Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and while many may feel it’s just another day, I would like to challenge couples to some relationship enrichment. Communication is a cornerstone of a healthy, committed relationship but can also be a major challenge. Research suggests that couples spend less than 15 minutes a week, truly sharing with their spouse/partner. It is important to find ways to set aside time and connect with your partner in order to deliberately nourish your relationship and maintain a satisfying marriage.
In doing some research for this article, I found the following quiz, “How well do you know them now?” from Susan Vogt. This is a great way to identify ways to connect with your partner. So, take it by yourself and then give a copy to your spouse/partner to do the same. Take some time to share with them about the answers and see what you learn about one another!
1. How much money would I spend without consulting my spouse first?_____
2. If I could buy anything, what would it be? My spouse?
3. What is my favorite place to go out to eat? My spouse’s?
4. If I could vacation anywhere on earth, where would it be? My spouse’s?
5. What is my favorite movie? My spouse’s?
6. What is my favorite reading material or book? My spouse’s?
7. What is my favorite time of day? My spouse’s?
8. What makes me laugh? My spouse?
9. Household chores I despise. My spouse’s?
10. My favorite thing to wear. What’s my spouse say I look good in?
11. What do I think we disagree about the most? What does my spouse think?
12. What is my favorite “pig out” food? My spouse’s?
13. What is my favorite leisure activity? My spouse’s?
14. My favorite expression is… My spouse’s?
Communication is the foundation of a healthy relationship however, sometimes we forget to take time to really remember and respect our spouse’s/partner’s opinion. Treat yourself to a little devoted time to really talk. Use some or all of the above questions to get you started! Maybe, then you can carve out a few minutes of every day, for an e-mail or text to let your spouse know that you are thinking of them. Marriage is a lifetime process that demands many skills. Understanding, listening, decision making, negotiation, conflict management and communication are the basis for a lasting journey together.
Author: Melinda Hill, FCS Educator, OSU Extension Wayne County
Reviewed by: Carmen Irving, Healthy Relationships Program Specialist, OSU Extension FCS Administration
Spending Time Together (working paper) David Fein, Abt Associates, Inc, September 2009
Susan Vogt, Author, Speaker, Coach, 523 E. Southern Ave. : Covington, KY
Bill Doherty, Take Back Your Marriage