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Contacting Your Spouse in a “SMART” Way
It is tax season. “Yay,” said no one, ever, except it’s a great time for you to use SMART Contact™. Okay, you might be thinking, “What is smart contact and why is this girl so excited to be talking about it? I don’t know what’s going on.”
Side #1: Contact Them Every Day
One of the things that we talk about here at Marriage Helper, especially for marriages that are going through some kind of separation is something called “S.M.A.R.T. Contact.” A lot of people teach, “Well, you should still try and contact your spouse every single day because they need to hear from you in order to remember you, and that’s gonna keep you on the forefront of their mind.” What we found at Marriage Helper is, that it doesn’t work. It typically just pushes your spouse further away.
Side #2: Don’t Contact Them At All
The other side is that some people teach, “Well, you should just stop contacting them all together because absence makes the heart grow fonder.” If they never hear from you, then they’re gonna wonder where you went, and they’re gonna reach back out to you, and that’s what you want. And that’s not a great idea either.
Marriage Helper Teaches S.M.A.R.T. Contact:
That’s why at Marriage Helper we teach S.M.A.R.T. contact. You don’t wanna over contact. You don’t wanna stop contact. But you wanna be smart about the ways that you do contact your spouse and initiate conversation.
We have another video about S.M.A.R.T. Contact on our YouTube channel here: https://youtu.be/5Rb1CIgt37I
In it, you will find more about, in-depth, what smart contact is about.
M: Managing “Business Items” Together
S.M.A.R.T. Contact is an acronym. Each letter stands for something. But one of those letters, the M, is manage business items together. So one of the great ways that you can contact your spouse, because it makes sense, and it’s not pushing them or trying to talk about your relationship, is when you have business items to manage together. Now, that doesn’t literally mean having a business together. You don’t have to own a business. Although, if you do, that’s a great opportunity as well. But it’s things that have to do with just the in and outs of life.
Any things that have nothing to do with your marriage, nothing to do with what’s going wrong in your relationship, but things you need to talk about because they’re transactional, i.e. you need to tell him or her about something. They need to tell you about something. And when tax season comes around, you have to reach out to your spouse in many instances in order to get tax documents, or to just talk about how to file, different things like that.
A Couple of Tips When You’re Trying To Implement: “Manage Business Items” Together
Tax season is actually a great opportunity for you to implement these smart contact things that we talk about. So here’s a couple of tips for you during this time of year.
Tip #1: Don’t Mix Business Issues With Relationship Issues
If you do get that opportunity and need to reach out to your spouse about something that has to do with your taxes then, number one, don’t try and mix that with relationship issues. So don’t use this as an opportunity to say: “Hey, I need a copy of your W2. Oh, by the way, I’m still really mad that you left.” It’s NOT going to work for you in the long run.
What you really want to do is use this as an opportunity to just get them to answer the phone, or get them to call you back, or get them to have a conversation with you. And when you are asking for those business items, those tax-needed items, don’t include anything about your relationship in it. Bite your tongue. Do whatever you need to do to stop yourself from adding anything in thinking, “Well, if I can just make them see how much I miss them, or see… or make them feel guilty for what they’ve done, then they’ll change their minds and wanna come back home.” It’s not gonna work. Just use this opportunity to simply have a friendly discussion about tax items needed.
Tip #2: Be The Best “You”- Be Strong And Calm
Here’s the second tip. During this time, as you’re asking for those items, use it as a chance to show that you are changing, or that you have changed. Be strong, and calm and gentle in your approach to them. Don’t act like you’re walking on eggshells, or be too emotional when you have this conversation with them. Instead, either call, or if you’re having the conversation in person, which is the preferred method, then just act like you but you, the best version of you. Not the you who might have been whining or pleading or begging for you spouse to come back, but a you that is dressed well, and has your hair done, and you look great and you feel great and it’s like you’re talking to your best friend, or like you’re talking to someone that you’re doing an interview with. You wanna put your best self forward in these conversations.
Tip #3 Have Realistic Expectations
Here’s the third tip for when you’re having these tax conversations with your spouse during this season. Don’t expect anything to come from it, because if you’re expecting a second thing to come…:
- A phone call, follow up phone call, or anything like that
- For your spouse to call you back and to be able to move forward in your relationship
- For them to come back want to fix things all of a sudden
..Then you’re going to be nervous when you’re having that initial tax conversation with them to begin with. So don’t expect anything from it. Just use it as an opportunity to let your best self shine forward.
Be strong, be calm, be gentle. It’s a great opportunity to practice that smart contact. Again, go and look at our other YouTube video ( https://youtu.be/5Rb1CIgt37I ) to learn all about what that means, and take advantage of this. It’s a great chance for you to put the things that you’ve been practicing, the things you’ve been working on into practice, and to hopefully move your relationship forward.
Here’s The Goal: Your Spouse Is Comfortable Speaking With You
The goal of this is to simply get your spouse to be okay with talking to you again. If they can feel safe and comfortable, and feel like they can have a conversation with you without you berating them, or attacking them, or making them feel guilty, or pleading for something…if they can just start to have normal conversations with you, and they see that that can happen over, and over and over, then that’s when they’ll start feeling comfortable with coming back to you. Maybe even talking about their day, maybe opening up about things going on in their life, and that is the key to what you’re looking for.
If you’re trying to figure out how to get your spouse to start communicating with you again, check out our SMART Contact™ Toolkit!