when to break SMART contact

When do you break SMART contact with your spouse? Perhaps your spouse wants to leave, and you freaked out. So you began to search the internet about getting them to stay. What can you say or do that will magically fix your situation?

Then you stumbled across Marriage Helper, and you heard about something that we like to call SMART contact or SMART communication. And now you’ve become the self-professed king or queen of SMART contact. So now you’re wondering when it would be appropriate to break SMART contact so that you can have more in-depth conversations with your spouse about the hard things. There are eight signs to look for before you even consider breaking SMART contact with your spouse and eight ways to break SMART contact the right way without making things worse.

If you master SMART contact, you may notice that your interactions with your spouse have become better after a while. They don’t seem to demonstrate as much animosity towards you as before. If that’s happening, pat yourself on the back. But is it time to break SMART contact when the standing spouse notices that their spouse isn’t being hostile towards them? They immediately think that their spouse may be having second thoughts about leaving or divorcing. I have to say, though, that is not necessarily true.


SMART Contact Works Because You Are Avoiding PUSH Behaviors

Side note, if you want to learn more about PUSH behaviors, we talk more about that here.

Think of it like this: If you have a wound and I keep poking that wound with a hot poker, it will get worse and worse. But if I stop poking the injury, does it automatically mean that that wound heals? Just because I stopped poking it? No. It means that I stopped making things worse.

It takes time for that wound to heal. The same goes for your relationship with your spouse. Just because you’re not poking or pushing sensitive areas with your spouse doesn’t mean that their emotional wounds completely heal; that they change their minds. But using SMART contact does create an environment where the wound can start healing.

However, remember this: it does not pull them back towards you. It is simply a shift into neutral. So if you’ve mastered SMART contact for a while, you may be saying, “How do I know when to break SMART contact?” Unfortunately, there isn’t a cookie-cutter answer. But I believe I can give you some things to look for in your situation.


How To Know When To Break SMART Contact

You want to be sure that when you break SMART contact, it is a slow evolution, and you don’t blow open the dam of emotions, letting everything come out. Begin slowly and gently. So here are some signs to look for before you consider breaking SMART contact.

If your spouse couldn’t stand you before and didn’t want to be in your presence, but they are now willing to hang around. This behavior may be a clue that they’re softening towards you. It is a good sign that they might be willing to talk a little bit about daily life, not your relationship.

When your spouse begins discussing things outside of the SMART contact parameters, such as telling you more about their day, this can also be a positive sign of progress. It can mean that you’re getting closer to the place where you can break SMART contact. Your spouse begins to say they miss you or reminisce about old times. This can signify that they aren’t vilifying you as much and they’re letting go of their rewritten history.

If your spouse says, “I think we should start doing things as a family,” they may be trying to return. This behavior doesn’t mean that they are sure they want to come home, but you have at least created an environment where they believe you can do things together without getting into an argument. If your spouse says you seem different and starts asking what you’re doing, they notice your changes, making them curious. It would then be okay for you to discuss things you’re doing to be the best version of yourself.

If they say they love you or start showing more than subtle affection, this doesn’t mean that they are ready for reconciliation, but it is a positive sign. If your spouse sends you text messages outside of the regular norms of SMART contact, you want to mirror their engagement. And if they tell you they want to reconcile, this is an obvious sign that they are ready for you to break SMART contact.

There Could Be Other Signs

These examples are not an exhaustive list; there can be other signs. Those are just a few to get you started. In every scenario, though, you always want to move slowly. You never want to say, “Oh, they want to talk more. Let’s jump into talking about everything.” No, you want to ease into communication, as you would wade into the shallow end of a pool. You want to test the waters. 

If you see that specific topics make them uncomfortable, pull back a little and change the subject. Notice your spouse’s facial expressions and body language. Become a student of your spouse and begin to pick up clues of how they may be feeling and respond to those clues when you’re attempting to break SMART contact. 


How To Break SMART Contact

So Let me quickly mention how you can break SMART contact. You can start by occasionally asking how their day went. Start talking about a topic they are interested in: gardening, football, or cooking. Don’t try to have an in-depth conversation, just a casual conversation. Ask them how their family is doing or if they enjoyed the holidays with their family. You can say things like, “You have been busy lately. What’s going on at work?” You can complement their new shirt or haircut. 

If things are much more relaxed, you may start asking what vacations they’re planning. And if things are much better, you can say something like, “How we communicate now is so much better. Thank you.” 

If your spouse is much more engaged, you can begin to slowly talk about emotions, being very careful not to push. Some important things to note: these suggestions are generalities. I’ll always recommend that you speak to a coach to help you if you’re unsure. 

Also, know that many times when you begin to venture into breaking SMART contact, you may have an excellent interaction, but it is followed immediately by a pullback. Respect the withdrawal and give some space. Don’t start saying, “What happened? We had a good interaction, and now you’re all cold again!” It Is just part of the process, giving them space and time. Then, typically, they begin to re-engage again. 


We Are Here To Help

So are you a master of SMART contact? We love hearing any success stories from our community. I hope this article has given you some insight on how and when you can start breaking SMART contact. I want to remind you that you always want to take it slow. You have done a great job so far. Guard all the hard work that you’ve done. 

If you’re not sure how to start getting your spouse back, click this link to access our free mini-course designed to teach you how to get your spouse to fall back in love with you. You can also click here to watch a video about saving your marriage while separated. Finally, if you want to speak with one of our client representatives here at Marriage Helper, you can contact us. They are not counselors, but they can help guide you to the next best steps for your situation. We’ll see you next time.