We were all seated in my living room, the four of us. Every week we meet and share our lives with each other. The kids run around mad while we pray, discuss the book we’re reading, and hold one another accountable in the faith.
One of the girls casually mentioned her desire to have meaningful conversation with her spouse. She also shared how hard it is to actually have opportunity for quality conversation. In mere minutes, all of us had shared the same the struggle.
When you are a parent, it’s rare to have undisturbed quality time with your husband. For my husband and I, we try to go out on a date at least once a month. One thing I’ve noticed though, is how hard it is to not spend our date talking about the kids or other life responsibilities. Talk seems to frequently center around the details of life. “Can you take him to the doctor for me?” “All the light bulbs are out in the kitchen, can you take care of that this week?” “Did you remember to pay the power bill?” “Have you called your mom to make sure we can come over for the holiday?” Etc., etc. Before we know it, our date is over and we didn’t really talk.
The only way to have meaningful conversation with our spouses is to be intentional. Life will always get in the way. There will always be crisis to discuss, decisions to be made, and important things to schedule. As much as we would all like for quality conversation to happen organically, sometimes it is helpful to purposefully initiate meaningful, deep, quality conversation with our spouses.
The next time you do have time together without your children, consider a few of these “conversation starters.” Perhaps they will open doors for deeper connection and ultimately a stronger relationship.
1. Choose a book that you will both read. Each time you are on a date or without your children, talk about the book. Discuss what you are learning from it and how it has impacted you.
2. Plan a trip together. Even if it may never happen, it is still fun to share a dream isn’t it?
3. Talk about how you’ve seen God at work in your life recently. How have you seen evidences of his grace? How has your prayer life been? What have you been reading in your personal devotional time? How has the Spirit been convicting your heart?
4. Share personal goals, things you’d like to learn, places you’d like to go, and aspirations you have.
5. Discuss your relationship, how you’d like to see it improve and the steps you can take to do that.
6. Discuss and research a project or new hobby you’d like to do together.
Take the first step. Don’t wait for your spouse to open the door to deeper conversation. Be the one to open it first. If it seems like unfamiliar territory, just open the door a little at first. Each time you have a date, open the door wider for deeper levels of conversation. For some, sharing deeper things about themselves may feel awkward, for others it’s second nature.
As parents, we get too little time alone with our spouses. Date nights are expensive. The kids are always around, making it hard to talk about anything of significance. Use what little time you do have for the health and benefit of your marriage. After all, the kids will grow up before you know it and it’ll be just the two of you again. And when that time comes, you will want your marriage to be about something more than the fact that you are parents together.