The two feet between our chairs felt more like miles.
How did we get here? Is it possible to experience kindness and love toward each other? Forever seems too long. I’m tired.
I sat genuinely confused. How could I fix our marriage when I didn’t understand how it became broken?
We hadn’t experienced a huge crisis in our marriage. So why did it feel like we disliked each other so much? Why were we simply tolerating each other? Where had the intimacy gone? Could we ever get back to a place where we were excited to be married to each other?
The fact that I didn’t have a reason for our lack of connection bothered me even more.
So I did some digging. And it turns out, we weren’t alone.
According to research by Dr. John Gottman, the reason so many couples end up divorced isn’t due to what we may think - issues such as money, in-laws, or sex. It’s rather the failure to connect emotionally.
So what leads to so many marriages failing to connect emotionally, if it’s not the issues we’ve thought led to divorce for so many years? Dr. John Gottman says it’s the micro- moments of everyday. The seemingly meaningless moments when one spouse makes a ‘bid’ for the other’s support, attention, or affection.
It might be as simple as asking your husband to please bring up a towel from the laundry room, or him asking you to plug in his phone. It might be in a quick exchange over the phone where one spouse asks the other a simple question needing a simple response. The connection either happens or doesn’t happen in these micro-moments, where couples either enhance or lessen their connection within their response.
It is as simple as responding to the request to plug in your husband’s phone with a kind, “sure,” rather then an eye roll or face of annoyance. It is in these micro-moments where emotional connections are built up or torn down.
And day after day built on countless micro-moments, connection in our marriage is either built or destroyed.
So what can we do to lower our chance of divorce from 86% down to 33%?
We can accept emotional bids from our husband. We can stay mindful of those little moments during the day that seem meaningless but are in fact significant. And, we can give grace toward our husband if he’s not accepting our bids for support, attention, or affection.
Focus on your responses toward your husband, and trust that God will use the warmth, kindness, and respect you show toward your husband in the tiny moment of each day to turn your husband’s heart toward you in the same way.
Strong marriages are built in the everyday moments of life.
For more help building everyday moments of connection in ten minutes or less, purchase your copy of Dear Wife: 10 Minute Invitations to Practice Connection with Your Husband. You were created for connection, and there is a community of wives who share their struggles and celebrate growth at A Wife Like Me. There are great resources for you at A Wife Like Me, also. Encouragement awaits!
Amanda Davison is the wife to a Minnesota farmer, mother of three, and President of the nonprofit, A Wife Like Me. She is an author and speaker, and serves on staff at her local church, where her and her husband lead the marriage mentor team. Amanda is relentlessly sharing how her education in counseling and God’s word changed her life and marriage. You can be a part of the growing community of wives on Facebook or Instagram, and can find many helpful resources for your marriage at A Wife Like Me.