“Each day learn something new, and just as important, re-learn something old.” Robert Breault
One of the ways I think our marriages fall off the rails is when we stop being curious about one another.
We assume we know everything there is to know about our partners, but that’s not true.
Even after being together for many years, we’re not the same people we were years – or decades – ago. We’re changing and so are our spouses. What we want or prefer now is likely very different than what we wanted and liked ten or twenty years ago.
Also, most of the things we think we know about our partners are assumptions on our parts, because we’ve never really asked.
So let’s ask…
There was an exercise in a book I read recently (The Normal Bar) that will likely help you learn something new about your spouse and can provide an opportunity for connection:
- Each of you create a list of five things that you need in order to be happy in life, but none of those things can have anything to do with the spouse or the kids.
- Each person shares their list with their partner. The spouse that’s not sharing has to listen, without debating or criticizing. After all, an individual’s preferences are being expressed, so there is no right or wrong
- Identify what you know now that you didn’t know previously, either about yourself or your partner.
I did this exercise with my husband, D.
My five things were:
- My friendships
- Continuous learning and personal / spiritual growth
- My puppies (Leo & Luna)
- Sunshine / Warm Weather
His five things were:
- His health
- Good sleep
- Succeeding in his business and being his own boss
- Warm weather (all year round)
I surprised him because he thought my list would closely mirror his. Like many of us, he assumed that I wanted the same things he wanted, but outside of sunshine and warm weather, our lists were entirely different. He surprised me by how important it is for him to succeed in a new business that he’s creating; I didn’t realize it would rank in his top 5 needs for happiness. That’s really good for me to know so that I can be supportive of him as he expands professionally.
Give it a try with your spouse.
You might just learn something new and feel a bit more connected knowing what’s important to them and their happiness. I’d love for you to share in the comments what you learn.