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A little while ago, I was in a counseling session with a pre-marital couple and it was quite interesting!! The young woman said that she was upset because her fiancé wanted to read wine magazines rather than talk about her problems from that day. The young man said, “well, guys don’t listen – that’s what girlfriends are for”.
Knowing I needed to correct faulty thinking, I looked at the young man and said: “You’re only partially right ~ most guys don’t listen as much as most girlfriends. HOWEVER, there are some guys who are really good listeners. And, if you want to be the husband of your wife’s dreams, you will want to become your wife’s BEST GIRLFRIEND by listening to her. You have a choice, young man. You can neglect to listen to your wife, and she will respect and love you less and find someone else to listen to her (and you’d better pray it’s not a caring man who has eyes for your wife). Or, you can learn to listen to her, and she will grow to respect you and love you like you desire. So, which path makes the most sense?”
Over the years, Cindy and I have discovered that most couples fall into an unhealthy pattern where they are not talking to each other in a meaningful way on a daily basis. If you are like most couples, you are yearning for a technique and time to enhance your communication with your spouse.
Cindy and I have developed a routine that we call the “Past / Present / Future”. Basically, you spend time every night asking each other the following questions: First, “How was your day?” This constitutes the first part (“Past”) of the three-part process. We can spend 30 seconds on this item – or, at times, we’ll spend a whole hour as we debrief about something important that went on in the day. Second, “How can I pray for you?” This represents the second part (“Present”) of the three-part process. If you are looking to ignite intimacy, knowing what your partner needs prayer for is a great start. Third, “What are we doing over the next few days?” This is the last and final part (“Future”) of the routine. In this segment, we talk about the logistics of our next few days and then plan the “fun” things we’d like to do over the coming few days (like dates !!).
With regard to the time, Cindy and I have developed a routine that has worked really well for us. Basically, at 9:30 pm, we both stop what we are doing and find each other for an hour of time together. We go through the Past/Present/Future, and then, if there is time, we do something fun.
It takes a little focus and energy to make it work every night. But, when you really think about it, what is more important than time with the most important person in your life? I think it’s really true that the young man’s choice is our choice as well — choose well !!
If you’d like further hints on how to make this work, e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call me at 802-6604. I’ve love to help you take some strides in that direction.
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