My wife and I are about to celebrate 15 years of marriage, and last night I sent her a text from upstairs asking if she could turn the air on. She sent back that it was on, and I asked her to turn it down a couple degrees. She said we need to save money, and well… not to bore you, but this is it. This is how we communicate at this stage in marriage.
I was too lazy to go downstairs and talk to her in person, or better yet, turn down the air myself. She was obviously too lazy to come upstairs and chat with me, so we sent each other texts. With Mel working full time and me working two jobs, 90% of our communication is via text messages, and not all of it is thoughtful, funny, or interesting. Most are banal messages about picking up our kids, what we need from the store, who’s going to attend soccer practice, and so on and so forth. Sometimes we send emojis or, when we’re feeling really creative, gifs.
I will admit, most days I send my wife an “I love you” text. It usually means I’m thinking about her. But after years and years of doing this, I’m confident that my “I love you” text is about as exciting as asking her if the air is on. But with all the things we have going on, and how much of life with three children comes down to divide and conquer, it can be difficult to find the time to communicate like a couple people who actually love each other.
I have a feeling that if you have read this far, you understand our struggle, and Rebecca Strong might have a simple solution. She’s a relationship writer over at Elite Daily, and she recently wrote about the GFT text that has been a real game changer for her relationship.
Here’s how it works according to Strong: “The GFT involves sending one goal (G) for the day, one thing you feel good about (F), and one thing you’re thankful for (T).”
So to break this down, your “goal” could be getting caught up on laundry.
Okay, okay, I know… that was a funny joke. Honestly, if that’s your goal, you need to find a new goal, because laundry equals infinity.
Anyway, your goal could be something as monumental as laundry, and I’d respect you for it. But it could also be as simple as cleaning the dishes out of the sink, or picking up your children on time from preschool, to not getting frustrated while helping your daughter with homework (that’s my goal).
As for the “feel,” this is something you feel good about. You might list that you feel good about your body today, or perhaps you feel good about enjoying a muffin for breakfast, or the checklist you made this morning, or the fact that you put a nice note in your child’s lunch box. This is where you mention something that is making you feel accomplished.
Lastly, the “thankful” part. This could be as simple as being caught up on bills, or having a full tank of gas, or a job you enjoy. It could be the hug your child gave you before school, or that your car started this morning. In fact, taking a moment to list something you’re thankful for can really boost your mental health, so having thankful at the end of the GFT might make it seem less important, but in fact, it’s probably the most important part of this list.
How long does it take to do the GFT message to your spouse? Probably five minutes. Maybe less. But the results could be really remarkable. It’s a great way to break up those all business texts while learning a little something new about your partner. It’s a great way to show the one you love what you are grateful for, and what you might be struggling with. After being married for years, it can be pretty easy to get into a communications rut. Trust me, I know. I’m there. And there are times when I wonder if I will ever learn anything new about my wife.
But that right there, that’s when we need to give ourselves pause, because humans are complex and evolving beings, and for me to assume that I know everything about my wife is really foolish. What she is grateful for now is very different than what she was grateful for five or ten years ago. Also, the GFT strategy would help me understand how I can better support my wife in that daily grind.
I’m going to give it a try in my relationship, and I think you should too. Hopefully I can look back through our texts and see how much we’ve grown together rather than realizing that I was too lazy to go downstairs and turn on the air.