Couples who attend marriage workshops and encounter weekends often say the weekend was a transforming experience for their marriages. Most will say they are very grateful for the opportunity to grow closer to their spouse through the use of communication tools such as the "dialogue." The formal marriage encounters are often religious based. For those couples that prefer a religious-based experience, these are available.
This article will focus on what everyone can take away, regardless of religious orientation, from the daily dialogue concept.
Quite a few of these same couples do not take the tool of daily dialogue home after an encounter weekend to use on a regular basis.This is too bad because having such talks with your spouse helps to build connection and closeness in your marriage. There are several reasons that the skills gained for daily dialogues are not continued or couples just fail to have these important conversations on their own.
What Questions Do We Ask of Each Other?
For many couples, coming up with questions is a problem. Not only the subject matter but questions that both can agree to at that particular point in time. Now with "Google" and other online search engines, it is not difficult to find lists of questions to ask each other. There is no need to reinvent the wheel.
- 29 Questions to Deepen Your Connection from Psychology Today Blog
- 36 Questions to Ask Your Partner from Science of People website
- Play "20 Questions" with Your Partner form the Couples Institue Blog
Time and Distance Can Get in the Way
Making the time to dialogue, whether you are home together or separated by business trips or military deployment, can be difficult. However, with technology today, there is little excuse not to have 10 - 15 minutes to talk!
If you have lost the habit of daily dialogue, make a decision together to begin dialoguing again. Even if you can't commit to dialoguing daily, there is tremendous value in just dialoguing whenever you can.
Daily Dialogue Tips
- If things are difficult between the two of you, keep the questions positive and try not to tackle tough subjects. Questions centering on what attracted you to one another, the best date you ever had, what a dream vacation would be, what quality you like best about your spouse, and so on will work just fine. Positive questions are important in order to help you focus on what is going well in your relationship. A major goal of the dialogue is to speak about to good going on, not just problems.
- Remember the purpose of dialogue is to help you understand your spouse's feelings. It is not to change one another or to manipulate one another. Each dialogue question should be written so you discover how one another feels and not just how you both think.Then try to understand and accept one another as you are.
- Separations due to business travel are a challenge. Many couples use the same question for each day they are apart, something like "How Do I Feel Today?" or "What were my feelings today?" Once together, you can read all the letters from your time apart, and the dialogue on the feelings you have after reading the letters. Other couples dialogue via email, video conferencing like Facetime or Skype and text.
- Have a couple favorite questions to fall back on when finding the right one is difficult. "How do I feel about today?" is a standard dialogue question.
Make the dialogue a new ritual in your relationship. Rituals help keep your marriage strong and healthy!
- Remember, dialogue is a gift you give to one another. However, it is a gift with no strings attached!
We can all use some help at times getting out of the habit to talk about the kids, finances and day to day schedules. There is nothing wrong reaching for tools such as the daily dialogue to help achieve a successful marriage.
*Article updated by Marni Feuerman