What happens when you take 10 minutes to connect with your spouse everyday? Good things. Good things happen.
We just wrapped up our love experiment for the month- connecting with our spouse for 10 minutes every day. This challenge is based on Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages, specifically the quality time love language.
Time for a re-cap!
Initially we planned on doing our 10 minute connect plan as outlined in this post: 1. talk about the good of the day, 2. talk about the hard of the day, 3. pray, 4. kiss. But honestly, most of the time we just chatted about whatever, which is totally fine.
Confession: This was way harder than I expected it to be! I LOVE talking and being with my husband (I mean my love language IS quality time!), so I was really surprised at how hard it was to make it happen every night. Almost every night without fail when we’d get the kids down, there seemed to be something else compelling that pulled our attention away from each other.
Some nights it was an early bedtime, sometimes it was a project one of us wanted to work on, some nights it was leaving the house to go to book club or to a coffee shop to work on this blog (to advise everyone to spend more time connecting with their spouse- the irony is not lost on me). Many nights it was to be on our phones or turn on a show instead of sitting down and talking.
Whatever it was, the temptation to not connect happened just about every night!
Which made me think that connecting with our spouses is a lot like exercise. Sometimes it seems like a chore at the outset and often it requires our best determination and planning, but we were ALWAYS glad we did it and came out stronger for it.
I remember one night, I went in thinking, “Ok, let’s make this quick, I’ve got x and y and z I still need to get done tonight.” But then we sat down and Rich was in a great mood and we just chatted for over an hour about all sorts of things. And it was wonderful. I didn’t get my to-do list done, but I went to bed so happy and satisfied and with my love tank totally filled.
1 Without planning, this totally wouldn’t have happened.
Continuing on with the exercise analogy- I don’t know about you, but if I’m not SUPER intentional about exercise it simply does not happen (it is currently not happening). If I wait until I’m “in the mood” to exercise, well, I think I’d exercise about once a year. Even though, I’m ALWAYS glad I spent the time and energy to do it once its done.
Maybe a focused time to sit down, look into your spouse’s eyes and just chat and connect happens organically every day for you. If so, good for you! You’re an inspiration! For us, I’ve found it takes scheduling and commitment.
Like all good things, it takes work, but its worth it.
2 Our chatting preferences differ and that’s fine.
We found this month that Rich much prefers working on a project like the dishes or packing (we’re moving next month) together while we chat. It doesn’t feel so formal or structured, so he is more at ease.
For me? As I explained in detail in the ultimate guide to loving a quality time love language spouse– eye contact and focused attention is the name of the game for my love tank. I preferred sitting down and chatting with our full attention on each other.
So we did both. We switched it up. And that was totally fine.
We used this thing called . . . compromise? I’ve heard its good for marriage.
3 Gratitude practice provides a great structure.
We conducted a bit of an experiment within the experiment towards the end of the month. Normally, we ask each other about the good and the bad of our days, but for the last week or so, we switched it up and asked each other just one question: What were three wins of your day?
I wish I could say this idea came from my own noggin, but alas, it did not. I follow the blog Marriage More by Jeff and Mandy Rose and they ask each other this question each and every night and sing its praises on their podcast.
I was curious if it would be better or worse to leave out talking about the “struggles” of our days. And through experimenting, we found out that our daily struggles came out on their own accord at some point anyway (typically right when Rich got home or at dinner), we didn’t need to schedule in their own time in the spotlight 🙂
So the experiment within the experiment was a big success in that it forced us to think through our day and be grateful for at least three things that day (which was sometimes surprisingly hard!). And more gratitude in your life will NEVER steer you wrong. Thanks for the idea Roses!
Here is the official re-cap write up:
I really hope these experiments of ours are inspiring you. I would hate for them to have the opposite effect by causing thoughts like, “Ugh! One more thing I’m failing at.” or “One more thing to do!”
With both experiments so far this year, I’ve been really surprised at how difficult it is to accomplish something that I know is good for me and that I actually ENJOY doing!! So, I get it, its hard.
I guess I just want to make the point that when we work to experiment in our marriage improvement, really every other part of our lives go better.
It’s work. But its the best and most worthwhile kind of work.
So go forth and create your OWN love experiments.
Keep on keeping on lab mates.