We picked up a book that was recommended by one of our readers just last week: “How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It” by Patricia Love, Ed.D., and Steven Stosny, Ph.D. It’s a very nice read, by the way, and centers around the premise that love is NOT about better communication, but it’s more about connection.
Some of the points that are made in the book are similar in scope to those that John Gray makes in his book, “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.” Basically, men and women communicate and connect in different ways.
Three statements made by the authors sum this up nicely: (1) “You’ll never get a closer relationship with your man by talking to him like you talk to your girlfriends.” (2) “There are four ways to connect with a man: touch, activity, sex routine.” And (3) “When men feel connected, they talk more.”
There is a section in the book that deals with infidelity that I wanted to touch on more though.
Basically the authors stress that commitment to the relationship is paramount (there is a short quiz in the book that tests your commitment) and that your overall attitude reflects the strength of your commitment to a happy, healthy relationship.
I loved this statement in the book: “If you do not consistently shine the light of your soul on your relationship, it can die without your ever talking about it.” Paste that in your brain right now. This really hit home as this one sentence pretty much sums up what happened to Linda and I a few years ago – we didn’t consistently shine the light of our souls on our relationship – and we failed to talk about it!
By not being emotionally involved n the relationship, it becomes deprived and the life becomes drained from it and there is a disconnection between the partners – often leading to infidelity.
Here are some clues that are often cited in marriages that drain the life from the relationship. How many of the following were (are) present in your marriage? I know several were in ours.
Kids involved in too many activities. Research shows that involving children in more than two activities per week can put undue stress on the child and on the family. These activities should be limited.
Over-involved with work. You need to just quit at the end of the day and pick up where you left off the next day. Try to make contact with your spouse during the day either by phone or at lunch. The authors suggest that you invite your spouse to lunch with co-workers which helps them to become friends of your marriage.
Consumer spending. A never-ending work and spend cycle deprives the relationship of energy.
Addicted to intensity. One can become addicted to living life in the fast lane – either at work or through other aspects of your daily schedule. Stress is increased, which in turn increases self-centeredness and disconnection.
Ignoring family and friends. Old friends and family remind us of who we are (our history) and where our commitments lie.
Ignoring enriching activities. When you ignore the hobbies, cultural activities and entertainment there is a void created where unwanted activities take on too much importance. Enriching activities can infuse a relationship with energy when enjoyed together.
Spiritual neglect. Having standards to uphold keeps us grounded and reminds us of our values and commitments. Attending worship services with your spouse and family is important to strengthening the relationships with them.
No physical exercise. You don’t feel your best and have little energy when you neglect your body.
No sex. Not having sex leaves a huge hole in your relationship.
No romance. Romance is real proof that one is special and is loved. When romance fades, so does interest.
No exclusive attention, no demand for attention. Your commitment to your relationship requires that you not ignore your partner and that you not let your partner ignore you.
Zoning out with food and TV. Nothing wrong with these in moderation, but if it’s your primary source of pleasure it can reinforce distance and holds love at bay.
Another great quote from the book: “The opposite of love is not hate – it’s indifference.” Indifference can kill a relationship! It can cause such a disconnection that can lead to each partner leading separate lives under the same roof, infidelity, and can ultimately lead to divorce.
However, if you feel discomfort and pain from this disconnection, it can mean that you still want to be connected, that you still love each other and there is hope for the future of your relationship. The key is to deepen and strengthen the connection that you both want and make it as powerful as it can be.