These 5 things are very special to me. They bring me to tears each time I look at them. Some might look at them and think they are just simple Christmas ornaments. When I look at them, I see that I am known by my husband. These simple gifts tell me that he knows me.

One of our family traditions at Christmas is to get each person an ornament that is related to something about their year. Whether it’s a sport, activity, or something connected to the person’s character, we pick an ornament to match something special for each person. You can imagine that decorating our tree if full of smiles, laughter, and tears as we take a trip down memory lane together. I am looking forward to the Christmas season coming up!

Over the years my husband has given me many special ornaments, but these are some that make me feel I am known. One is in memory of the babies we’ve lost to miscarriage. One is of a favorite family picture when we only had two kiddos. Another commemorates our first Christmas as parents. The super woman symbol is for a year he wanted to honor me as a hard working wife and super hero to him and our kids. The last one is from the year I started my practice here in Florida.

Each of these simple gifts shows me that my husband pays attention, and I feel known. These gifts tell me that he really “gets me”.

Many couples I work with complain about not having “that loving feeling” anymore. They have lost the spark that connects them and often feel like their spouse doesn’t even know them.

An important part of marriage is the deep levels of intimacy that you get to experience together. One of those levels is knowing each other in a way that others aren’t privy to. It’s not just about physical intimacy, but it’s about the connection on a deeper level as you know your spouse inside and out. So I challenge you, do you know your spouse?

If you notice that you need some help, here are 4 ways to get your spouse to say “I am known”:

Study your spouse

Yes, I said study. Look for routines, patterns, preferences, etc. When you really sit back and pay attention, you might notice something different or new.

Ask questions

Don’t just accept one word answers. Ask deeper things that tell you about who they are, what they like and dislike, what they feel, and what they think.

Make it your goal to understand your spouse’s “WHY”-

We all do things without thinking, but most of the time we don’t realize there is a reason why we do what we do. Try to uncover the value and perspective that is underneath his/her actions.

Share more about yourself

Don’t make your spouse feel like they are on the hot seat. When you are both open and share deeper about your thoughts and your experiences, it creates a culture and safety that says it’s okay to do it.

What are some examples of times you have felt truly known by your spouse?