Marriage is said to be a three-stranded cord, a covenant between us, our spouse and God. The funny thing is God is the only strand that’s sure to remain the same. When we said those wedding vows, we promised to love each other well, even as we constantly change and grow. That’s why maintaining an attitude and practice of discovery is essential for a thriving marriage. Today, I’d like to offer just a bit of what my husband and I have learned over these past 12 years of imperfect, but thriving marriage. Here are five practices that have helped us stay in discovery mode with each other as we navigate marriage from season to season.
5 Ways to Rediscover Your Spouse Over and Over
1. Daily Debrief
Okay, debrief sounds kind of stuffy, but this is about as informal as it gets for us. We enjoy this practice every evening to wind down and it’s truly become refreshing to us both. This is where we discuss anything and everything that’s on our minds and hearts that day. We talk about what we did, something beautiful we saw, something funny the kids said, or a song on the radio that made us cry. Anything is fair game. The goal is to simply cultivate a habit of sharing in life together.
It’s also a space where we touch base about anything from our schedule, budget, or decisions that need to be made. Covering those seemingly minor details can go a long way to minimize miscommunication, preventing a snowball of stress and frustration. Truly, practice makes progress with this habit. It may take some diligence (and forgiveness), but is so worth the effort.
2. Open-Ended Questions
Open-ended questions are a wonderful way to intentionally foster a sense of discovery in our marriages. Open-ended questions tend to provoke more fulfilling exchange than “Did you have a good day?” or “Did you get that project done at work like you hoped?” For us, our conversation went to new places when we learned to say, “Tell me about your day.” Or “What are your hopes for our weekend?”
“Double-clicking” – I first heard this term in a business training many years ago. It stuck with me and is essentially asking a question based on answers. It’s active listening at it best. Consider this example.
Me: Hey honey, tell me about your day.
Him: It was good. I had those two meetings this morning and then I was extremely busy, but productive the rest of the day. I still need to prepare for my meeting with management on Tuesday.
Me: What would you like to see come about as a result of that meeting? Best case scenario? (This is double-clicking. Let’s take it a little farther.)
Him: Well, I’d like to …