The most important day in your marriage is today.
Look, I love dating my wife. With all three of our boys in school, Lindsey and I try and eat lunch together once a week. You should read Justin Buzzard's book, Date Your Wife.
I love vacations with Lindsey (PSA - family trips are not a vacation; there is nothing relaxing about making sure you get home with the same number of kids that you left town with!). I cannot wait to get out of town with her for a few days this summer!
But if the health of my marriage depends on weekly dates and occasional vacations, then I am missing an amazing opportunity to win my wife's heart. And that opportunity is called 'today.'
In his book, Everyone Communicates, Few Connect, John Maxwell shares a simple way that he connects with his wife, Margaret, each day. I've modified it slightly to help you win your wife's heart today:
1. Write down the significant things that happen to you during the day.
Use a small notebook or keep a file in Evernote. Keep a log of the interesting things that you read, the important conversations that you had, the moments that you want to share. Jot down whatever will help you remember what happened; it might be that a word is all you need and more sustainable than writing a paragraph.
2. For important things, don't tell anyone else before you share it with your wife.
If Lindsey is the fourth person to hear my story about discovering the cure for cancer, then she is going to get a truncated, sanitized, emotionally dilapidated version of the story. She does not have to be the first person to hear about everything going on today. But if I want to connect with her, she needs to be the first person to hear about the things that matter most to me.
3. When your wife asks about your day, go over your list with her.
We have all been there. We get home from work, give our last bit of energy to our kids, and then sit down on the couch with our wives to catch up on the day. We know the question is coming. And rarely are we prepared and energized enough to give her much more than a shrug and a supersonic flyby that tells her nothing significant.
"How was your day?" That's the question. And you can answer that question with more than a shrug and an "it was fine." Why? Because you wrote down the big moments in your day. And because you haven't emptied your emotional chamber by sharing those moments with other people. Your wife is not getting your leftovers. She gets to hear about what matters most to you today.
4. Ask your wife about her day.
Connecting with your wife is about more than just sharing your heart. You also need to create space for her to open up about her day. "How are you?" or "How was your day?" are both fantastic questions to ask. And then give her the gift of uninterrupted time.
Turn your phone off (or at least put it in another room). Listen actively - asking questions and clarifying statements; expressing empathy and encouragement. Don't turn the focus away from her by jumping into a story about your day that is triggered by the events of her day.
BONUS - Ask her about her day before she asks you.
Do The Next Right Thing
Keep up with the significant moments that happen today by opening up a file in Evernote. Or using that Moleskine you wrote in once. Or jotting down notes on the back of the envelope. Just make sure you write enough down to jog your memory.
And don't go to bed tonight without taking a few minutes to walk through your day with your wife. Tomorrow will have its challenges but if you do that, you will have won her heart today.