In every strong marriage, intentional communication is key. These couples work past the basic “how was your day?” conversation and speak openly and vulnerably about the good topics, as well as the hard, just as you would with your very best friend.
Healthy couples aren’t afraid to ask questions that they don’t want to hear the answer to. Their primary goal is to grow closer to their spouse, not to protect their own feelings.
Healthy couples aren't afraid to ask questions that they don't want to hear the answer to. Their primary goal is to grow closer to their spouse, not to protect their own feelings. Click To Tweet
Jesse and I often have what we call our: “Where are we at?” conversation. In this, we speak to one another, very openly and vulnerably, about the good stuff in our marriage as well as the really hard stuff.
But if we want our marriage to grow and to be glorifying to God, sometimes the hard questions get us to the best places.
Here is the most important key: Put your guard down beforehand. Before you approach these questions, determine that you will not respond in defensiveness (no matter how wrong you think they might be.) You likely won’t ever get anywhere if you are unwilling to hear how your spouse FEELS.
1. Just remember, if you respond in anger to a question that you’re asking for honesty on, the next time that you try to have this conversation it won’t go smoothly. Your spouse will be fearful. This isn’t the time to interject with your opinion or to disagree, because how they feel is how they feel. And that is SO important.
Even if you don’t agree with how they feel, this can’t become a debate. This is simply a time for you to receive. If we wish to place our spouses above ourselves in all things (which we are called to do) we need to take their feelings to heart.
2. Make changes. Talking does absolutely nothing if you aren’t active and intentional about making real changes after each discussion. Repent of what needs to be repented of.
Remember: It takes a sinner to repent, it takes a victim to forgive and it takes two people to reconcile.
Remember: It takes a sinner to repent, it takes a victim to forgive and it takes two people to reconcile. Click To Tweet
The only way your relationship will be enduring is if repentance of sin and forgiveness of sin are practiced – sometimes DAILY – because we sin daily! And if this repentance doesn’t happen, your relationship is likely grow bitter – instead of better.
Here are some verses to back this up:
Ephesians 4:31-32 says:
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
And Hebrews 12:15 says:
“Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.”
Jesus is the reason for us working on our marriages, even when we want to give up.
Jesus is the reason that we fight through the hard moments, even when every ounce of energy is drained from us and even in seasons when we feel like we’re no longer in love.
Jesus is the reason that we fight through the hard moments, even when every ounce of energy is drained from us and even in seasons when we feel like we’re no longer in love. Click To Tweet
He is good, He loves you and He desires for your marriage to be one that brings beauty from the ashes.
A great marriage doesn’t come by hoping for it. It’s a combination of a lot of the little things like these, and some very big things, that add up to create a healthy, strong and joyful marriage.
You’re not expected to have a perfect marriage. But we do believe it’s helpful for sinful people to constantly be focusing on the righteousness that Christ has bestowed upon us. We will always be challenging ourselves in our marriage and learning these lessons, then falling right back into those same struggles, then needing to re-apply what we’ve learned.
Francis Chan says this, “Eternal mindedness keeps us from silly arguments. There’s no time to fight. We have better things to pursue than our own interests. Too much is at stake! God created us for a purpose. We can’t afford to waste our marriage by merely pursuing our own happiness.”
15 Monthly Questions to Ask Your Spouse:
In what ways am I serving you well?
In what ways, if any, do I make you feel disrespected or unloved?
What have I done in the past few weeks that made you feel really loved, if anything? If there isn’t anything, what are a few examples of a situation that I could have done better?
In this season of your life, what are the best and most practical ways that I can serve you?
In my own life right now, do you see that I am seeking Jesus or am I focusing on the wrong things?
What is one practical step that I need to take to make our marriage better?
What is one fun thing you always want to do that I don’t give you the opportunity to do?
Have I made you feel sexy and attractive this month? If so, how?
If you could change one thing to make our marriage better, what would it be?
What are some practical things that we can do as a couple to love the people around us better?
What have I done recently that made you feel good in front of other people?
What have I done recently that has made you feel disrespected in front of other people?
What is something that I’ve done sexually that you’ve really enjoyed OR what is something you wish we would do more?
What was your favorite date night with me this month (or in the past couple of months) and why?
What are three things that you love about me right now?