Darren Cox is the owner of Anchor Bay Counseling in Spooner, WI. He is a licensed mental health professional practicing in Wisconsin since 2004. He is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary holding a Masters Degree in Biblical Counseling and he resides in Shell Lake with his wife of 20 years and their three children.
One of the most common issues that married couples present with in my office is the complaint that they no longer communicate well. I find this interesting because when couples were dating no one had to teach them how to communicate. You simply had to create time and opportunity, and they would naturally communicate for hours. They would send emails, text messages, love notes and talk on the phone ad nauseam with no help from a professional to assist them through the process. What they had then that they lack now is not some mysterious skill that fades over time. No, what they lack now that they used to have in spades is the DESIRE to communicate.
Desire is often influenced by outcome and interest. No one wants to talk to someone who does not listen well or often makes us feel like we are unheard and ultimately undervalued. Why would I want to beat my head against the wall, in the name of conversation, if I never feel heard? Secondly, no one wants to talk to someone who is generally not interested. I know men who can tell me the horsepower and displacement of their favorite muscle car but can't tell me the color of their wife's eyes. I know men who can recite the life cycle of various aquatic insects but can't tell me the last good book his wife read. I know wives who will drive their kids here there and everywhere but won't make time for dinner with their husband.
All this to ask a simple question. How much do you really want to KNOW your spouse? Knowledge is power when it comes to communication, and what you did naturally when you were dating is you asked questions because you wanted to know. You wanted to acquire knowledge about your future spouse and you pursued it/them with vigor. The goal was a connection and you used communication to get it.
The goal of connection in a marriage should never change. No one has ever come into my office and said, "My marriage is in the tank because all we do is meet each other's needs.” Marriage success is always about meeting needs, and the only way to meet needs is to know what they are. So what does your spouse need from you? If you don’t know, ASK. Ask what makes them come alive, ask what makes them satisfied, ask them what you do that creates closeness, and ask the converse which says, "what do I do that creates distance between us?”
If you and your spouse find yourselves as more roommates than lovers, it is time to start asking questions with the goal of creating a connection. Inquiring Minds Want to Know!!!!