Travels with Louise and Clark

No, that's not a typo. But with a nod to the 200th anniversary of the famous expedition, here's how you can keep your marriage adventure on the move.

But they didn't concentrate on just the natural world around them. Their daily journal entries reveal that Lewis and Clark were also attentive to the interior geography of their own thoughts and feelings.

How tragic that husbands and wives will be content to remain settlers when there's much to explore. Are you ready to get off the porch?

Successful exploration requires proven methods. Here are three solid strategies to re-launch your expedition:

1. Take daily exploration time. Dr. Gary Chapman says "every couple needs a daily sharing time to give each other undivided attention and to share life with each other." And that means going beyond the typical exchange of "how-was-your-day/fine-and-yours?"

That's what Louise and Clark had been doing. After spending nine hours apart during the work day, engaged in various activities and conversing with numerous people, they'd return home to summarize a combined 18 hours of life experiences into 18 seconds. Granted, the instant Clark arrived home wasn't the ideal time for them to connect and explore. They found the best time for them was after they put the children to bed, but before they began to nod off.

Some couples need to be more flexible with scheduling their share time. But you don't have to be legalistic about the frequency or length of your sharing time. Daily is a recommendation, not a requirement for success. Try starting with three sharing sessions per week, and go from there.

2. Ask thoughtful questions. Once you've set aside a sharing time, what next? Ask creative questions to jump-start conversation. Start with this: "What are two things that happened today, and how did you feel about them?" The description of feelings here is as important as the event details. Here's another good one: "Is there anything you read, heard, or saw today that made an impression on you?"

3. Plan new experiences. Fresh experiences move couples out of the settler routine. Life and relationships can become stale because routines become ruts. Husbands and wives need special moments not only for the actual enjoyment of those times, but for the anticipation as well.

We all need things—such as a concert, a play, or a weekend vacation—to which we look forward. Without special events or activities on the horizon, we drag ourselves through the day and through the week.

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Adventure; Boredom; Marriage
Today's Christian Woman, Summer, 2003
Posted September 30, 2008

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