We have spent many hours meeting with couples through coaching and counseling and here is what we have discovered: most couples only meet for 25 minutes of relevant conversation each week. Why is this a problem? When our conversations are limited to kids’ schedules, hobbies, and work events, we miss learning about our spouse’s true perspectives and engaging with them on a deeper level. When we move through life without being aware of each other’s perspectives, change inevitably comes and can create division. The only way to prevent this is to develop empathy within your relationship through listening to each other’s perspectives.
So what is the solution? A weekly tune-up.This is simply 30-45 minutes of uninterrupted time to meet with your spouse about essential matters. This is a time away from kids and cell phones.
What does a weekly tune-up look like?
- Start with prayer.
Align yourselves with The Lord before discussing important matters with each other. If your spouse doesn’t pray like Bishop Jakes the first time, it’s okay! Simply invite God into your conversation.
- Exchange Praise.
Use verbal affirmation to build your spouse up by sharing something positive they did that week. Think about the fruit that will come from your spouse looking you in the eye and telling you something they appreciate about you every week!
- Share your perspective about ONE essential matter.
We emphasize one, because you cannot have a productive conversation in 30-45 minutes if you and your spouse bring up multiple areas of growth. Our biggest piece of wisdom for this part of your weekly tune-up is this: listen to receive, not to respond. This means that I am not planning on how I will win the conversation while my spouse is pouring out their heart. If I win, my spouse loses, and our relationship suffers. Remember, the goal is the breakthrough moment of empathy. You will know you have gotten there when you truly feel what your spouse is trying to say. Once you have gotten to this moment, it is a good time to ask clarifying questions and apologize if necessary. The two most healing phrases someone can hear are, “I love you” and “I’m sorry”.
- Agree on a plan and move forward.
You can do this by simply answering the question, “who is going to do what by when?” This is a release valve for your relationship. The Bible says, “It’s the small foxes that spoil the vine” (Song of Solomon 2:15). This means that when we ignore small things for long periods of time, hoping that they will change, we invite discord into our marriage. Sharing these things and creating a plan together safeguards our marriages.
The thought of these weekly tune ups may feel daunting, but we encourage you to trust the process. They may start out long and frustrations may arise, but after doing this repeatedly, we have seen so much fruit in our marriage. It doesn’t take long, we don’t hold things in, and we stay connected. The real heart behind a weekly tune up is empathy and we see this modeled continually through the life of Jesus. It is Christlikeness for one spouse to look at another and say, “you are not alone, and I will never leave you or forsake you.”
It is Christlikeness for one spouse to look at another and say, “you are not alone, and I will never leave you or forsake you.”