Most couples are willing to spend an hour a week talking about their relationship. I suggest that emotional attunement can take place (at a minimum) in that weekly “state of the union” meeting. That means that at least an hour a week is devoted to the relationship and the processing of negative emotions. Couples can count on this as a time to attune. Later, after the skill of attunement is mastered, they can process negative emotions more quickly and efficiently as they occur. If the couple is willing, they take turns as speaker and listener. They get two clipboards, yellow pads, and pens for jotting down their ideas when they become a speaker, and for taking notes when they become a listener. It’s not a very high-tech solution, but the process of taking notes also helps people stay out of the flooded state. I suggest that at the start of the state of the union meeting, before beginning processing a negative event, each person talks about what is going right in the relationship, followed by giving at least five appreciations for positive things their partner has done that week. The meeting then continues by each partner talking about an issue in the relationship. If there is an issue they can use attunement to fully process the issue.”
― John M. Gottman,
Today, I am astounded.
Thirty-one years ago, I said, “I do.”
Little did I know just what those two little words would require of me.
My love affair with my husband.
In a recent TIME article, “Why We Have Affairs,” Author Andrea Sachs asked Mira Kirshenbaum write:
Without time and attention, marriages get stale or feel full of problems. They’re tired and frustrated with their marriages and not knowing what else to do. You have an affair. It’s about the stage the marriage is in. And the way we live today. Everyday life is terrible for love. Love needs time, and time is the air love breathes, and people have no time. On the weekends, they’re running around schlepping, doing all kinds of things. And where do you have the time you had when you were falling in love? It just doesn’t exist for people anymore.”
Oh the power of those two sentences:
- Everyday life is terrible for love.
- Love needs time, and time is the air love breathes, and people have no time.
Time is the Air Love Breathes
Because of his undying love for me—and the way in which he has highly valued his relationship with God, his belief in me, his commitment to us and his unselfish service to our children—I am alive and well.
He sacrificed business expansion and personal gain for us.
He prized the air that love breathes.
He made sure that love had the time it needed.
For that, I am humbled, grateful, and oh so full of love.
Our Anniversary Prayer for You
Give each and every husband and wife reading this two things: the time that love needs and the air that love breathes.
Give them strength to take their foot off the accelerator of accomplishment and onto the brake of breathing room.
Give them marital CPR today if needed.
And, most of all, give them eyes to see their marriage as the love affair you intended it to be.