Connect First


You come home from work and it’s your spouse’s day to cook dinner. It’s later than usual and dinner hasn’t been started. The TV is on in the lounge room and you can see the warm glow and some shoes as you walk through the house to put your things down.

You’re a little furious, to be honest. And possibly hangry.
Why isn’t dinner on?
How could they be so lazy?
We can’t afford to get take out again this week!
And it’s not going to do my waistline any favours.
Don’t they know I’m trying to be healthier?!

You storm in. “Hey, how come dinner isn’t on?! It’s your night. We talked about it this morning! You can be so lazy! We can’t do takeout again this week or I’m going to need to buy new clothes!…”

You pause. Your spouse is sitting there looking back at you, tears welling in their eyes. Terribly crap day. They didn’t have the capacity to deal with dinner AND their big, emotional day.

You realise and slowly sit down. “Babe… I’m so sorry, I didn’t realise… What happened?” They begin to unpack the events of the day. Your heart is going out to them. You feel terrible that you stormed in guns blazing. Today was a hard day for them and you didn’t take the brief moment to ask first. You assumed a lot of things. And you acted before connecting.

After a bottle of wine, some cheaper take out and a block of chocolate you’re feeling close again. Your spouse opened up and debriefed their day. You were able to listen and ask questions and really understand better how they’re feeling about not just their job but life in general. You were able to inject a bit of humour and you both laughed more than you expected to. It was nice. A moment where you felt very connected to one another. You both felt understood and heard and loved. And the laughter was super therapeutic and really lightened the moment.

Connection is like oil to your relationship. Like… lubricant. Everything flows better, is less abrasive, more warm and fun when you’re connected. Connecting feels good. There’s laughter, playfulness, a healthy level of inappropriateness and loads of joy. There’s depth, vulnerability and openness. Plus friendship, kindness, generosity and love.

Connecting is the best way for us to begin. Every time. All of the times. When we seek to connect before we correct we are valuing the person more than the principle. And we get the opportunity to show love rather than just restate our preference more loudly. We prevent offence, learn more about our spouse and understand the importance of timing.

But connecting can take work. It often begins with light conversation about the day or how they’re going or simply about a schedule thing for example. But connection is looking for the on-ramp to depth and love. We don’t want to stay in the shallow waters all the time. We need to connect deeply so we can love deeply.

Connecting shouts unconditional acceptance and approval. And this cycle of openness and acceptance leads to greater depth of understanding and connection through your whole marriage.

Intimacy venn diagram. First: Connect.

Connection is one of the 3 primary areas to build intimacy in your marriage. I talk about it more in my new book!

The Happy Marriage is a guidebook to building intimacy that is short enough that even I would read it. Packed with helpful wisdom and practical questions and solutions in every area.

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