From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.
For weeks I had the article open in one of the many tabs on my internet browser. “How to Increase Intimacy in Your Marriage,” it read – and it wasn’t about sex. The article addressed the same old, same old feeling we can get in a long-term relationship, the lack of connection that creeps in while you’re shuttling kids to soccer practice and piano lessons, taking turns buying groceries or changing laundry or making sure someone is home to sign for that FedEx package.
The article seemed to hold the secret to fixing what felt off in my own marriage, a cure in five simple steps – if only we could find the time to read it.
I’d originally kept the article open with intentions to print it out and take it to our next counseling session. Our counselor had been kind and helpful over many months of healing and growth, but when I mentioned a lack of connection he leaned back on his old faithful, the date night. As we’ve discussed before, date nights are great but not always possible. So though I was grateful to leave crisis and emotional chaos behind, I was worried that we’d overcorrect into apathy and boredom. And this article had more practical solutions than the tired advice of going on more date nights.
However, before we returned to counseling, life got increasingly crazy with a move, an overseas trip, and a job change – so counseling, steps for creating connection, and date nights got lost in the shuffle for a while. Eventually I bookmarked that article and closed out, intending to come back to it soon.
I never did.
And, sure enough, as life settled down again and we adjusted to a new home, a new town, and a new schedule, I began feeling disconnected from my husband again. With his long hours and our family’s full calendar, we were ships passing in the night, sharing little more than instructions, urgent questions, complaints, or solutions for the day-to-day management of a family and home.
In the midst of feeling frustrated over the struggle to connect, I mentioned in passing that I thought my husband might enjoy a podcast I listened to regularly. He’s a truckdriver who’s on the road for hours at a time, so over the years I’ve suggested audiobooks and podcasts frequently. He’d never been interested (which annoyed me to no end and baffled me as well!) – but this time he was.
Before he could change his mind and revert to his stance that listening to the radio was just fine, I downloaded a podcast-listening app to his phone and then subscribed him to a dozen podcasts I thought he might like.
Then, I waited. Would he like the same podcasts I did? What about the others I found for him? Would he give them a chance? Would he be bored or fascinated? Would he even tell me what he thought about all of this?
I shouldn’t have worried. It didn’t take long before every other sentence out of his mouth seemed to be, “So I was listening to this podcast, and they said…”
He began sharing stories and fun facts and interesting news he thought I might like to hear. He told me about books he’d learned about that sounded like something I might want to read – and even a book that he wanted to read, too. (Though I’m a big reader he is not, so that one was a big deal!) Before long, we had lists of things to talk about, things that weren’t basic household decisions or weekend plans, things that didn’t revolve around our kids or the daily frustrations of our jobs.
I know couples who have weekly date nights, daily downloads, frequent coffee dates. Though our schedule prevents any of that for now, I admit that any time those practices came up, I felt a little nervous. If we had the chance for more quality time together, would we even have anything to say? Last year, we might not have, to be honest. If you take kids and jobs off the table, we don’t always have a lot of conversation starters left.
But now that we’ve started sharing things we’re hearing on podcasts (and, for me, on blogs and online magazines), running out of things to say is the last thing on my mind.
Perhaps it’s an exaggeration to say that podcasts saved my marriage. After all, wasn’t it the counseling and work we’d done prior to this connection crisis what did that?
Yes, that’s true. We weren’t in danger of divorce when I first read the article about increasing intimacy, but we were getting awfully close to boredom and becoming strangers. And that’s a risk I don’t want to take. Therefore, I stand by my declaration: podcasts saved my marriage (from becoming boring and stale and completely without connection).
If you’d like to know which podcasts my husband subscribed to, I’d be happy to share. Click here to receive 15 Podcasts Perfect for the Man in Your Life for free!
Do you listen to podcasts? How do you stay connected with your husband?
Mary Carver is a writer, speaker, and recovering perfectionist. She lives for good books, spicy queso, and television marathons, but she lives because of God’s grace. Mary writes with humor and honesty about giving up on perfect and finding truth in unexpected places on her blog, MaryCarver.com. She is the author of Fast Talk & Faith: A 22-Day Devotional Inspired by Gilmore Girls and co-author of Choose Joy: Finding Hope & Purpose When Life Hurts. She is also a regular contributor to incourage.me and MothersofDaughters.com. Mary and her husband live in Kansas City with their two daughters.