Thus far in our quest for a superb marriage, we have looked at B and E, Blessing and Edifying, two “tasks” that one spouse can do without the other spouse being fully engaged. It might not be as meaningful when you feel like you are the only one making the effort, but it can be done and sometimes must be done in order to restore harmony and intimacy to your marriage.
Today we are moving on to S, Sharing, which is going to take time and commitment from both spouses.
Before you throw up your hands and say, “There’s no way my wife (or husband) is going to do this. Everytime I try to talk to her (him) she (he) goes through the roof or just turns cold,” understand that this might be the most difficult part of the prescription, but when it works, you can throw away all of your other medicines in favor of the B-E-S-T prescription.
First, keep in mind that sharing is not just talking and listening, though at some point you have to do this (wink).
Sharing touches many areas of your life – time, activities, interests and concerns, ideas and innermost thoughts, spiritual walk, family objectives and goals, hopes, dreams, daily life.
In fact, if your husband or wife is emotionally distant and you haven’t shared much more than a curt “do you want some coffee” before you leave for the day, don’t think that today will be the day that your mate will magically open up to you.
Instead of talking about something, do something together. Preferably, do something that your spouse likes to do. If he likes to drive around looking at new homes, forget the price of gas and go with him. If she likes walking in the evening, put your walking shoes on and hit the pavement. Spend time together without any expectations of an intimate conversation.
Tomorrow and the next day and the day after that and the day after that (you get my drift), do it again. Maybe he wants to go to a basketball game and you have virtually no interest, go anyway and show some interest. Maybe your wife wants to plant flowers in the front of the house, go out there with her and lend her a hand.
Then talk about what you did together. Start there. Just share what you did and how much you enjoyed being together. If you didn’t like the event, don’t bring it up, just share how much you enjoyed being together.
When you are ready to begin sharing on a deeper, more emotional level, follow these rules of engagement:
Let your husband or wife know that whatever is shared between the two of you stays between the two of you. There is not a person alive who is willing to share his or her inmost thoughts with the knowledge that your brothers, sisters, friends, or parents are going to know about it the next day.
If you have violated this rule in the past, commit now that it will not happen again. Commit to it in your own mind and verbalize it to your mate, then stick to it no matter how hard it is.
Be fully engaged when you are listening to your mate. Give him or her your full attention. Put away the remote, forget about the dirty dishes, and focus on the conversation. If possible, sit close and look at each to show that you are part of the conversation.
Do not interrupt. Do not finish sentences. No matter how trying it might seem to wait for your spouse to finish a sentence or a thought, resist the urge to jump in and finish it. Chances are you will be wrong and your spouse will feel defeated and might not want to try again. When you interrupt or finish sentences, you are squelching your mate’s desire to share with you.
Disagree agreeably. Unless you are discussing a problem that needs to be solved rather than just sharing thoughts and feelings, do not correct your spouse. Listen and offer encouragement. If you must disagree with something being said, do not interrupt and be sure you understand fully before disagreeing.
My husband and I often find ourselves agreeing with each other, but we get to the conclusion a different way. Somewhere along the way one of us will say, “Wait a minute, I’m agreeing with you, but give me a minute to think this through.” Or, since we know other now, one us might just smile and say, “Quit disagreeing with me, I’m agreeing with you.”
Plan for time alone together for a day or a weekend. You certainly can and should share with each other on a daily basis, but you will find that a deeper connection will form as you have more time to share with each other. Plan time away without the kids, the dogs, and the cats. Let your focus be just on the two of you.
Remember, if you have a long way to go to get to intimate sharing, start out just being together and let conversation flow naturally as you spend time together in activities that you enjoy. As your enjoyment of being together grows, deeper trust and intimacy will naturally take place.
Yours for the celebration of marriage,