One of the things many married couples fail to do is have regular check-in’s to ask “how are we doing?”
The reasons are obvious: life is busy; your kids, job, church, hobbies all keep you running at an insane pace. You want to believe you are being a great spouse or at a minimum, you are doing good. Sometimes though, having a check-in conversation means you will have a larger conversation that could turn into a fight and who wants that. Another reason is we don’t want to hear if we are failing and not meeting our spouse’s needs. We’d rather live in the world of bliss as if it is all okay.
The reality in life though, if you don’t ever have a check-in, evaluation if you will, you will never know if you are doing well. Life becomes a shot in the dark, a blind hope that you are doing well.
Let’s be honest for a minute, if you are married you want your marriage to be as great as possible. I am stunned when I tell couples these questions the look of fear or resignation they have. They are scary, but you want to have the best marriage possible. Right? Right.
In light of that, here are some questions I think you should ask your spouse on a regular basis:
1. Are you satisfied?
Right off the bat, this question can lead to some intense conversations, but that’s okay. You are both adults, you signed up for this. Ask them if they are satisfied, happy. Are you? If not, how can you move towards that. As your spouse answers, don’t fight, don’t argue, simply listen until they are done and then respond “what I hear you saying is…” Don’t get defensive.
2. Can I wear something or stop wearing something to be more attractive?
While this sounds like a question only men care about, it isn’t. I once had a sleeveless Adidas shirt that I loved but Katie thought was the most disgusting thing on the planet. She finally just threw it away. But ask this. Be willing to include every article of clothing for both of you. Strive to be attractive to your spouse. If they don’t like a shirt, a color, a pair of underwear, get rid of it. Speaking of underwear, a good rule of thumb is to clean out your underwear drawer on a yearly basis.
3. What do you like sexually?
I am stunned at how little spouses know about what their spouse likes sexually. We think we know, but especially men are clueless. So are you next date night, while you’re laying in bed, ask your spouse what they like and don’t like sexually. Don’t get defensive. And then when they tell you, maybe try it out.
4. How can I make your life easier? Less stressful?
I wish I could take credit for being a genius of thinking of this question, but I can’t. Katie thought of it. But it was eye opening. Recently at our RevCommunities someone asked about cleaning up the kitchen and Katie said, “Josh will take care of it, he does that every night.” Stunned silence and jaws hit the floor. Then Katie explained this question. Her answer was, “If I could clean up the kitchen each night, load the dishwasher, get coffee ready for her, that would make her life easier when she woke up.” Often, we do things we think will make our spouse’s life easier or less stressful, but it doesn’t. So ask. Wouldn’t you like to do what your spouse would like done instead of guessing?
5. Is there something you wish we did together?
This is a great relational question. Men like to do things together recreationally, that’s a high emotional need for men. It might be watching football together, working out together, gardening, whatever. But doing things together builds into your relationship.
6. How can I help you right now?
This is similar to #4 but gets at something immediate. You may have young kids and you can help with bedtime or the morning routine. Maybe one of you is in school and could use help. Again, don’t get defensive if you think you are doing this, but this is a great way to serve your spouse.
7. How can I help you get better? At what?
As your kids age and your life changes, this is a great question to ask. This helps you to keep growing and moving forward. One of the things I do on a regular basis is buy Katie books to help her keep growing as a woman spiritually.
8. What is the one thing our family should concentrate on in the next 3 – 6 months?
I love this question because it keeps you as a couple on the same page and moving in the same direction. This goal might be getting out of debt, losing weight, finishing a class, buying a house, starting a business, slowing down. But it helps if you both know and agree on what is the most important thing for your family right now, for the next year.
9. What is the next step for us? For our family?
This is a looking ahead question and is incredibly helpful so you can see around corners as a couple. Is school about to start? Are you about to pay off a credit card? What’s next? Is someone about to change a job? While you both know what is coming, we miss opportunities to talk about what will change because of that and how to best be prepared.
10. What do we need to cut out of our lives right now to live at a sustainable pace?
I think you as a couple should pull out your calendars each week and talk about what is coming up. You should also look at the next month(s) and ask “is this sustainable?” Should we slow down? Cut something out?” Too often, we simply keep running and wonder why we’re so tired without changing anything.
While not exhaustive, this is a good start. In fact, as your family grows, you get older, kids move out and life changes with new jobs or jobs being quit, you should pull this list out and revisit them as the answers sometimes change.