Communication His Way, Day 8
The Grains of Your Marriage: Emotional Health
One of the major benefits of eating whole grains is the fiber intake. Without fiber, digesting all the yucky stuff in your system would be difficult (and perhaps painful). Similarly, without healthy emotional intimacy in your marriage, you’ll have a hard time preventing and/or ridding your marriage of the “yucky” emotions. Some of these yucky emotions can include, but aren’t limited to: anger, depression, stress, guilt, shame, and anxiety. These are things that typically block healthy emotional intimacy with your spouse.
Emotional intimacy is a deep connection to your spouse and an unconditional acceptance of the other person built on transparency (openness and honesty), vulnerability (willingness to share), and effective communication (listening and sharing).
Without healthy emotional intimacy, your emotions will begin to dictate your thoughts and actions and it’ll become harder and harder to purge negative emotions, leading to disconnect.
Striving for Healthy Emotional Intimacy
- Watch your own emotions. Be aware of your emotional states, their connections to your physical states, and how they affect your relationships. Take care of yourself physically and emotionally by taking at least a few minutes a day to check in with God and to de-stress whatever that may entail.
- Watch what you meditate on. What messages are you taking in throughout the day? What do you watch and read? Who do you talk to? What things do you say to yourself throughout the day? Do you use self-condemning labels? What you think about can strongly influence or indicate your emotional state.
- Listen to your husband. Your husband’s biggest need is respect. He needs to know that you’re actively listening to him when he speaks with you. Set aside distractions, make eye contact, use physical touch to affirm what he’s saying, and don’t interrupt.
- Keep his confidence. Determine to be a wife who doesn’t share her husband’s deepest secrets, vulnerabilities, fears, and failures with others. Don’t vent to other women about your marital problems. When in doubt, don’t open your mouth.
- Don’t judge. Perhaps your husband shares an idea that sounds weird or likes an activity that you just aren’t into. Be supportive and affirming of your husband. Accept all of who he is.
- Be trustworthy. Let him know who you’re with and what you’re doing. Make decisions that will please your husband, not keep him in the dark.
- Be honest. Don’t stuff emotions inside. Respectfully let him know how you’re genuinely feeling.
- Be available. Spend quality time with your husband regularly.
- Be quiet. Often, he just needs alone time, time to “do nothing,” or he just needs your presence. When you overload him with conversation when he just needs ‘to be’, this can lead to discord. Nonverbal communication is important also. Sometimes it’s wonderful to just be quiet with my husband.
Today’s 30 Minute Challenge (Nov 7th): Communicate His Way
Option #1: Plan an opportunity to have a conversation to emotionally connect with your husband. Your husband’s deepest need is respect. He needs to hear your respect in your tone and body language, and he needs to know your respect through the words you use to communicate.
Ask your husband where and when he feels most comfortable talking with you. My husband enjoys talking the most when we go for a walk or when driving as this helps eliminate distractions. Invite your husband to go for a short drive or bundle up and go on a walk around the neighborhood. Plan to talk over a meal or lie with one another intimately on the bed.
Practice active listening –
- Listen without interruption while he’s speaking.
- Use eye contact and physical touch to affirm what he’s saying and that you’re listening. (i.e. I often place my hand on Adam’s leg while he’s driving and speaking to me.)
- If he pauses in the conversation to think, wait for him.
- When he’s finished, reiterate what he said in your own words to make sure you understood him correctly and to affirm you were listening.
- Ask him if he’d like to add anything more.
Respond with what your husband most needs to hear to affirm and build emotional intimacy –
Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, author of Cracking the Communication Code: The Secret to Speaking Your Mate’s Language, suggests the CHAIRS method of communicating with your husband.
- C- Conquest – appreciate his desire to work and achieve
- H – Hierarchy – appreciate his desire to protect and provide
- A – Authority – appreciate his desire to serve and lead
- I – Insight – appreciate his desire to analyze and counsel
- R – Relationship – appreciate his desire for shoulder-to-shoulder friendship (doing life together)
- S – Sexuality – appreciate his desire for sexual intimacy
Hopefully, this gives you plenty of inspiration for conversation topics.
5 Minute Marathon
Take 5 minutes today and review today’s Bible verse. Then pick one of the following exercises:
- Ask your husband his opinion about something. Genuinely seek his insight.
- Ask your husband to explain an activity or a hobby he loves to you.
- Ask your husband how he’s doing with the Lord and how you can pray for him. Then do it.
- Ask your husband to share what he’s doing at work.
- Ask your husband to tell you what he appreciates about you physically and sexually.
- Ask your husband to talk about how he’s serving in your community, church, your kids’ school or activities, with his parents, etc.
- Ask your husband to tell you what activities he’d like to do with you.
Lord, I lift up our emotional intimacy to You. Draw us closer to one another through transparency, vulnerability, and effective communication. I want to honor my husband with my emotions. Help us to digest all the ‘yucky stuff’ in our hearts by being aware of what our emotions are indicating, but not letting our emotions dictate our actions. Teach me how to be a safe haven for my husband’s heart. Help me to know when to be silent. May we feed our marriage by seeking regular emotional connection and intimacy. Amen.
Take It a Step Further
Pray on the full armor of God. Follow this guideline or create your own:
Lord, I pray for our emotional intimacy. Please make us aware of things that divide us. Help us to stay alert to things that disrupt us emotionally.
I pray Your belt of truth onto our emotional intimacy. Protect us with Your truth. Keep us from believing in the Devil’s lies. Help us to be honest with one another. Cover us in Your truth today.
I pray Your breastplate of righteousness on our emotional intimacy. Protect us against the stabs of the Devil. I pray we would strive for holy living. Redeem our emotions. Cover us in Your righteousness today.
I pray the shoes of the gospel of peace onto our emotional intimacy. I pray we wouldn’t give into the emotional temptations that Satan likes to litter our path with – (fill in the blank). I give these things over to You. You must come first in our hearts and lives. Even though we may fail each other, God, You never will. In You alone we can find true lasting peace, joy, rest, and satisfaction. Prepare us for rocky emotional situations by keeping our feet firmly secure on Your peace.
I pray the shield of faith onto our emotional intimacy. Guard us against Satan’s strongest weapon – doubt. Lord, I’ve been doubting (fill in the blank). Forgive me. Help my unbelief. May we readily pick up the shield of faith to protect ourselves against doubt. My marriage is always worth fighting for and I trust You to protect us even when there’s trouble in paradise.
I pray on the helmet of salvation. Guard our thoughts and protect our minds from wayward thoughts. Keep us from resulting to self-condemning labels and wallowing in fear, guilt, or shame over our sins. Help us to break free because Your salvation is freedom.
I pray on the sword of the Spirit – Your Word is truth. Your Word is indestructible. May we plunge ourselves deeply into Your Word daily to guard against the attacks of the evil one. Lord, give us a love for Your Word, and a desire to get to know You more. May we use the impenetrable Word of God when our emotions try to lead us astray, when we’re tempted by the Devil to give in or give up, and when we feel deep despair.
[Lift up specific requests here] “Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying…” Ephesians 6:18
This post is Day 8 in of the 30 Dates in November Challenge.See related posts – Flare Your Quills – Protecting Your Husband’s Heart, Praying the Armor of God on Your Husband, Where is Your Heart?, and 7 Practical Ways to Become Your Husband’s Advocate.
Share with Us
Is it hard to listen? What strategies do you use to listen to your husband? How do you feed emotional intimacy in your marriage?
- Posted in: 30 Dates in November ♦ Change and Growth ♦ Communication Tips & Techniques ♦ Honor ♦ Listening ♦ Prayer ♦ Protecting Your Marriage ♦ Real Marriage ♦ Respect
- Tagged: 30 Dates in November 2013, Emotions, Full Armor of God, Love & Respect, Prayer, Quality Time, Quiet, Trusting God, Trustworthiness, Truth, Words of Affirmation