Doing Family Right

Maximizing your most
important relationships.

Marriage: Moments that Matter—Learning to Connect for Life

Moments That Matter Each Day

Ever heard it said, “Little things go a long way.” It’s true. These little things include what is said and done in even a few seconds of your life. Moments matter even more in a marriage. Words can kill or words can bring life…all in a flash. Your choices draw you closer to your mate or they create distance. Words declare a welcome or drive in a wedge. Its up to you and it happens in a moment.

Everyday there are reoccurring events that we all could capitalize on. These are moments that will really matter with your mate. The better you handle these times, the stronger the connection. The more you make of these minutes, the deeper the friendship will be. This is how love grows.

Let’s look at these four times per day of every relationship when there’s a chance to connect with your spouse. Used well, they set the tone for the day and are the heart of creating a satisfying and lasting marriage. The four moments are — “good morning”, “good-bye”, “hello” and “good night”. They are the first and last moments of the interchange in your lives. They are consistent opportunities that most of us miss. Let’s connect better by focusing on the moments that matter.

Maximize the Good Morning Moment

At the first sign of life, you can set the tone for the day. If your mate is awake, pull them close. Say nothing at first; just be in each other’s arms. Think through your first words. Be intentional with your commitment to love. Even if they are sleeping, let your first gestures be acts of kindness. Leave tracks of your love…turn on the coffee or put toothpaste on their toothbrush. We do that. Also, try leaving short notes on the counter, dresser or mirror. Work hard to start the day without negative, critical words. Remember, each day is a fresh start to love better.

What if they are still sleeping when you are leaving? Is it more of a sign of love to kiss them good-bye and risk waking them or better to show love by not disturbing them? Answer? Let your spouse make this call. Ask them.

Maintain a Good-bye Routine

At some point each day, you will go your separate ways. Your spouse’s departure needs to take precedence over other things at least for a few minutes. No matter who is heading out first, establish a good-bye routine. With my sweetheart who is vertically challenged, we meet at the steps by the front door so our farewell kiss and hug will be face-to-face. Whether its questions about the day or just a word of encouragement, use the moment to wrap your love around the heart of your mate. This closeness gives them strength for the day and an anchor that draws them back to you. Tell the kids what you are doing, “I’ll be right back, I want to say good-bye to your father.” It’s great modeling.  Try a 10 second hug — actually count in your head if needed. Linger with them. Let your arms say I am there for you. Research shows that kissing your mate good-bye as you leave causes you to live on average 5 years longer and have a higher standard of living. So, stop what you are doing, embrace, kiss and make your last words, good words.

Magnify the Reunion Hello

At some point you will reconnect again. It’s time to make their day! Both of you should stop whatever you are doing and think ‘my spouse is my priority’. It is just as much the responsibility of the one coming in the door, as it is the one inside it.  Both need to lay down the issues of the day for the reunion. Welcome each other warmly. Be as upbeat as possible for these first few minutes. You actions are saying “Its good to see you, I missed you.” Discuss the hurdles of the day — this is NOT the time. My babe has started to hurry to the door when I announce, “I’m home” and the smiles, the teasing and the laughter begins. We hug and kiss like we are meeting at the airport. One friend said, “I don’t want the dogs to be happier to see him than me” and without fail, she stops what she is doing to run, embrace, and kiss her man. He says that coming home is the best part of his day. No kidding. Debrief your days your way…but show interest. Share these events in bit-sized chunks during your evening.

Master the Good Night Finale

It’s time to turn out the lights for the day. Make this moment count too. Try to go to bed together as part of your attempt to stay connected. This is a big bonus to your relationship so even if one is a nigh owl, aim at going to bed at the same time 5 of 7 nights of the week. If one feels the need to go to bed earlier, they should initiate the closure of the day. If one wants to stay up beyond the usual time, they should stop what they are doing to take time to say good night and connect appropriately.

We have made it a practice that every night we pray together. Braiding God into our lives has kept our marriage strong. The finale always includes saying good-night, I love you and a kiss (well, sometimes more too).

Remember, you’ll never regret putting your marriage and family first especially in the moments that matter. This will help you stay connected for life.

Pass this article along to someone who needs to maximize their moments and come back again for more truth that challenges relationships. Love to hear from you.

Also listen to The Moments That Matter podcast.

© Dr. Dave Currie, June 2010

Feature image used with permission: © ID: #11756322