Do you want to feel more connected with your spouse when you talk? I recently attended a meeting for Better Together, a new marriages strengthening organization based in Hamilton County near Indianapolis. Marriage and Family Therapist Missy Irvin provided these simple but meaningful tips, developed by The Marriage Resource Center in Dayton, Ohio, on how to keep a sense of connectedness with your spouse. (And no, RINGS chats are not about jewelry.)
Irvin acknowledged that it can often be challenging to have real talks, not just discussing who will do what in your household. So, here’s a little acronym to help you remember how to infuse your talks with a better connection:
R stands for real emotions—Know how you feel first, and take time for yourself if you need it. You don’t always have to say “fine” when your partner asks how you’re doing. He or she can’t read your mind. If you’re overwhelmed, lonely or tired, say so.
I stands for Intentions/Information—Ask your spouse why they feel the way they do. Don’t shut them down by saying, “You shouldn’t feel that way.” This only causes people to stuff their feelings rather than share them.
N stands for needs—Express yourself in terms of “this is what I need from you.” Rather than making a honey-do list of chores, it may help to explain why you need help in a particular area.
G stands for grateful—Each of you state what you are grateful for. This helps you get outside of the negativity and stop focusing on the things you may perceive are going wrong.
S stands for someday—Don’t forget to dream together about the future.
Thanks to Better Together for the insights. I’ll be speaking at the group’s February 13 meeting. If you’re in the area, let me know and I’ll send you details, or check out their web site to register.
Photo by Ambro courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net.