Today, I’m excited to share a guest post from Gail Goosby with a relationship challenge for you. Let’s set some good habits around our relationships—especially those with our spouses. Gail has some great tips here for spending one-on-one time with those closest to us.
Take the One-on-One Relationship Challenge!
Everyone wants to know and be known intimately by someone. We want to have relationships where connections can be quick and meaningful. Consider what you can do to ramp up your relationship investment.
The most important people in our lives should not have to wonder if we care about current challenges they are facing or achievements they have completed. They should be able to answer affirmatively that when they talk, we truly listen.
How can we experience the most from our meetings and conversations?
How can we communicate our presence, our full attention to the other person?
In Your Face and Off Your Phone
In today’s culture, being physically present and not looking at a phone are keys to quality conversations.
In a 2014 study conducted by Shalini Misra from Virginia Tech, people were observed from a distance conversing in a coffee shop. More than factors of age, gender, ethnicity, mood, topic, or relationship closeness, the presence of mobile devices impacted the overall satisfaction of interaction between participants. The absence of mobile devices resulted in higher level reports of empathy and superior communication.
With the present technology overload, device-free gatherings are unusual, whether in a restaurant, home, or conference room. The challenge is daunting but vital. Put aside beeping, blinking, tweeting equipment when engaging a person or a group.
Presence is Proximity and Purpose
When we do have the opportunity to connect one-on-one with a friend, family member, co-worker, or employee, we show our desire to be present with:
- Curiosity (find out something new)
- Good questions (go for deeper than surface reports on work and activities)
- Engagement (make eye contact, maintain positive body language)
- Appreciation (share something valuable about person)
- Active, responsive listening (don’t interrupt, occasionally check for understanding)
- Focus (avoid looking around, letting thoughts wander)
- Humor (tell a funny anecdote to release endorphins for everyone)
If you struggle with any of these, consider what barriers to good communication may exist. How can you overcome these barriers for a better conversation?
One-on-One Activity Ideas
Sometimes, it can be hard to come up with ways to spend one-on-one time with our child or spouse. We’ve fallen into bad habits of plugging into our devices and not connecting. If you’re looking for better ways to spend time together, here are some one-on-one activity ideas:
- play a board game. There are plenty of two-player board games that let you have fun and connect with each other.
- colour together. Sometimes it’s easier to talk when you’re focused on something other than each other, but you can still sit close.
- bake or cook a tasty treat, and then enjoy the fruits of your labour.
Satisfaction for All
Maybe the exchange happens while walking through the neighborhood or during a car ride. Perhaps in a kitchen, park, coffee shop, break room, or child’s room before bedtime. Wherever, whenever the chat takes place, plan to be present and phone-free and make it a quality time that both of you will enjoy.
Accept the One-On-One relationship challenge and purpose to have satisfying conversations with the important people in your life.
Who will be first on your list?
Gail Goosby, MA, MEd is a lifelong educator, including past leadership at an international school in Afghanistan. Gail and her pastor husband of 38 years live where the wind blows over the prairie in south Kansas. She counsels and coaches using God’s Word to help others learn to live well.