This is a fun exercise to help spouses interact more meaningfully at the end of the day. Often spouses are separated for many hours daily. During these hours your spouse can experience a myriad of thoughts, feelings, circumstances, and interactions. You know how it can be after you both finally get back together after a long day apart: The wife asks her husband, “So how was your day?” and gets a monotone “Fine.” The husband asks his wife, “So how was your day?” and gets a similar response. Then the two of you go on without ever talking in depth.
As a counselor I have known couples who interact like that day after day, year after year. When that happens, feelings of aloneness, separation, and even indifference can creep into a marriage.
The two E’s can help this conversation with your spouse go into a slightly different direction. With the two E’s you share two specific occurrences in your day so your spouse gets some window into where you have been and what you’ve been doing. The two E’s are Energized and Effort. Share with your spouse something that energized you and something that called for effort.
When you do the two E’s, face each other and give each other eye contact. Keep your sharing to something that did not involve your spouse.
Let’s look at an example.
Eli: Today I was energized by one of my coworkers. He was sharing how he used the ideas I had shared with him over lunch last week meeting with sales. He closed a good account and he actually told the owner that I had a part in that working out to be a sale.
Today work was an effort for me because I was stuck in traffic due to construction and that caused me to get behind. I really didn’t catch up for a couple of hours. Just sitting stuck in the car—it took every once of strength not to scream!
Vanessa: I was energized today when I talked to my sister Carol. She was so excited about Jon. Jon started to walk yesterday. It reminded me of when our children started to walk and just how fast the years go by.
It took effort for me not to break the phone when I was dealing with the mortgage company. They had voice-mail menus, and three times in a row I was disconnected.
You can see that this is just sharing a slice of your day with your spouse. This exercise takes a very small amount of time to do, but it can really make a difference. Both of you can feel like a part of each other’s day. I warn you, though: you can really get into this exercise and talk about the other parts of your day as well! As a counselor I say the more sharing, the better!