If you missed our Instagram Live this afternoon, we just launched a bold and exciting challenge! We’re calling it the 30 Day Naked Conversations Challenge, and we’re inviting all couples, married or not, to join us in better connecting with your significant other. Every day, we’ll share to our Instagram story a question, which we’re pulling from the book 365 Connecting Questions for Couples, that is meant to spark conversation, and every day we challenge you to have a conversation with your partner about that question. If you’ve heard of the challenges to have sex every day for a month, this is the emotional connection cousin of that! If that sounds amazing, keep reading! If that scares you out of your mind, absolutely keep reading!
Raise your hand if you’re an engaged couple and it feels like all of the conversations lately with your fiance have been solely focused on wedding planning. Or raise your hand if you’re married, newly even, and feel like you’ve gotten into a routine with your spouse. When was the last time you got curious about why you felt a certain way, or why your partner did something that bothered you? It’s so easy to fall into a “negotiated order” or regular routine with your partner. We do it without even realizing it! He said he would always unload the dishes after she cleans and loads the dishwasher, but he always fails on his commitment, so she just does it now. Or she always reacts a certain way when he makes a certain innocent comment, and though it may be unhealthy, no one is really hurt so you both just accept that as how she is. Even if you feel great about your relationship, when was the last time you got emotionally naked with your partner? We’re so good at stuffing things down or passing over things because “it’s just not worth fighting about” or you’re happy and you don’t want to talk about something you might feel differently about.
When was the last time you got
emotionally naked with your partner?
When we tell people we work together as a husband and wife team, we’re usually met with some version of “oh, I could never work with my husband/wife.” Most of the time, what they really mean is that there’s likely some sort of conflict or difference of opinion that they might have to come face to face with if they did work together, which they’d rather not deal with. Again, it’s the “it’s just not worth fighting about” mentality. It might not even be fighting, it could just be a differences of personalities or opinion that you’ve avoided talking about. While we absolutely are not “there yet” (whatever that may mean for you), Lindsey and I are thankful we get to work together, because it forces us to deal with these things and dig into our issues! So yes, working together does naturally give rise to conflict, but it forces us to fix it and have a deep level of connection if we want to win in our marriage and business, which we’re grateful for! Because regardless of how often you’re around each other, a lack of emotional connection will lead to a stale relationship.
If this makes you a little uncomfortable, or if this seems even impossible, that’s the perfect place to start! Push into that, don’t run from it. Get curious about why. Why am I hesitant to connect more with the person I love most in the world? What fears do I have about this? (See Tim Ferris’ TED Talk on fear – this could be another great exercise to do with your significant other). These triggers are always a sign of something underneath the surface that’s worth exploring. It may feel awkward at first, but push through! Asking good questions and listening to your partner is absolutely a skill that must be developed like any other. So make some time every night before you go to sleep or wake up a little earlier each morning to talk about each question. It can even be done over the phone on the way to work! We’ll post them on our Instagram story every morning, and the first one is up now! To close, I’ll leave you with the seven tips from the book that they recommend keeping in mind as you go through the questions. We look forward to growing this month with you!
- Limit distractions. Don’t be your phone or watching TV while you talk. Be fully present with your partner during this time.
- Watch your body language. Our body language conveys so much of how we’re feeling that we don’t often communicate verbally, so take note of it just as much as what’s being said.
- Listen with empathy. Like I said earlier, listening is a skill that must be developed, so listen intently without thinking about what you’re going to say next.
- Keep an open mind. Listen and keep an open mind to what your partner is saying. Be aware of any judgements or assumptions that come up.
- Don’t interrupt. Interrupting tells your partner that you don’t care about what they’re saying or says that you think you’re more important. Listen.
- Watch out for triggers. Anxiety, fear, blushing, hands shaking, etc can be symptoms of something triggering you. Dig deeper into that. Get curious.
- Use “I” statements. Rather than saying “That was confusing,” which casts judgement on what the other just say, say “I felt very confused by that.”