One of the components of creating a loving connection with your spouse is communicating and talking on a regular basis. My mentor, Mort Fertel, calls these spontaneous love connections talk charges. A talk charge is a positive verbal interaction that is non-logistical, fun or frivolous, and potentially leads to connection. The purpose is to positively fuel the love connection with your spouse.
When couples are in good to phenomenal relationships, these communications occur all day every day. They simply are part of the DNA of the marriage. I believe that when my wife Jennifer reaches out to me in the middle of the day with her words of love, they flow very naturally out of her heart that is overflowing with love for me. It is not hard duty for me to have conversations with her that have nothing to do with bills, kids, problems, the house, or other logistical things. Having said this, we do anywhere between 3 to 6 talk charges a day. These comments range anywhere from a random “I love you baby” to an extended conversation about politics or the St. Louis Cardinals.
When you are dealing with an obstinate spouse, talk charges are a little more difficult. Not only is it more difficult to come up with things to say, frequently the obstinate spouse will try to shut down the communication. Sometimes the obstinate spouse stops taking the calls all together. Sometimes the obstinate spouse will state, “Please only call me if it has something to do with the kids or if it is an emergency.” I frequently hear, “I don’t understand why you keep being nice, I have told you that we are done, I am getting a divorce. You are not listening.” When you are getting this kind of pushback, it makes reaching out with talk charges especially difficult. If this is where you are today, I want to encourage you.
First, please understand that you are not alone. Many obstinate spouses who have gone on to reconcile said the very same things to their Marriage Fitness spouses. I joke all the time there is an obstinate spouse manual and all of the obstinate spouses have read it because they all say the same things.
Secondly, I want to remind you why you are doing the talk charges to begin with. You are not doing the talk charges to manipulate your spouse back into the relationship. You are doing the talk charges because you should have been doing the talk charges the whole time you were married. You call your spouse with love because that’s what loving spouses do. You are not taking your behavior clues from your spouse. You are simply doing the right thing. And the right things is to reach out to your spouse with love. Perhaps limit the number of talk charges to one per day when your spouse is working.
When they press back, simply let them know that you understand their position, but it does not change the reality that they are still your spouse and that you are still committed to the relationship. I still believe in you. I still believe in us. I am not giving up on this marriage. I can not make you love me, but you can not force me to stop loving you. The important thing is that you realize that with these talk charges you are planting seeds. You are like a farmer planting one seed at a time. Eventually, in due season the seeds will produce fruit. Remember you are simply doing what you promised you would do when you got married. You are simply loving your spouse unconditionally. Regardless of what you do, don’t quit. You are doing the right thing.