Working with A Spouse’s Timeline

Have you ever asked your spouse to do something – and then spent the
next decade of your life waiting for it to actually happen?

From relationship goals, to the honey-do list, life coach Connie Sokol
shares a patient approach to working with your significant others timeline.

Knowing a few coping skills in marriage—including the one thing your
husband wishes you knew but can’t tell you—can help you endure,
embrace, and even enjoy your spouse’s marital growth timeline.

1. Take the long-term view. A national survey of 400 men asked,
“What’s the one thing you wish your wife knew, but you can’t tell her?”
Hands down it was, “How much I love her.” That helps to know when the
garbage isn’t taken out, again. Sometimes we women get frustrated with
the short-term progress of our relationship but focusing on long-term
outcome keeps our perspective. Remember with personal change it
generally takes thirty days to a new habit, six months to a year to create
lasting change, but many years to create awareness first, then change
neural pathways to start and keep the change. The good news is that
research shows men are becoming more emotionally intelligent husbands,
with about 35% of them better understanding, connecting with, and being
influenced by his wife. So things are changing. It’s just a little slower than
we may like. However, I’ve noticed at the park, mall, or movie theater at
least 50% of the time men are the ones handling the babies or small
children. That was unheard of years ago.

2. Make Reasonable Requests. Reasonable requests are assessing
a need then doing something about it during the long haul. Then, if the
request doesn’t happen by the agreed time, moving forward on it yourself.
Choose one action to make a change. For example, years ago I had four
children, six and under, so I approached my hubby about taking a night
out. He said, “Why do you need a night out for yourself?” Hmm. So after an
enlightening discussion I opted for Wednesday nights at Barnes and Noble
with a good book and a slice of cheesecake, and came home a new woman,
wife, and mother. When trying to make this work, don’t go to extremes, i.e.
I’m doing it, too bad, or, I can’t do it at all. Instead, state your reasonable
request then offer a few solutions to choose from, like trade with a
neighbor for babysitting, or present a few different activity times (weekday
or early Sat. morning), etc.

3. Create Positive Coping skills. To ease the frustration of
different timelines, develop a set of positive ways to deal with it. Connect
with friends, work out, and create—finding a personal hobby or interest is
huge. With as little as 15 minutes a day, hobbies relieve stress, boost self-
esteem, creativity, passion, pleasure and accomplishments, and even
decrease depression. My hobbies have saved me over the years! Many years
ago I began writing stories, lame to be sure, but I improved. Then I wrote
for a small newspaper, then for a larger newspaper, then published a book,
and now have several books. All while bearing and raising six children,
simply by writing here and there. It’s about chewable chunks of time well
spent that help you stop watching the marital growth pot boil and live
happily today.

As you patiently work through marital changes, employ these three things
and you’ll feel more joy and peace while experiencing the natural timeline
of marital development.

Connie Sokol is a mother of six—expecting her seventh—and a presenter,
former TV and radio host, and author of several books, including Faithful,
Fit & Fabulous. For tips, columns, and books, visit

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