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Thursday, November 14, 2013

6 ways to stay TUNED IN to your spouse

I started reading this book, Fall In Love For Life, and I've been excited about it.  I will be sharing more things from this, but one thing she says deals with affairs and also with tuning in to your partner.
On having affairs  
"Some people have affairs because they tell themselves that they deserve more attention than they get at home. Or maybe they get annoyed because they feel that all of their needs aren't getting met by their partner. Well, whoever told them that one person could meet their every need? You can actually live quite comfortably without having all of your needs met. Try thinking about it that way; you might be surprised how liberating it is. You are not perfect, and neither is your partner, but you can make a very pleasant life together if you are both serious about providing the love and support that go along with a marriage."

I do believe it's true that we can't be expected to meet EVERY need of our spouse, but we need to remember that as human beings, we NEED TO FEEL LIKE SOMEONE CARES about us.  And I believe that so many affairs could be prevented if both spouses felt like their partner was truly TUNED IN to them.  
Cutie Cooper also says : On tuning in to your partner
"I think the place where good marriages break down is when one or both parties begin to take the other person for granted. And yet it's understandable that this happens. Life is complicated and can be exhausting, so there is always a temptation when you get home to just tune out, because home is one place where you should feel safe enough to let your guard down this way. But there's a difference between relaxing and disengaging, and while relaxing is a healthy way to recharge your psychic and spiritual batteries, disengaging is a drain on you and your relationships. Nothing is more important than that you recognize the difference and stay present for all the people you love."  

I teared up a little when I read that because that is one BIG mistake that I have made over the years.  I would DISENGAGE from my husband without even knowing it.  I thought I was listening, but I wasn't always fully PRESENT. I'm a busy person!

My husband does NOT blame me for his affair, but as we go to therapy we talk about feelings and he has often felt that I don't care about him or anything he has to say or that I'm not interested.  I was flabbergasted!! Of course I CARE and am INTERESTED.  But because I wasn't fully tuning in and engaging, I gave him the impression that I didn't REALLY care. 
And all it took was for another woman to pay attention to him and it made him feel good and things went downhill from there. :(


1.  STOP AND LISTEN : When your partner starts to talk about something, STOP whatever it is you're doing or thinking and LISTEN!  No matter what it could be a joke he read out of the reader's digest.  The point IS that he is talking to you because he wants to connect and while the joke might not seem important, it is important to HIM or he wouldn't be sharing! So LISTEN and ENGAGE!  It's an opportunity to connect with who you love.

2.  EYE CONTACT : From "The Art of Manliness Blog", he says that "eye contact shows attention and creates an intimate bond.  It shows the speaker that you're tuned in to what he's saying and it creates moments where you are really able to feel what he is feeling and it leaves the receiver of your gaze feeling more positive about your interaction and CONNECTED to you".   As we go through therapy, the counselor always makes sure we are looking at each other when trying to convey our feelings. It works!!  You are also less likely to be angry or yell at your spouse if you are sitting across from them looking into their eyes.

3.  BE HONEST : If you get distracted and really can NOT listen, then kindly stop him and let him know you want to hear the rest of it, but to give you a minute or something.  The worst thing I've done is to sort of half listen because I didn't want to be rude and I couldn't stop what I was doing.  But when I would do that, I missed something he said or sometimes couldn't even remember it later! That makes the other person feel like you didn't really care what they had to say.

4.  BE INTERESTED I love how Danielle said it from her blog "Fancy Little Things" : "Get excited about the things they get excited about!  If it isn’t necessarily your ‘cup of tea’, so what!  Try a sip!  You may just like it."  I am telling you, I found this to be true!  After I found out about the affair and I dropped many of the things that were keeping me occupied, all I wanted to do was be with him and it just so happened to be football season, so I sat with him while it was on, even though I didn't really care for it and never have.  He is a huge fan of a certain team and he would tell me about the players and explain the game to me and who would have EVER thought, but I BECAME A FAN TOO! And now I really do enjoy watching.  Do I have to watch EVERY sports game? No, but I enjoy keeping up with the team that he loves. And I love to watch him get excited to tell me about it.  I feel good that he knows he can come to me and I'm interested.

5.  ASK QUESTIONS : Don't always let him be the one to come to you.  Beat him to it and ask him how his day was and then follow all the suggestions above. ;)   Going above and beyond  would be to ask questions about something he's previously talked about...FOLLOW UP on something he was working on the day before or a problem he might have been working through, etc. 

6. GO TO BED AT THE SAME TIME : Ok, so this might be a hard one and it might not be able to be done every night.  But this MUST happen at least a few times a week.  Our days are so busy that realistically there is probably no time to TALK until you are both laying in bed at the end of the day.  It's strange how just laying there together can spark conversation about things you didn't even know you might talk about.  I can't emphasize how important this one is.  Start now!

This might seem like a lot. Just remember that as long as you're making a conscious effort, you'll be just fine.  It also needs to work on both ends.  So if you are the one that feels like your partner doesn't care, you can sit down with them, make eye contact and share your feelings and maybe even share this post. ;) 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Recently have been dealing with saving my marriage from an affair and I agree with this! Especially the part about going to bed at the same time. We're all busy and we do need to connect with our spouses. It seems like the easiest way to to talk before going to bed. It's one of the few times there are no interruptions. We like to talk when we first wake up, too.