz has written about the Overwhelm Epidemic which describes the negative impact that electronic and social media is having upon our lives as well as outlining her strategy to deal with this phenomenon. One aspect of this is what she describes as taking time in the day to pray, pause or find some peace to enable you to meet the demands of the day ahead.

Making time in your relationship with your husband or wife to find some peace, or to simply pause and slow down, is also an excellent strategy for fostering deeper intimacy between the two of you, as well as facing the challenges of life that will confront you both.

DO COFFEE

One way is to simply find a half hour or so at the end of the day over a cup of coffee or a cool drink where the two of you can simply connect, talk about your day, it's highs and lows and where you are "at". My wife and I have sought to make this a priority in our marriage for many years, even when our children were young because we both recognised how easy it is to drift apart as a married couple when you lose touch with each other's feelings, hopes or needs.

DO WHAT YOU BOTH ENJOY

Another strategy is to make sure that as a couple you continue to 'date' each other. Couples talk about 'date night' but, for many, this has simply become another 'thing' to attend to in any given week. When you go out together ensure that it is a time set aside for doing something you both enjoy as well as deepening your intimacy with each other. It is very easy for couples who have been together for a long time to be "all at sea" as to what to talk about when they are out together.

QUESTIONS TO ASK EACH OTHER

Here are a few questions you may like to use the next time you are dating your spouse:

How are you enjoying the book you are reading at the moment? What do you think of the author? What are your hopes for our marriage over the next year? (A great question for an anniversary or New Year date!) What do you think was the point of that film? Why? (Assuming you have been on a movie date night!) How did your project meeting with the boss go today? How do you feel about it? Lately, on our own dates, I have been deliberately leaving my mobile either at home or in the car. While it is probably advisable for one of you to have a mobile with you on a date, for me it has been a way of saying that I am not going to allow this device to dictate my life. Both of us are fairly disciplined with our phones but when that electronic beep goes off signifying that a message or email has come through, there is always the urge to pick it up and "deal with it quickly!" The trouble is, it only has to happen three or four times in the evening and if it is multiplied by two phones you end up spending more time with an unseen party rather than each other! Take time to slow down and be together – don't fast forward your lives – that way you will ensure that you do not miss the best parts!

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