When your stepchildren are at their mom’s house, or in their rooms, or at a friend’s house, what do you and your husband talk about? Do you badmouth the ex? Complain about the in-laws? Curse the family court system? Check out this quote from an article by Denise Ngo in Tango magazine:
“A recent study published in Psychological Science says that people are happier when they spend more time discussing meaningful topics than engaging in small talk. Seventy-nine college students had their conversations recorded and analyzed by researchers, who distinguished between chit-chat about the food or the weather from discussions about philosophy, education, or religion. Subjects who reported the greatest amount of satisfaction spent only 10 percent of their conversation on small talk, while the unhappiest subjects kept 28.3 of their talking time in the shallow end. Researchers have yet to conclude whether people are happy because they can talk deeply, or whether they talk deeply because they are happy.”
Marriage researcher John Gottman, has also written about how couples who feel like they have a higher purpose for being together are happier. For instance, couples who volunteer together or plan an exciting future they can look forward to find greater meaning in their relationship. For the next week, pay attention to what you and your spouse talk about. At least once take the time to talk about something bigger — your dreams, your goals, your hopes. Talk about the things you want to do before you die. Talk about what kind of contribution you both want to make to the world.