We have come a long way in the lines of communication. Today if you want to communicate with someone, even if they are on the other side of the world, you can do it almost instantly. There’s the telephone, email, and instant messaging. If it doesn’t have to be immediate there are even more options, like regular mail, Fed-Ex, social networks (like Facebook), and even telegrams. With all these forms of communicating, you would think communicating with the ones we love would be easy. But here’s the problem: as a society we have begun to depend on these new forms of communicating way too much.
Email isn’t designed for personal communication. It’s designed to share information, but not really to connect with someone. Yet how often do we email our spouses throughout the day, or send them a text message, instead of calling them on the phone? In an email you miss the inflection in the voice, the pauses that add meaning to the conversation.
I’ve already written about how having children can affect the little things in a marriage, and how important date night has become in my own marriage (not only to reconnect with my husband but also just for that recharge to be a better mommy). Restoring that regular verbal communication throughout the day with each other that we had before kids has also made a difference in our relationship.
Kids take up a lot of your time, and it’s easy to go the whole day referring fights, chauffeuring the kids places, and wiping runny noses without taking time to really talk to someone. The same goes if you work; with slews of meetings, deadlines, and working through lunch the whole work day can go by without stopping to talk to your spouse. My husband and I are trying to change that by having regular “talk charges” throughout the day. Put simply a talk charge is a positive verbal interaction that lasts at least one minute. Verbal means you need to either say it to them in person, or use the telephone, no email, text messages, or any of the other high-tech methods of communication that having taken over today.
On the days that I know my husband is in meetings all day I try to at least leave him a few short voice messages scattered over the course of the day for him to listen to. Now here’s the thing, the talk charge shouldn’t be about all the practical day to day things going on… Sure, those are important, too, but they don’t really help you connect. Try something fun, like a joke, or just call to say “I love you”. Share about a dream you had or maybe something you’re considering writing on your blog. The idea is to make several little personal connections throughout the day. Those few minutes can make a big difference in your relationship, and really in the rest of your day. (Who isn’t in a better mood after being told “I love you” or laughing at a silly joke?)
I’d love to take credit for this amazingly simple idea, but actually it was one of the ideas we found when reading Marriage Fitness: 4 Steps to Building & Maintaining Phenomenal Love. The book has a variety of ways and ideas to show your spouse that you love them and how important they are to you. How to have an effective date night and making connections throughout the day with talk charges are just two of them. If you’re looking for other ways to better connect with your spouse, I can also personally recommend the free emails we received from the Marriage Fitness program.
What other relationships can you improve just by picking up the phone instead of sending an email or text message? Give it a try this week; it’s a little change that can make a powerful difference.
I have chosen to begin an affiliate partnership with Marriage Fitness because I truly believe in the book and the teachings in the program and it’s my hope that what my husband and I have learned can help strengthen others’ relationships as well.