Maximize Your Marriage: Listen

Chris and I are celebrating 12 years of marriage this week, and we recently sat down to discuss what we do that works (with many thanks to the veterans who are helping us along the way.) This week I’ll share three key ways we try to maximize our marriage for our personal development, our childrens’ benefit, and for God’s glory.

Invest time to talk it out.  No matter what it is.  Over time, as you clear your hearts with each other, you learn how the other person thinks.  You can ask them questions to help them process what’s going on and notice patterns, areas of concern, and areas of improvement or growth.  (Chris is gifted in this area; me…not so much. I’m learning by watching him, and the experience of his great listening is something I want to be able to give back to him and to others.)

Talking (and taking time to listen) about the big and small things truly matters to us.  Here are some of the small things that have been enough of an issue over the years that we needed to find a solution to keep things rolling smoothly.  If we’d not discussed them, I think they could’ve caused a lot of frustration.

* Our barking dog, Maggie.  (She’s cute but can ruin the home office experience in two shakes of an excited puppy’s tail.)
* Whether to have company stay over during a particularly stressful season of life.
* How to develop responsibility in our kids (an ongoing discussion)
* Determining when I could get time alone every week after being home with toddlers while Chris was at work
* Establishing an exercise and healthy eating regime to agree on and pursue together
* Taking time to dream (more on that later this week.)
* Setting a cap on our grocery budget so as not to dip into our allotted date money each month

Knowing Chris will turn his heart and ear towards me (without belittling what’s on my mind) means I have hope for a solution that will energize me in serving my family.  How can you listen better to your spouse?



4 Responses to “Maximize Your Marriage: Listen”

  1. Brian Swain August 20, 2012 at 10:51 am #

    Dana: Thanks for sharing this information. You make some excellent points that I hope to incorporate into my marriage of now 23 years. There is often tension between my wife and I particularly in regard to our oldest (teenage) son. My wife often chooses to internalize things and this leaves me to imagine what she is thinking which greatly frustrates me. When we do get to talk about stressful matters, I often find out that what I was imagining was not as bad as the truth, but it does reinforce in me the need to have ongoing dialogue about this fine and important points. Hopefully, she and I can do a better job of coming together on a regular basis to ensure our marriage stays healthy.

    • Dana Byers August 20, 2012 at 8:27 pm #

      Congratulations on 23 years of marriage, Brian! That’s amazing. You make a good point that we can often imagine something to be worse than it truly is. Thanks for chiming in!

  2. Meghan Cross August 20, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    Congratulations on 12 years, Dana and Chris! I love you both and enjoyed reading this article. I enjoy reading about healthy marriages; it gives me good things to keep mind. So thanks for sharing! Hugs. :)

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