Valentine’s Day is over and it’s back to business as usual in marriage. The flowers are wilting, the leftover steak is gone, and the credit card bill is about to arrive. Many couples have experienced that the “sizzle” in their marriage comes and goes; rarely if ever does sexual passion feel constantly strong. Hopefully, it never dies out altogether, but, let’s face it, some seasons in marriage are just sexier than others. (Do I hear an amen from all the moms with new babies out there?)
What can you do during those times in your marriage when passion is just not the priority? When you fall into bed at night so tired you sleep as soon as your head hits the pillow? When a child is sick and another can’t sleep? Or, you have so many work deadlines looming you can’t stop until eleven and are up at dawn to get a head start? As it turns out, there is a lot you can do to keep your spouse a priority, and it’s not complicated. Today, I am going to focus on one.
How you treat each other in daily, seemingly mundane exchanges matters a lot, according to marriage researcher John Gottman, PhD. He found that couples that turn toward each other in small interactions were happier together.
For instance, when you are both browsing the internet on your phone and one of you comments on a sports score, make sure you acknowledge that your partner just spoke to you, even if it’s just a short, “They need to get in the game,” or “Wow!”
This sounds simple, but it can be tempting to just ignore each other in this little exchange, especially if you aren’t into sports. But, if you think of the bigger message ignoring is sending, “You are not important enough for me to stop what I am doing for a second to acknowledge you,” it makes sense.
Be aware of yourself in the next couple days. Are you maintaining a friendship with your spouse though dialogue in the little things each day? If not, make an effort to engage about the weather, the food, what the kids did, the postman dropping off the mail, whatever is going on.
If you are already doing this, know that your faithfulness in the small things is sending a signal to your spouse that you care. Being courteous and respectful throughout the day is tilling the soil for a lifetime of intimacy.