After a day apart, the first thing Ben and I ask each other when we get home is “How was your day?” I’ve missed him all day long and can’t wait to be together! I’m sure most of you do the same. But lately we’re learning that’s the wrong question to ask… It’s not often that a sitcom applies to Real Married Life, but for this post I had to share a clip from my favorite show. Kramer has a bit on Seinfeld that pokes fun at the question we’re discussing:
I seldom want to take relationship advice from any sitcom (mostly because marriage is made to look like that “prison” Kramer is talking about and the humor often revolves around husbands or dads being idiots), but Kramer is sharing some truth. If you fail to connect with your spouse and only know how to converse about objective details, marriage can feel like a prison. That question – How was your day today? – becomes hard to keep answering and can become pretty monotonous dinner conversation.
What I really want is to connect with my spouse, know his emotional and mental state – rather than just hear details about what he did and who he talked to. However, the details of our days interest each other and ultimately lead us to connecting on those deeper levels – but we’re learning to share them in ways that focus on what really matter and draw us even closer. So instead of asking “How was your day today?” ask “How are you?” I want to know how he is, not just what he did.
Here’s what we’re trying to avoid:
- Just a play-by-play of who we talked to
- A list of things we got done (or dwelling on what we didn’t finish)
- Things that are only objective and say nothing about how we’re feeling
Instead we are sharing things like:
- How things on our schedule affected us emotionally
- Something that was encouraging or exciting to us
- How the rest of the evening will go based on what happened today (lots of meetings = time to relax, lots of research = eager for conversation, tough emotionally = need lots of affirmation)
When Ben asks “How was your day?” – I tend to answer with a list of what I checked off the list. But that doesn’t tell him if I had a good day. And it doesn’t make me stop and assess my emotions. I’m learning to ignore the list of what I did, because I know that doesn’t define me. If that’s all I share with him, that becomes my identity. Read about my lesson on that in Am I A Good Wife?
We’re working on this change in both how we ask and how we share. Honestly, we’re not that good at it yet. But as we work on it together, this change has made us connect better at the end of a day and helped us learn more about the other.
Want more ideas for making your transition home easier? Read one of my favorite posts on Real Married Life, Welcome Home, Honey!