Marriage Retreats Pastor & Ministry Leader Retreats The Journey Marriage Intensives

Let’s Talk Marriage Communication Exercises

April 1, 2024

Three Simple Communication Exercises for Couples To Incorporate in Their Marriage 

Let’s talk—it’s the two-word phrase that strikes terror in the hearts of men and women around the world. But why does communication feel so terrifying?  

You may be out of practice. In the beginning of you and your spouse’s relationship, communication was everything. From discovering each other’s favorite foods to gently sharing how you like to be kissed, talking was an aphrodisiac that led to deep connection. Once you knew one another’s go-to pizza toppings and stories from childhood, your relationship began relaxing into a comfortable companionship. And that’s not a bad thing! Comfort and safety are vital keys to a long-lasting marriage. But here’s the catch. At some point, if you stop making the effort to discover new things about your spouse, share your dreams and feelings, and dive into the deep end occasionally, then your relationship will stop growing. 

In most marriages, the lack of communication happens very quietly because you’re still talking. It’s just that you’re talking about the kids, work, what’s happening at church, grocery budgets, car trouble, and, “Could you take out the garbage on your way out?” Yes, you’re talking and sharing your immediate needs, but you’re missing out on connection.  

So let’s get your connection back in shape with a few simple marriage communication exercises. Don’t panic—it’s like walking back into the gym after a while. It may feel awkward at first, but with a little perseverance, you’ll see big results—fast! 

The Evening Constitutional 

An easy, evening walk taken after a meal used to be called a “constitutional” because it created a powerful touchstone for health, mental wellness, and connection. In this marriage communication exercise, remember the journey is the destination.  

  1. Ask your spouse to join you for an evening stroll. Walking side by side requires a natural give-and-take to find the right pace. The subtle communication of getting into your groove begins before you’ve spoken one word.  
  2. Once you’re settled in, take deep breaths and soak in the surroundings. Resist the temptation to jump into a deep conversation or fill the space talking about the family schedule. Instead, quietly focus on the sound of your spouse’s footsteps, be grateful they’ve taken the time to walk with you and enjoy the moment. 
  3. When you get home, give your spouse a long hug and thank them for coming with you.  
  4. Repeat daily. 

How can this help? Walking changes your physical state, increases blood flow and energy levels, and soothes frazzled nerves. It also creates a great starting point for a stronger connection. You’ll notice after a few quiet strolls it will suddenly be natural to walk and talk.  

The key here is to keep the conversation light and positive. Try holding hands and telling your spouse how much you appreciate them. Or take turns choosing one of these conversation starters for your time together. The power is learning to leave the calendar and the laundry list of to-dos at home and connect as two people in love.  

Younger married couple using our conversation starters, working on their communication with our ideas for marriage communication exercises

The Rubber Band 

Because you and your spouse know each other so well and are so comfortable with one another, it’s easy to let criticism and negativity seep into your daily conversations. Try this marriage communication exercise, a take on a clever and widely popular exercise created by Rev. Will Bowen. Start out trying it for one day, and you will be challenged to pay attention to where complaining and critical language is creeping into your relationship. Bonus points if you can make it to 21 days.  

  1. Place a loose-fitting rubber band or silicone bracelet on your right wrist.  
  2. When you catch yourself complaining about your spouse or responding critically or negatively toward them, move the rubber band to your other wrist.  
  3. Take a few seconds to quietly thank God for making you aware and helping you seek humility. 
  4. Apologize to your spouse for jumping into a critical response. Ask them to start again with the conversation and work to listen without judgment.  
  5. Repeat. 

Don’t be surprised or ashamed if you break a couple of rubber bands by moving them from wrist to wrist. In the business of life, it’s easy to assume your way is the best way and to forget to truly listen to understand your spouse rather than listen to just respond to them. When you work to listen without judgment, it’s easier to find peaceful solutions to problems and gain a deeper understanding and respect of their perspective. 

The 30 Second Kiss 

Research shows it only takes six seconds for a kiss to become a connection. What’s more amazing is that in six seconds of this nonverbal marriage communication exercise, the brain gets a dose of oxytocin, stress begins to subside, your immune system gets a jolt of “shared” antibodies, and a sudden boost of dopamine releases a desire for closeness and affection. So let’s put it to the test. The only downside is this one will take some practice. Don’t you hate homework?! 

  1. Set a timer for six seconds and kiss. You may be surprised at how long six seconds can feel if you’ve gotten in the habit of a quick peck on the way out the door.  
  2. For the next week, before you depart from one another for the day, look your spouse in the eyes, say, “I love you,” and give each other a six second kiss.  
  3. Repeat when you reconnect at the end of the workday. 
  4. As the week progresses, add time to your kisses each day until you break the 30 second mark.  

Though this may seem like an exercise in intimacy, research also shows that couples who kiss often have higher levels of satisfaction in their overall communication and increased feelings of trust, commitment, and connection as a couple. All those feel-good hormones set you up for success in your conversations and interactions, making it easy to shift your focus from surface level discussions to deeper and more meaningful communication. 

Getting back to a place where you’re connecting can take some time, but think of it like weight training. In the beginning, it’s not the weight or the subject matter that makes the biggest difference, it’s the repetitions over time. Once you’re back in the routine of using your communication muscles, you’ll be excited and prepared to do the heavier lifting and reap all the rewards those deeper conversations bring. 

If You Like This Content, Visit WinShape!

If you like this content, consider attending a WinShape Marriage Retreat like Courageous Communication!

Get Marriage Resources Sent to Your Inbox