Make the plan work when you and your spouse decide to invest time together. This post continues the 10 point marriage tune-up to show you how to value your spouse.
Interruptions and cancellations are a part of life. They happen. But even if you need to cancel at this time, you still need to make the plan work!
Support your spouse’s plans – make the plan work.
When your spouse talks with you about scheduling a dinner or outing and then puts it on the calendar, honor that commitment.
This is more than just spending time with your spouse, this is about understanding what your wife or husband finds important about the activity.
- Maybe they want to connect with you – or others.
- Perhaps it’s about responding to a request or fulfilling a responsibility.
- Maybe your husband/wife needs the chance to laugh, or be creative or learn something.
An activity on the calendar is more than an activity – it’s a declaration of a need.
Make the plan work to meet your spouse’s need – even if it’s not on the original date.
What if you must change the plan? What if something unavoidable shows up and you can’t honor your commitment to do what you’ve said you’d do…? Not everyone has full control over their schedule and when you add children into the mix, even more glitches will show up.
Now what? You need to change the plan.
Start by sharing your issues with your spouse, acknowledging you understand the ‘why’ behind the original intent and your sincere regret – then reschedule.
You’ve done 3 things to show you value your spouse:
- You’ve been clear that you are aware of, and want to honor their desire.
- You have apologized – said you’re sorry, and that you would if you could…
- There’s a new date on the calendar to make the plan work. Again.
Does this seem elementary? We see couples who skip over these steps and find themselves in hot water – particularly in the apologizing part!
We have a favorite book we recommend on giving an effective apology. It’s co-authored by Gary Chapman (of the Five Love Languages) and Jennifer Thomas, called “When Sorry Isn’t Enough: Making Things Right with Those You Love”
An apology isn’t always what you think it is – and how you apologize for issues does matter!
Some people need to hear “I’m sorry – I won’t do that again.” before they feel you regret what has happened. Other people need to hear, “What can I do to make it better?” to feel you’ve apologized completely. And there’s more… This book is a “must read”. You need to handle apology in every part of life, including your relationship with your spouse.
Make the Plan Work
Regardless of why the plan didn’t work in the first place, apologize and reschedule. Make your time together happen. And express how you understand why your spouse wanted to spend time together in the first place. Then your spouse will feel that you value her/him. It only gets better from here…