It all comes down to communication….
If one word could summarise the following list it would be communication. It is not always true that when couples are talking they are communicating. Sometimes, as is the case with many men, they think they are communicating but in fact they are just being present, and even that can be fleeting. The Gottman Institute has carried out hundreds if not thousands of hours of research into why couples divorce and why they stay together.
They then discovered that there are a number of factors that can determine if a relationship is going to make it. This has been borne out in therapy rooms all over the world including Australia. From personal experience as a counsellor hearing the stories of relationships lost I can attest to the Gottman research. New information continues to surface that suggests that these 7 ways to reconnect with your wife are truly life changing.
3. Engage (demand-withdraw)
5. Accept Influence
7. Be Pro-active
It is my firm belief that if you can learn adopt these strategies you will greatly reduce the likelihood of experiencing a separation or worse still, a divorce. That is not all. It is fully expected that you could well be on your way to a fantastic intimate relationship.
What one man didn’t do – A true story:
Some years ago a recently separated man came to therapy. His wife of 18 years had recently and suddenly informed him that the relationship was over. Naturally he was very hurt, confused and angry with his wife for suddenly leaving him.To him it came out of the blue that she up and left with not so much as a “Go to Hell!” No amount of promises to change persuaded her to reconsider and she did not return.
Unfortunately this man’s story is a familiar one. Many men have poured out their hearts and souls to counsellors all over the world in an attempt to understand and make sense of the separation.
Naturally there are signs to look out for when a relationship is heading for trouble but these simple rules can help anyone avoid problems before they start.
My hope is that you at least consider what is outlined below. In fact you could do yourself a favour and involve your better half in the discussion. Reconnect with your wife from today!
How to apply these 7 golden rules?
Rule 1 – Listen!
Listening is more than just being present. Imagine for a moment that you are observing a group of women sitting around a café table and chatting. Watch them talk then listen, talk then listen. In the meantime they are making approving sounds like ‘oh ok’ ‘oh and then what happened?’ They will keep eye contact and nod or make facial expressions that indicate to the other woman that what they are saying is important.
Now imagine for a moment that you are part of the conversation but when it comes to your turn to talk, you must first acknowledge and paraphrase back to them what the previous speaker said, and you must allow them to correct you if you misunderstood. A final word of warning. Do not attempt to offer a solution.
Your wife or partner is not looking for you to solve her problems. She just wants to know that you support her. She needs to know that you are on her side and above all you are present and listening. If she wants you to help her solve a problem she will tell you. Here are a couple of tips to get you started:
- Keep eye contact at all times while talking
- Nod or shake your head in unison with her explanations.
- Say things like: “Wow, what happened then?” “You must have felt terrible” Be sure to make the sounds that indicate you are listening.
Remember listening is very powerful and demonstrates a level of care that is attractive to you spouse.
Rule 2 – Acknowledge her input
Acknowledge her contribution, acknowledge her opinions and acknowledge her input. Acknowledge that she has a valuable contribution to make and that without that contribution you are sunk. Give her space to tell you how she sees things and allow her to influence you. You can say things like “I see your point” “I hadn’t thought to look at it that way”. Both of you will grow in confidence as you have open discussions.
Rule 3 – Engage
When talking to anyone there is always the risk of talking about absolutely nothing and just waffling. I mean you have experienced this when talking with other men right. We tend to just talk crap. You can do this with your wife too but only expect that at some point the conversation will drift to more meaningful stuff. After all, you are in an intimate relationship right? This is where rules 1 and 2 come into play. But now you become more involved in the conversation with a back and forth flow happening. Give her access to your fears and concerns. Talk to her about what bugs you at work for example and what you are thinking about doing. Share your life with her. Allow her into your world. Remember the Demand-Withdraw rule and catch yourself when you feel you are subconsciously running away from her.
Rule 4 – Apologise
Don’t abandon me here fellas. Confessing to a mistake takes us right to the heart of shame. It is not so much about being wrong as it is about not wanting to feel shame. Saying sorry opens us up to feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness. We are at our most vulnerable when we have to admit a mistake or apologise. It’s a man thing and women find it very difficult to understand. The trick here is not to fight it. Just bite your tongue and apologise. Initially there will be fall out. Her jaw dropping and tongue falling out of her mouth in shock for one thing. An appropriate apologise opens up the lines of communication so stay the course.
Rule 5 – Accept influence
I briefly mentioned this above but it is important that you allow yourself to accept influence from her. An example might be that you want to head off on a camping holiday with mates. But she suggests that the family goes camping instead. She may give you very sound reasons for doing that and this is where you need to be influenced. You may find the discussion is really about quality time with the family and your involvement in their lives rather than your need to bond with other males. The important to remember here, is that you can only make an informed decision once you may all the facts. Listening to her side of the story gives you that opportunity.
Rule 6 – Share
This is where you get to discuss things that are important to you both. You talk about your day, the issues you face at work. When sharing you both get to explore options for remedies for problems you encounter. You get to spend quality looking at issues together and coming up with ways to solve them together.
Rule 7 – Be Pro-active
When you take all of the 6 previous rules and put them together you have a pretty good idea of what to do to enhance your relationship. However when you activate this rule then you are effectively sending your marriage into the stratosphere. So the task ahead is to create opportunities to talk, create opportunities to be together, create opportunities to listen and be listened to. When you say to your partner “Lets go out for coffee Saturday morning” you are being pro-active in creating an opportunity. Saying things like “Tell me about your day” is taking the initiative and staying ahead of the curve. It demonstrates to your partner that you are willing to listen, willing to be influenced, willing to engage and so on. So go ahead and create! I would like to encourage you to take a good hard look at your current behaviour to determine where you might be able to make small changes for the chance to see big results.
There is no point being the King-of-the-Castle if she is not in it.