Let's Talk

By Les and Leslie Parrott

A traditional wedding took place. As was customary, elderly couples offered counsel to the newly-weds. One man cleared his throat to speak, but his wife nudged him, so he kept silent. A few seconds later, he tried again, but again his wife bumped him a second time. He tried a third time and received the same response from his wife.

Later the nudging wife asked her husband, “Why didn’t you say anything?”

“I was going to say something, but each time I was about to speak I thought you didn’t want me to.”

“I nudged you three times to get you to speak,” she protested. “What would you have said?”

“I would have spoken to the importance of communication in marriage.”

It’s nearly impossible to exaggerate the importance of communication in marriage, as well as the difficulty it presents for most couples. You’d think we’d find communication easier. After all, 70% of our waking hours are spent either taking in information or giving it out. Yet when it comes to marriage, the biggest communication hurdle is simply finding the time to talk.

Finding time

In a national survey of married couples, researchers found that, on average, we spend less than 3 minutes of meaningful conversation together in a typical day. Busyness deludes us into thinking we’re conversing when we are actually just trying to keep up with the hectic pace of our day. Busy parents often feel more like air traffic controllers than husband and wife.

One of the most common fallacies about not having enough time is that we can “find” it. The truth is, we can only find it by making more time and prioritizing the demands of life.

We may say our marriage is a priority, but that doesn’t matter if we devote our time to everything but our marriage. Here are ways to make more talk time in your relationship.

Slow down

The cure for hurry sickness is simply to slow down. We all know we should slow down, but how? Close your eyes, take a deep breath, put your hand over your heart and feel it beat for about 15 seconds. Something as simple as this can slow you down.

Try not wearing your watch. If you’re really brave, take the clock off the wall – just for a day. You’ll be amazed to discover how tuned in to time you were and how your watch sped up your time more than you realized – especially when you and your spouse are talking. Try to keep the clock from controlling or limiting your time together; set it aside when you’re talking. This exercise can help you slow down, focus and enjoy a meaningful conversation with your spouse.

Good conversation

When you’re relaxing, think of topics to discuss that will enhance your conversations together. You may also want to identify where and when you have your best talks.Is it over a cup of coffee in the morning? At brunch on Saturday? In the car when you are drive together? These are times you want to protect for good conversation.

One more way to eliminate hurry from your conversations is to stop saying “Get to the point.” Such remarks are killers for any time-starved conversation.

Your relationship requires time for talk, and a good conversation simply doesn’t happen while experiencing life at breakneck speed. So obey the speed limit of human connection, take a breather from busyness and reunited your hearts – starting today.

Curing hurry sickness

If you want to improve communication with your spouse, you must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your conversations and take advantage of daily opportunities. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Linger over dinner

  • Enjoy a quiet house when the kids are in bed

  • Turn off the radio when in the car together

  • Turn off the TV when it is on for background noise

(c) 2005

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