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Talking for a better marriage

My wife and I went on a long bike ride today, and I was doing what I always do: turning around to shout something back to her, call her attention to something, make a joke. And she does the same–“Look! A redtail!” while pointing at a hawk, or “I forgot to tell you what happened at work Friday…”

I never gave this behavior much thought. So what made me actually think about it just now? The realization that it’s so awkward, practically speaking. It’s hard to hear each other, and we keep slowing down to get closer. And it’s probably not super-safe to twist around on your bike seat instead of looking in front of you. I found myself laughing about it, then wondering why we go to so much trouble.

Then it hit me. Because this is only one example of something crucial to our marriage: We just can’t stop talking to each other. And I’ve learned, through long experience, how much good this tendency brings into our lives.

When it comes to marriage, advice from other people has its limits. No two couples are exactly the same, after all, and there’s plenty of bad advice in the world anyway. But I can say one thing with complete confidence: No matter what happens, sit down regularly with your spouse and talk about how things are going – even if “sitting down” isn’t sitting at all but grocery shopping, bathing the kids, or, in my case, riding bikes!

This is as necessary for spouses as having air to breathe–and that goes double for parents. You may have to go to amazing lengths just to get a chance to converse, but go to those lengths. Husband and wife must always be able to compare notes, track progress, re-assess, support each other, and share all the humor, frustration, and delight that come with shared living and parenting.

 

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Tim J. Myers is a writer, storyteller, songwriter, and senior lecturer at Santa Clara University. Tim earned his master’s in literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has 32 years experience teaching, both at the classroom and universit… Read More

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