I am so excited to tell you that for this week's post in the "Things we don't talk about" series, we have a guest writer here on lovemin! Last week, I started the conversation about the very real struggle of marriage, and how if we want to excel in our relationships we have to be willing to communicate. This week, Caleb Engel, is continuing the conversation with the valuable idea that the best place to start is to ask questions, then act.
Caleb and Maison Engel, the stunning couple in the image above, are wedding photographers who are super passionate about marriage. Maison (who I met through Instagram) started a monthly marriage newsletter with her husband Caleb to help couples engage in conversations about money, sex, conflict, and many other marriage-related topics. I signed up for the newsletter right away and each month I have been positively challenged by the prompts in their newsletter that promote communication.
When I was brainstorming the things we don't talk about series, I knew I wanted them to be a part of it. I mean seriously, how often do you get to hear a male's perspective on communication? Thank you Caleb, for sharing this with us.
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Wouldn't it be nice if your spouse could read your mind?
Like if they brought home your favorite bottle of wine after work, just because? Or left you a voicemail simply to let you know they were thinking about you? Something small that could turn your whole week around.
We all know that when this happens, it makes us feel really cared for. But we also know that sometimes it can be difficult to know what your spouse needs in a given week. Like maybe you vacuumed the whole house ... but what they really wanted was for you to simply drop everything as soon as they got home and greet them with a hug (that lasted a little longer than normal).
This is why we shouldn't rely on mind reading.
One of the hardest things we face in our marriage is the ambiguity behind asking for what our spouse needs. We often find ourselves thinking, "If I have to ask Caleb/Maison what I could do to make him/her feel loved this week, then it won't be as special." It won’t feel romantic or spontaneous which means that the spark is gone, right? We find ourselves believing we aren't cherished or known. But the opposite has actually proven itself to be true and has even made spontaneous moments feel that much more special! The best place to start is to simply ask ... and then act ... and then ask again.
I’ve often asked Maison, “What can I do to make you feel loved?” She has told me things like, “Write me a love note, verbalize your feelings more (I am not the best at this!), etc.” When she directly tells me these things, I now know, for example, that writing her a little love note would make her feel special and I can easily execute this in our marriage! I also know that if you were to ask Maison if she felt less loved getting a note from me because we had previously had this conversation, she would say, “No way!” I asked, she told me, and she still feels loved.
So, what does this mean on a day-to-day basis?
Below, we have two questions from our monthly marriage newsletter to prompt some discussion about the things that your spouse has already done to make you feel special and the things they could start doing! You know what they say, practice makes perfect.
- What is one SMALL thing I've done in the past six months that made you feel loved/special? What about it made you feel that way?
- What is one thing I can do this week to make you feel loved/special?
** A Note about Question #2: Remember to show grace to each other when making tangible commitments. If your spouse isn’t following through on your answer to Question #2, it’s likely because they have forgotten (new habits are hard to form and, well, life happens! We’re all guilty of this!). If you’re looking for a good way to remember to take action, try setting your spouse’s answer as a reminder on your phone with a due date by the end of the week!
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The marriage newsletter
Each month Maison & Caleb send out a newsletter to help couples engage in conversations about money, sex, conflict... and everything else married couples deal with.
I signed up when Maison shared about the newsletter over on her Instagram, and I am SO glad that I did. The prompts within the newsletter, much like the ones above, are great conversation starters that have been helpful tools for fostering better communication in our marriage AND in my friendships. (My hubby even signed up too!)
Want to sign up? Tap the button below.
images via Maison Meredith
This post is a part of my series called "Things we don't talk about"