Stress in our house often reveals itself through sudden grumpiness, snapping at each other, or completely shutting down and withdrawing from everyone. These emotions can be difficult to untangle, especially when stress from this ongoing pandemic seems to be hitting us in all different areas of life.
In order to fight against this affecting our marriage, my husband and I have started a process of openly sharing all our thoughts at the end of the day. It’s an opportunity to openly share our anxieties, annoyances, and struggles without criticism from the other person.
At the end of the day, we expect an opportunity to share ourselves with no holding back, and to receive one another’s unfiltered thoughts without judgment.
Our process looks like this:
1. Knee-to-Knee Time
Set aside twenty minutes of uninterrupted time together each night. During this time, sit facing each other with your knees touching. I know this sounds cheesy, but just trust me. Something about physically touching helps to open up and to receive your spouse’s concerns.
2. Don’t Be Defensive
There’s one rule. You cannot be defensive. Each of you share what’s bothering you without interruption from the other. Then switch. This will be hard, because you will want to explain yourself. Rather than jumping to explain, listen to how your spouse feels affected by things
3. Make a Plan Together
Once you have both shared everything that’s on your mind, work together to make a plan. If you need to share your perspective on any situation your husband feels bothered by, this is the time to share. Work together to set clear and fair expectations of one another.
4. Give It Some Time
This will not be a quick fix, but rather an ongoing process. After trying your agreed upon plan, you might find it needs continuous tweaking. This is why it’s important to have knee-to-knee time each night for at least two weeks. This will allow opportunities for expected communication and feedback.
Wife Step: Schedule a time with your husband, and commit to twenty minutes of knee-to-knee sharing time together for one week.