It’s amazing how we can so easily neglect our most valued priorities. Case in point: communication between spouses. We all know how important it is. It’s what keeps us close and our relationship growing.
But there’s nothing like the busyness of everyday life to reduce our communication to nothing except the functional necessities.
A simple, 15-30 minute daily routine can counter that tendency and keep you and your spouse updated and feeling connected.
Gail and I refer to it as “couch time”. We first heard of it many years ago from pastor and author, Gary Ezzo. It was a game-changer for us during those years. With five children at the time under seven years of age, we had plenty to keep us distracted. Couch time became a much-needed oasis for us every day when I came home from work.
The concept of couch time is simple: set aside 15-30 minutes at the end of the work day when you reunite back home for undistracted conversation. Simple to understand yet takes a bit of resolve to make a daily reality.
Here’s how you can establish this daily routine today:
- Make the commitment together. This works best when both spouses are committed to making this a priority. Talk through how you would walk this out, where you’ll meet, for how long, etc. The following will help you plan.
Set the tone. When you both reconvene at home at the end of the work day, take a few minutes to shift gears mentally. Disengage from the cares of the day for a moment. Greet one another with a kiss. Hug the kids and take a couple minutes to get the high points of their day. Let them know you’re looking forward to hearing more about all of it at the dinner table. Hang up your coat, get comfortable, change clothes if you want.
Set up your distraction-free zone. Make this time sacred and protected from distractions as much as possible. Train your kids to respect this time of yours together. Set them up in a play area or with a video and remind them you are not to be interrupted unless someone is hurt or has an immediate, unresolvable issue. Charge them with the responsibility to take care of each other and not fuss with each another. You and your spouse put your phones down and head off to the couch or whatever space you choose to talk. If you need to talk while making dinner, that can work as well.
Talk while giving undivided attention. Staying connected means both updates on the day’s events and your feelings about them. (Guy alert: yes, men, I said feelings. She needs for you to hear how she feels and bonus points is you can get even close to doing the same.) Make this easy by learning to keep a list throughout the day of things your spouse would appreciate knowing.
Set a time to reconvene if necessary. Sometimes news of the day is bigger than can be discussed fully in this timeframe. Or a challenge may need more problem-solving later. That’s okay. Choose to at least address it now, then decide when you’ll discuss it further such as after the kids go to bed.
There are numerous benefits to this simple yet powerful daily routine:
- It keeps you both current on anything important or interesting to the other.
- It allows you to feel more connected as partners in all aspects of life together.
- Your kids will gain greater security in knowing you have a strong relationship.
- Your example will be a model for your kids to follow when married.
These times together shouldn’t be the only times you have during the week for deeper meaningful conversation. But by making it a daily routine, you are declaring to your spouse and your kids that your marriage is important enough to prioritize this level of communication and togetherness.
Question: How do you and your spouse carve out time for undistracted conversation each day? Share your answer in the comments below.