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Posted: April 19, 2012

I am going out on a limb and making a radical declaration: “You can enrich your marriage in 5 minute increments.” You are probably thinking, “This is too good to be true!” No, this actually works because I stumbled across this miraculous piece of puzzle in my first marriage. It worked so well that over the years I have incorporated into my present marriage, and other relationships.

One of the biggest, hurtful, destructive obstacles in marriages is that people simply don’t listen to each other. Let’s face it; we hear what we want to hear. We sift out the stuff that hurts too much, the words that we think don’t apply to us or seem irrelevant to the situation.  Women have to say everything with too many words, tears, drama and emotions. Men sometimes don’t say anything at all. Over time, we learn to edit our conversations, stuff away hurt feelings, pull away or become resentful.  This is one of the most tragic components in a marriage.  The number one need in intimate relationships is “that we need someone to listen to us.” We need someone to listen without trying to fix us, judge us or dismiss us or belittle us. We need our spouses to listen with our ears, eyes and hearts so that we feel validated and accepted.

Here is how it works.

 When there is an issue that needs discussion and resolve, you need to set aside uninterrupted time, that is suitable for both of you. This needs to be a place of quiet, where you can hear each other without distractions and loud noises.  Each time there will be one speaker, and one listener.


a.         The wife gets to talk for 5 minutes, without interruptions, without responses from the husband; without objections, interjections or accusations. The listener just listens and does not say a word.

The person speaking has to make it clear that these are her feelings. They may not be right or wrong, but that is what they are. They are not to be judged, or defended but to be listened to.

These are the hurts, the feelings of being devalued, overlooked, hurt…or whatever the issue is. It is what it is and the listener has to accept that.

 The speaker also does not accuse, or condemn, but explains more about how she feels: “when you do this, this is how I feel”. This not about accusing; but about resolving a problem.

b.         When the speaker is done, now is time for the listener to respond.  


a.         The listener has to be absolutely quiet for those entire 5 minutes, but actively let the speaker know that they are fully engaged in the listening. They need to make good eye contact and perhaps nod now and then. When the speaker is done, it is now time for the listener to respond and tell “his side of the story”. The listener now has 5 minutes to tell you where he thinks you are completely wrong, where he might agree or disagree and then also pours out his heart and explains things from his perspective.

b.         Again, this is not about who is right or wrong, who did what, dragging up old garbage, accusing, name calling, swearing or belittling. This exchange is mean to resolve an issue so that both parties hear each other’s hearts.

 So to sum it up, one person speaks, the other listens, and then the other person speaks, and the other person listens.

 When we really listen to each other’s words; the kind that come from the deepest parts of our soul, we feel validated as human beings. It restores our self-worth and gives us the courage to move forward with love and determination. It helps to see that we are not alone in our struggles, but that there is another person willing to listen to our deepest struggles, pain and confusion. Who better do help you with that than our spouses?

These 5 minute encounters in my first marriage restored our love, helped each other to understand each other in a way I could never have imagined. There were many times where I felt I was so right in the way I perceived something; but after I heard my husband’s side of the story, I was often shocked how wrong I had been.

Miracles happen in these 5 minute exchanges.  I know; they happened to me and my marriage.


Posted in: Anticipation, Beauty from the Inside Out, Communication, Encouragement, Expectations, Expectations, Finding Truth, Friendship, Good Marriage, Hope, Intimacy, Kindness, Life of Jesus, Listening, Making Wise Choices, Overcoming Struggles, Patience, Pleasure, Power of the Tongue, Respect, Tension, Understanding each other, Valued

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