(This is written to FATHERS, but it applies also to MOTHERS.)
After 30 years of marriage, 26 of them working as a team with my wife to raise our son with disabilities, I can tell you in no uncertain terms: your wife is more important to your well-being and your child’s than you are!
In the majority of homes, the mother is the child’s primary caretaker. Besides managing the home, she typically interfaces with school, doctors, therapists, volunteers, extended family and friends. She coordinates schedules, makes appointments, advocates, mediates and defends. (That’s just what she does for your “special” child. There may also be typical children in the family.)
Imagine your life and the well-being of your child if your wife did not accept all the responsibilities she undertakes.
Here is a 4-Step formula to guarantee a deeper connection with your spouse.
Appreciate what she does for your child and for you.
Write down what she does, or at least say them out loud to yourself. Don’t just say: “I appreciate her.” Say exactly what she does that you appreciate.
Tell her/show her/let her know in whatever way works that you appreciate everything that she does for you and for your child.
Ask her how she is, how her day went. Initiate an exchange whose message is: “I care about you.”
(Click on the menu bar FOR MOTHERS and read about the “5 Love Languages” for communicating with your spouse.)
STEP 3 (the most challenging step for most men)
When your wife complains to you about things not going right in her day; or that she is upset/angry/disappointed with someone or something: LISTEN, ACKNOWLEDGE, SUPPORT. DO NOT TRY TO FIX HER OR THE SITUATION UNLESS SHE ASKS FOR YOUR HELP!!!!
What she wants from you is to understand/acknowledge how she feels. She wants to hear that you know how much she is doing for you and your child. She wants to be appreciated. If something needs fixing she will ask for help.
Share your thoughts and feelings with your wife.
Wives generally want to support their husbands. Let her know what is going on inside you so that she can be there for you.
Keep your criticisms to yourself. Remember how you appreciate her.
If you follow these 4 Steps, you will connect with your spouse.
If for some reason you are still not connecting on the level that you want, contact me. I will help you to discover what isn’t working and we will come up with a plan to make it work.
(NOTE: IF YOU BELIEVE THAT YOU AND YOUR WIFE HAVE SERIOUS COMMUNICATION PROBLEMS, YOU MAY REQUIRE PROFESSIONAL MARRIAGE COUNSELING. IF YOU CONTACT ME I WILL HELP YOU TO DECIDE IF THAT IS WHAT YOU NEED.)