By Matt Dawson
You know what I don’t like? I don’t like when people give advice that doesn’t have any practical application. It’s short bumper sticker slogans like “I’m an Ameri-can, not an Ameri-Can’t”, or “Don’t be Eye Candy, be Soul Food”, or one of my favorites, “small changes make a big difference.”
It’s not that these inspirational one-liners can’t lift your spirits, but when a marriage relationship needs a tune up or a straight up overhaul – we need something a bit more practical.
I’d like to suggest 3 Practical things that EVERY MARRIAGE needs to work on, and keep working on “until death do you part” to foster ONENESS in our marriages.
This is the #1 issue in most marriages. Too many emotions, thoughts, and intentions are “lost in translation” when a husband and wife don’t continue to work on HOW they communicate with each other.
Notice, I didn’t say WHAT you communicate – no, it’s HOW you communicate that really fosters ONENESS in your home. What you communicate will constantly change based on your life circumstance. What my wife and I talk about today is DRASTICALLY different than 15 years ago, before we had children.
How we communicate is a practice each couple must master in order to properly balance what you are saying to your spouse, and what they are hearing! So here are 2 practical tips.1.
1. NEVER TEXT important conversations.9 0% of what we communicate is non-verbal (body language, tone, eye contact) and EMOJIS simply cannot match the complexity of our range of emotions.
2. Know The EMOTIONAL language of your spouse. Facts are not nearly as important as the emotional language that each one of you speaks. One might be an emotional SPEWER, or one might be an emotional STEWER. Your LOVE LANGUAGE (read the book) also plays a high role in the way you emotionally communicate. Someone with a love language of “words of affirmation” will not understand or respond well to one who is speaking with an “acts of service” love language.
No matter what – NEVER stop working on your communication skills. Tracie and I have 23 years of marriage under our belt and I really feel like we just started getting good at it within the last few years.
Everyone enjoys different things. Like two circles that connect and overlap, there are going to be things that BOTH of you enjoy together. You may enjoy them in a different way, but you both enjoy them. This might be 5-8 things that you and your spouse both love, OR you might only have 1 or 2 things that you both love.
No matter what you enjoy together, do as much of them together as often as you can for as long as God will let you.
One INDISPUTABLE law of oneness is an enjoyment of being together and doing things together. MOST women, it’s the being together that matters more. MOST men, it’s the doing things together that matters more – but BOTH MATTER. For some it might be going to movies. For others, its travel. For many it’s simply binge watching murder/mystery television shows on the couch on Friday night. Some enjoy working out together. Some love working the yard together. Some enjoy long walks with deep talks, while others enjoy big gatherings with loud distractions.
Here’s 2 questions to ask.
1. What do you LOVE to DO TOGETHER?
2. What keeps you from doing it daily? weekly? monthly?
After you answer those questions – start today. Do what you love to do together as often as you can for as long as God will let you!
Most women reading this will assume I’m talking about emotional connect, and most men reading this will HOPE I’m talking about SEX! Well, you’re both right.
Emotional intimacy and physical intimacy go hand in hand with fostering ONENESS in your marriage. God gave us the most beautiful gift of a man and women joining together physically for the purpose of emotional connection, pleasure, and procreation. That sounds pretty unexciting – but, Greatest. Gift. Ever.
I wish I could give you a 3-step process to increasing intimacy in your marriage – however there’s only one thing that can do it.
Trust is the key to intimacy. To whatever degree of mistrust that exists between you and your spouse, intimacy will be lacking. If you don’t trust your spouse to care when you share your soul, you’re struggling with emotional connection at home. If your spouse is manipulative and leverages the promise or rejection of physical touch for personal interests, your sex life is struggling.
The path to intimacy is TRUST. Trust is GIVEN and EARNED. You must take a step to trust your spouse more and more each day and know that this trust will grow. When trust grows, physical and emotional intimacy will also grow.
Communication. Leisure. Intimacy.
Three practical things you can do today to foster ONENESS in your marriage.