I function best when my relationships are clean and strong, especially with my wife. When my relationships aren’t in sync, life gets hectic, and I begin to unravel.
So the question is, how do we keep the most vital relationship we have, the one with our spouse as strong and tight as it can be, as it needs to be?
It boils down to one word, communication.
Here’s the rub, I don’t like to talk. Let me clarify. I don’t mind talking, I simply have an allergic reaction to small talk or chit-chat. Listening to conversations about gas prices or the weather puts me in a coma.
It’s been said women speak up to 20,000 words a day and men speak in the neighborhood of 7,000 words a day. I’m not sure how true this statement is, but based on the word flow around my house; it seems pretty accurate.
Houston, we have a problem
Communication being vital, and me not wanting to participate created an obstacle that needed to be overcome if staying married was the goal…and it was. My wife Megan and I needed to be able to talk about issues, concerns and life together in a way that wouldn’t cause me to shut down.
I needed a way to add value and come alive in our conversations without being drawn down emotionally. Sitting on couches across from each other in our living room, notepads in hand, talking about feelings, hopes and disappointments was a definite no go.
Not having important conversations wasn’t an option, I needed to create a way Megan and I could connect. A healthy marriage revolves around how well a couple communicates and we just needed to figure out a solution that would work for us.
Time for a road trip
Luckily we did find a solution, and it’s been working for the last 18 years and counting. It’s simple and, believe it or not, it’s fun.
Every six months or so Megan and I jump in the car, just us, no kids. We take a road trip together, and we drive and talk. Really talk. We created a list for ourselves with topics key to the health of our relationship. We go through the list and discuss how we’re currently feeling as well as how each area can improve.
Taking our Relationship Road Trips has been a great way to initiate conversations that aren’t always easy to have, but are vital to creating and maintaining a happy marriage.
Our personal topics cover:
- Health and Fitness levels
We always come away closer after talking, even when the topics get a little tense, and trust me at times they have.
No, not lunch. The lettuce in our bank account, in other words, money. One thing we don’t cover in this particular list is our finances, at least not in depth. Money or the lack of tends to come up within some of our categories and we briefly talk about it when it does.
But be careful, money can overshadow the rest of the conversation you need to have in your relationship. The money talk is a big one, an important one. It does need to be a regular and ongoing conversation but in my opinion it should be separate from this talk.
Your Relationship Road Trip
If you’re looking for a better way to connect with your spouse, this may help. It’s worked great for me, and I think it will do the same for you. To keep it simple I created a downloadable PDF with all of our questions and tips on how to make this work for you. It can live on your phone, iPad or you can simply print it out.
Personally, I’m a fan of printing it out, putting it in an envelope and placing it in the glove box of both our cars. That way when the time is right, I have everything I need to get my talk on.
Give it a try, you have nothing to lose.
If it makes the same impact for you as it has for me, then make this commitment. Every six months set aside a day or an afternoon to take a road trip together and talk.
Don’t make it extravagant, you don’t need to drive to a different state or consume days of your time. A simple lunch date to the next town, a drive to the coast or the mountains. Just a few hours together, no kids, just you and your spouse in the car driving and talking.
Make it a fun day, something you look forward to doing together. Your relationship will be the better for it.
Here’s your own Relationship Road Trip PDF, and it’s free.