Mark and I have been reading a book together called Your Spouse Isn’t The Person You Married: Keeping Your Love Strong Through Life’s Changes by Paul and Teri Reisser. Today’s Marriage Monday is focused on staying connected to your spouse during the changes that life brings.
When I first picked up the Reisser’s book, I was fascinated by the title alone. What does it mean that your spouse isn’t the person you married? It didn’t take too long for me to understand what the Reisser’s provocative title meant. Here’s an explanation in their own words:
“The person lying beside you in bed night after night, year after years, is not the same individual who stood with you at the altar on your wedding day. Everyone changes. Everyone’s worldview evolves because we are thinking, emotional creatures. It’s naive and foolish to believe that the views, opinions, and values held by you or the person you married were cast in concrete on your wedding day.” (pg 32)
What an incredible concept, but one that many married couples don’t really comprehend…including us. While I understood the concept personally, I’d never considered the implications that it had for our marriage.
The Reisser’s believe that couples need to not only have date nights where they enjoy each other’s company, but that they should also have intentional “checking in” time where they talk about what they are thinking, feeling, and discovering. This is a weekly time to “download” your thoughts and feelings with your spouse.
Here’s the Reisser’s perspective in their own words,
A wise spouse understands the critical importance of creating a scheduled and protected space on the calendar for the sole agenda of allowing the other person an opporunity to put into words what is currently incubating in the heart and mind. (pg 32)
This is something Mark and I discovered on our own last fall when we received the gift of a portable hot tub for two months. Each night we would sit out in the hot tub and talk and talk and talk. This was an important part of us navigating our career transition last fall. We talked, shed tears, listened to each other’s hearts, extended forgiveness, and made plans for the future.
We learned the value of “downloading” and we experienced a deeper intimacy in our relationship than we had in a long time.
As Jill was reading parts of this book aloud to me one night we both realized that what the Reisser’s are proposing is EXACTLY what we experienced last fall. We didn’t have a name for it, but we knew it made a difference!
We have found that “checking in” is an extremely valuable part of our relationship. And honestly, we try to do it even more often than once a week (more about our “checking in” strategy in next week’s Marriage Monday!).
We highly recommend this book. It’s full of just the right amount of wit to keep you entertained and a great amount of wisdom to keep the intimacy alive in your marriage.
Here are some questions the Reisser’s suggest for “checking in” time:
1. What was the best thing that happened to you this week?
2. What was the worst thing?
3. How did I best meet your needs this week?
4. How did I least meet your needs this week? (Be careful: Don’t become defensive when you hear the answer. Just listen!)
5. What could I have done differently in that situation that would have been more helpful for us?
6. What are you the most worried about right now?
7. Is there any way I can help you with that concern?
8. What are you feeling right now?
If you don’t have much time, the Reisser’s say that questions 6 and 7 are the most important with #7 being the absolute most important question. (pg 41)
So what about you? Have you found a way to have regular time to “download” with your spouse? Would you consider putting some “checking in” time on your weekly calendar?