Are you?? (I have a series of questions to ask you…)
Talking to each other?? – not just about the daily grind, the weather and the chores to be done around the house, but at a deeper level – opinions, feelings – pushing through the defenses and barriers?
Listening to your spouse? If you really care about him/her, then look them in the eye, ask a question, pause, let them answer, think about what they said. Then respond. Put away the bristle broom, the knee jerk reaction. Don’t try to finish the sentence for them. Let them answer in their way at their speed. You may be the road runner and they may be the plodding turtle, but try it.
Having fun together? Laughing, smiling, sense of humor? Do you as a couple have a sense of humor? Are you making positive memories with each other?
Romancing your spouse? Are you dating your spouse? Do you go out to dinner, lunch, coffee or dessert together? Watch movies together? Go on walks, bike rides, boat rides, etc, together? Physical affection – do you show it – hugs and kisses, hand holding, an arm around the shoulder? Cards, love notes, flowers, surprise dates out? Enjoyed a sunset or sunrise together lately? We live in the best place in the world to see both. Get out there and check them out. Remember what the Lord said about marriage when He started it?
See Genesis 2:23-24 – ‘The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.’
– Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh, Affectionate names you call each other – See Song of Solomon. The word ‘darling’ is used 9x. The word ‘beloved’ is used 26x. Words of affection are sprinkled throughout.
Is there love and respect? Do you have it for each other? Wives and Husbands – Ephesians 5:33 ‘Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.’, Show her honor, prayers answered –
1 Peter 3:7 ‘You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.’ Cherish –
Ephesians 5:29 – ‘for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church’
Are you forgiving your spouse for things said last week or yesterday as well as 30 years ago? Are you letting the sun go down on your wrath? Or are you keeping short accounts and communicating about things that bug, frustrate, or offend you?
See Ephesians 4:32 – ‘Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.’
Finances? Who handles them for your family? How are you doing? Do they control you or do you control them?
Are you in it for the long haul? – Not drudgery but daily enjoyment. How do you show commitment to your spouse, day by day, month by month, year by year? Die to yourself and consider the other one’s needs as more important than your own
Phil 2:3 – ‘ Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;’
Are you an empty nesters? – Do you have things to talk about besides the kids and grand kids? Develop some joint interests – Watch movies, do read alouds, take walks together, develop hobbies.
What are your expectations? – What are your expectations for your spouse? And what are your expectations for yourself? (Chores inside and outside the house, cooking, cars, paying bills, etc, etc?) Have you communicated them to him/her? Have you negotiated some sort of agreement? If so, how are you both doing at keeping your side of the agreement?
Is there Give and Take, or just give or just take? Do you feel like give and take in your marriage means I give and he takes? Or are you both willing to give 100%, not just 50% and meet half way? Are you laying down your life for each other? Putting one another first? Or putting yourself first? See Galatians 5:13 – ‘For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.’
Are you open to seeing yourselves as a couple that does ministry, that regularly open your home and heart in hospitality to others? Remember Paul’s friends, Priscilla and Aquila? They had saints in their home in Corinth and Ephesus, led a home church and were people of influence – remember how they took Apollos under their wings and helped him grow in his understanding of the Lord? (Acts 18, Romans 16, 1 Corinthians 16)
To Sum it up – Pick up and hug your relationship. Pay attention to it. Work at it. Pray for each other. Take initiative to make it better.
**Note: All scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible.**