Is your marriage lacking depth?
Maybe you feel like the conversations with your spouse are mostly “surface stuff” such as discussing who is picking up the kids from school today or what’s the plan for dinner. There aren’t a lot of profound conversations happening, rather its a lot of light information sharing…
And when you do manage to get some quality time together, what do you talk about? Work? The kids? Sports? Hobbies? Your plans for the coming week?
While these topics might be relevant items in your life, they don’t foster a rich and more meaningful marriage relationship.
Here’s the problem: having intellectually stimulating conversations do not magically happen. Saying to your spouse “Tell me something interesting” will not suddenly open the floodgates of meaningful thoughts, ideas, and emotions.
However, embracing depth as a differentiating value can help to significantly strengthen a marriage.
Depth: astuteness; the intellectual ability to penetrate deeply into ideas; profound
Discovering Your Shared Values in Marriage
I’ve been studying values since 2009, writing about values in business since 2011, and presenting my research to leaders on our 18-month tour of North America. Values are more than the expected, common values… after researching, I’ve found there are 17 Common Values in business. If we were talking about the common, expected values in marriage, perhaps we’d reference the nine Fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23)
However, there are also differentiating values – those values which make each company, each person, each couple, unique.
Of course, everything we do translates into marriage, so Lori and I completed a guide and workbook about values for couples. We’ve found that if couples live their own – differentiating – values, their life together has greater meaning, the decisions they make will align, and the legacy they leave has depth. (You can find out more about our book here.)
What if you wanted to explore the value of Depth in your marriage – what could you do differently?
5 Ways To Improve the Depth of Your Marriage
- Ask open-ended questions. Try and avoid ‘Yes/No’ responses. Ask questions such as: “How does that (subject) make you feel?” or “What’s important about that (issue/topic) to you?” Check out our little e-booklet about asking questions.
- Give your undivided attention. Listen carefully. Observe closely. Watch for non-verbal cues that suggest a change in emotion (then ask a relevant question).
- Learn together. Do a book study or watch an informational DVD together and then discuss. Make sure it’s a topic you are both interested in. A couple that sows together grows together.
- Make it a game. Have some fun and make up your own game where you test each other’s ability to solve a particular problem or identifying possible solutions to common issues (e.g. how to get your grumpy neighbor to smile).
- Tell stories. Go beyond the basic facts. Explain why the subject is important; who is impacted by a particular decision; and how all of this makes you feel.
Allowing yourself to be vulnerable with your spouse is the doorway to building a deeper relationship and a lasting marriage.
Depth Takes Time
Working on the value of depth takes time. However, its power is exponential. The benefits of having deep conversations, and exploring new ideas has a profound impact on your lives as a couple, and can include your children, and extended family.
But there could be more…
Include Depth into your Faith Life
What if you also practiced the value of Depth in your relationship with God? What would that look like?
- You’d set aside time for solitude, just waiting on God – putting Him first.
- You’d invest time in prayer – expressing and searching for God’s will for your life.
- You’d delve into God’s Word. Searching. Learning. Growing.
- You’d lead like Jesus – He would be your role model as a leader.
- You’d serve – focusing on loving your neighbor as yourself.
What could the value of Depth do for your life?
Just spend a few moments, and consider what would happen if you adopted the value of Depth into your everyday life – into your marriage, your relationship with your kids, and even more profoundly – your relationship with Jesus?
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