I was recently asked by a St. Louis radio talk show host what I believed was the number one problem facing married couples today. Is it affairs? Is it finances? It is children or extended family? Is it pornography? Is it work schedules or home stress? What is it? While all of these are serious issues, they are all symptoms of a greater problem. I have worked with hundreds of couples through the years and I am convinced that the number one problem couples face is that they lose their loving connection.
Most of the couples and individuals that I work with tell me that at one time they had a deep loving connection with their spouse. They could talk for hours and loved spending time with one another. They had a sense that there was no problem that they could not solve as long as they were together. Most of these couples married and at first things were great. But shortly after marriage, they stopped doing many of the things that had created the initial connection. Then, as these couples focused less on each other and less on the relationship they began to drift apart.
This drifting causes a loss of connection. This is usually followed by discouragement, disengagement and disillusionment. All of a sudden the problems in the relationship seem insurmountable. Instead of connecting, there is a great deal of fighting. For many, the easy solution is to divorce and start over with a new spouse. This explains why the divorce rate for second marriages is significantly higher than first marriages.
I love having the opportunity to work with the couples that say they are going to fight to save the marriage. Sometimes initially, it is only one person in the relationship who wants to save the marriage. By refocusing on connection and having a plan to move forward reconnection is established and marriages are restored. Take time out this week to check in with your spouse about your current level of connection in the marriage. Here are three questions that you might use this week in a conversation with your spouse to access your connection level.
- On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate the level of our connection or closeness? What would we have to do as a couple to improve this score?
- Are we doing the same things we used to do when we were dating to keep our connection strong? What activities could we reengage to revitalize our marriage? Can we start this week?
- What is one thing that you need from me that would help our level of connection?
If you are not satisfied with the answers to these questions, make a commitment to do something to improve the connection. You will be amazed at how quickly things can turn around.