Friday, December 29, 2006

Ten Minutes a Day

The Big Dude and I have started something new.

It's very simple. About an hour after I get home from work and the Little Dude has gone to bed, we dedicate ten minutes every evening to talking to each other in a focused way, with the TV, computer, etc off. It can be about anything - how our day was, what we are thinking or feeling, or even just logistical things we need to plan together that week.

I got this idea from my parents' attendance at Marriage Encounter weekend more than two decades ago. Their marriage was going through a particularly bad patch, they went on this encounter weekend and, although I was only ten years old at the time, even I noticed that things did improve quite dramatically for some years. One of the rituals they were supposed to follow after the program was this ten minutes a day.

I think it is helping. As you may know, my Big Dude is the strong and silent type. He is not a great talker. Through our ten minutes, it feels like we are forming a good habit of checking in with each other. In fact, we usually talk for quite a bit more than ten minutes, until the conversation just reaches a natural end.

In the short term, it seems to be helping. In the longer term, well, I am hoping that this will create a window for other conversations to happen when the time is right.


Blogger Desmond Jones said...

Oh goody - spam!

Communication is all to the good, Emily - marriage counselors all emphasize the central importance of communication, and, as part of a long-term happily-married couple, I can testify that it's really true. These little habit-forming things will, hopefully, help you get set up in a pattern that will pay huge dividends down the line.

6:39 AM  
Blogger LBP said...

This is a common fix for marriages, most of them, mine included don't have enough conversation in them. We always notice when we stray from this idea. We try to do it right when I get home. Good for you guys.

7:14 AM  
Blogger Recovering Soul said...

Marriage encounter and Retrouvaille both teach this technique of spending time focusing on each other. It is a worthwhile endeavor!

9:59 AM  
Blogger O272 said...

If my husband talks for 10 minutes about his day, he won't have to hear about mine 'cause I'll be fast asleep by the time he's done! ;)

3:14 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

And, following up on what O has just commented, if my wife should start to snore while I'm recounting my day to her then I have to awaken her because it tends to ruin my train of thought! (evil grin)

5:15 PM  
Blogger Digger Jones said...

10 minutes is a good start. William arley Jr. wanted *hours*, but you do what you can.

I tried various permutations of the idea and there's more than one way to do this. Some couples pray together which accomplishes some of the same things.

Just be mindful of giving adequate "wait time" so he can interject his own thoughts so it isn't a total one-sided thing with you talking the whole time. As long as he's fine with it, it is indeed a good thing.


7:36 PM  
Blogger FTN said...

Hey, I've even suggested (I can't remember where the post is) and tried this 10-minute thing before. Our parenting classes called it "Couch Time."

Of course, I always have tried it, and my wife just doesn't seem as interested. That's probably because I get home from work 4 hours before kids go to bed, and she's quite distracted when the kids are up. She's more than willing to talk to me at other times!

It's great that you both are making that effort.

11:22 AM  
Blogger Wilma's Flint said...

Can't have imtimacy without talk.

Talk about bills, kids, work, doesn't count. Ok it's a start, but it doesn't take the relationship very far.

Pretty soon you don't know who you are anymore, let alone your spouse.

11:37 AM  

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