This is Part Three of a series of five “resolutions” you can take to reinvigorate your marriage by Valentine’s Day. Particularly if, like mine, your priorities have shifted since you had kids, and your marriage hasn’t gotten the attention it once did. Each post is short and sweet, but they will make a difference to your relationship. If you missed the first two, they were:

Today’s resolution is…

 

Listen

I heard a statistic recently that mothers spend 3 minutes a day listening to their children; truly being with them without an agenda.  And with fathers, it’s 39 seconds. If you’re giving your child this little undivided attention, how much time are you giving your spouse?

Think about how you would feel if your spouse actually stopped (put down his* iPhone, newspaper or remote control) and asked you a sincere question. And then truly listened to your answer.

Heard. Loved. Accepted.

Don’t you want to make your partner feel heard, loved, and accepted?

The secret is to really and truly listen to his answer.  Not just nod and think about your to-do list. Not wait for your opportunity to talk. Listen. Look him in the face and watch his lips; look at his facial expressions, how he gets animated or pensive or emotional. Ask clarifying questions. Consider how what he’s telling you helps you get to know him better.

Try to have a conversation that doesn’t revolve around your children.

Not sure where to start? Here are some ideas:

  • Where do you think we should go for our next vacation?
  • I was just thinking about my biggest pet peeve.  I think it’s ___.  What’s yours?
  • Are there any sports or hobbies from your childhood that you miss doing?
  • If you were going to start a blog on some random topic, what do you think you would write about?
  • If you had to, which of these would you give up: alcohol, sugar, or meat?
  • What’s the first thing you think you’ll do when you retire?

You might think some of these are corny but it’s easy to get into the habit of talking only about practical things — or the kids — and these ideas can help get you out of that rut.

The great thing about the internet is there are lots of sources for corny ideas. Do you have any to add? Add them in the comments!

Stay tuned for Resolution #4 tomorrow…

“Good Old-Fashioned Time”

* I’m using “him” in this article because I’m married to a man, and that’s what I can most relate to. These suggestions are just as useful if you’re married to a woman.


5 Ways to Reinvigorate Your Marriage by Valentine’s Day (Part 3)