Recently, I was clearing out/organizing the notes in my phone and found this brilliant little excerpt from a marriage book I read years ago. It’s relevant to so many of us in this community, so I wanted to share it exactly as written:
“Are you aware of the two most critical times for communication between a husband and wife? These involve just four minutes. One is the first four minutes of the day that you see one another and the other is the first four minutes when you’re reunited at the end of the day. These eight minutes can set the tone for the day as well as the evening. This is a time where you can share your love and interests and affirm one another, or this can be a time full of angry, griping, critical, attacking comments.
Examine the patterns you’ve established in your marriage. Do you say the same things to each other morning after morning and evening after evening? Think about the way you’ve responded to each other each morning for the past week and compare your responses with the following:
Are you a silent partner?
“Don’t expect me to talk until I’ve had my third cup of coffee.”
Are you a commander?
“Okay, we have ten minutes to get into the kitchen. I want scrambled eggs, crisp bacon, and half a grapefruit. Come on, come on, get up. You take a shower first. Then I’ll….”
Are you an efficiency expert?
“You know, Joe, I tell you every morning, if you’d wake up at seven instead of seven-thirty, you’d have five minutes for your hot shave, seven minutes to shower, six minutes to shine your shoes, eight minutes to dress, and four minutes to comb your hair. Then you could come to the kitchen just as I’m putting the eggs on the table. Now, why don’t you listen? I tell you this every morning.”
Now think about what you actually want in the morning? Closeness and intimacy or quiet and privacy? Have you ever shared with one another what works best for you? Some are morning people, some aren’t.
The second most important time of the day impacts what happens the rest of the evening. How you interact at this time can determine where you spend the evening… at the North Pole or on the warm sands of a Hawaiian beach. So, what happens between the two of you? Is it a time of factual reports about the news, the weather, the kids’ misbehavior, or other bad news? Is it a time of silence and grunts?
Some spouses complain that the family dog gets more attention than they do. And it may be true. Dogs are talked to, caressed, patted; they get their ears rubbed and their backs and chins scratched. Not a bad way to greet your partner! Touching, asking feelings questions, expressing delight in seeing the other person, should make the evening better.
Greet your spouse after a period of being separated (even if only for a few hours) with a smile, pleasant talk such as a happy greeting, touching and kissing, a compliment, humor, or recounting one of the day’s interesting or “success” experiences.”
If you’re taking notes, write this down…
Communicate positively within the first four minutes of the day and the first four minutes in the evening with:
- expressing delight in seeing them
- telling a success story
I hope you can break unhealthy habits (even if they’ve been going on for decades) and implement this one quick tip for a happy marriage!