I remember back when my husband and I were first dating.
We could talk for hours about anything and everything. Especially when we were living two states away from each other and talking was all we could do. We spent hours on the phone!
Somewhere along the way though, life happened. Two jobs, three kids, a mortgage… Let’s just say we don’t stay up late talking very often anymore. Mama needs her sleep before three little munchkins wake her up bright and early tomorrow morning! And yet, in this season of littles, talking–really talking–is more important ever.
Sure, we may be past the point of trying to determine if the other is a good fit for marriage (He’s definitely a keeper 😉 ), but as time passes, we grow and change, and we have to stay connected so we don’t drift apart. Plus, there’s always more to learn about each other.
So, how long has it been since you and your spouse set aside alllll of the many distractions and just talked about life? The way you used to back when you were dating?
I don’t mean the usual “How was your day?” and “Do you need anything from the store?” but the really heart-revealing conversations that draw you closer and leave you a little vulnerable?
If it’s been a while, it’s time to get in the habit again. And here are five things spouses should talk about — but don’t — to get you started. Enjoy!
1. Your Hopes and Dreams for the Future
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In 10 or 20? What about your spouse? Are your dreams the same or different?
- Do you want to stay home and homeschool your children or pay off all your debt and travel the world?
- Do you want more children? How many and how far apart?
- Do you plan on living in the same place forever or would you like to move? Where to?
- Would you like to eventually resume a hobby you’ve had to put on the back-burner for years or start a charitable organization for a cause that means a lot to you?
- Would you like your family to be more active, spend more time together or be involved in more things?
What would your perfect life look like? (Don’t be afraid to dream big!) Chances are, you talked about these things before you got married, but maybe your answers have changed over the years (mine have!). If so, it may be time to discuss these things again — just to make sure you’re on the same page.
2. How You’re Really Doing
While the minute your husband walks in the door and asks “How was your day?” may not be the best time to unload all of your pent-up struggles and frustrations, you do need to make sure you check in with each other regularly to see how life is really going, beyond just the surface level stuff.
Are you generally happy and fulfilled, or are you stressed-out, overworked and underappreciated? Are you struggling with any sins, temptations or bad habits you can’t seem to break? How are you doing spiritually? Are you Putting God First or have you let your faith fall by the wayside? What worries keep you up at night? What insecurities plague you during the day? Are there any past conflicts gnawing at you that your husband may not even know about? Is there anything you need to share that you have been bottling up?
Conversations like these are definitely NOT easy. They have a huge potential to cause fights and hard feelings, and you often just want to avoid them. But, for the health of your marriage, you just have to be brave and push through. You’ll be better off because of it.
3. Any Weak Spots in the Relationship
Every relationship has its weak spots — what are yours? Maybe you haven’t made sex the priority you should and it’s causing more tension than you realize (if you are just never in the mood, this post may help!). Maybe your work schedule has placed an unfair burden on your family and you need to sit down and talk about it honestly instead of continually brushing it under the rug. Maybe taking care of unruly children or aging parents is really putting a strain on your marriage and you need to figure it out. Maybe your husband can be a jerk, and you’re having a hard time connecting.
Whatever it is – it’s time to sit down and talk about it. Get to the root of the problem – what’s really going on?
What emotions are you both experiencing and what fears or beliefs are hiding under the surface? Take some time to brainstorm — what’s an alternative solution that would be better for everyone involved? If you want to build a strong, divorce-proof marriage, you HAVE to be willing to weed out the less-than-pretty parts of your marriage, see them for what they really are, and find a way to deal with them that works in everyone’s best interest.
4. Stories from Your Past that Shape How You View the World Today
Did your parents’ reckless spending habits leave you with a fear of not having enough savings in the bank? Do memories of an abusive uncle make it difficult for you to truly let your guard down and be vulnerable? Did childhood teasing on the playground leave you feeling like you can never measure up?
Every one of us has stories from the past–both good and bad–that stick out to us and shape our lives and our reactions more than we realize. The good news is, when we share them with our spouses, it allows us to understand each other better, make allowances for each other as necessary, and see ourselves and our lives together in a more accurate light.
If you or your husband aren’t sure what your most telling stories are, that’s okay. Just start talking about memories you have of the past. Ask each other questions. Chances are, you and your spouse will make new connections neither of you had ever realized before.
5. How You Want to Be Remembered When You Die
The way you want to be remembered when you die says a lot about you, how you see yourself, and what things you value most. And, when you know how you and your spouse want to be remembered, you can help set each other up to be those people.
Does your husband want to be known as generous? The next time either of you notices an opportunity to be generous, encourage him to take it, instead of worrying about your own family when there’s no reason to.
Does he want to be remembered as someone who made a real difference? Make sure he has chances to actually make a difference. Even if it means you watch the children by yourself one night a week so he can do something meaningful in addition to taking care of your family, it will mean the world to him. And hopefully, he’ll return the favor!
When is the last time you and your spouse had a really good conversation? What did you talk about?
You can download my Closer Marriage Conversation Cards for 18 deep, intimacy-building questions for couples that will help you increase your communication, intimacy and trust – starting today!