On our weekly date night as a couple, my wife and I often ask and answer these few important questions: “What am I doing right?… What do I need to do more of or improve in?… What is one way that I can serve you this week?” Surprisingly, our answers are almost always about things at opposite ends of the marriage spectrum. And honestly, after nearly 19 years of marriage, we shouldn’t be too surprised by it but have actually come to expect it.
My wife and I are so different in many ways, and as a result of that, like most couples, we see things from different perspectives. Some things that are important to me are not nearly as important to her and vice versa. Do you find this to be true in your marriage relationship as well? Does it ever cause tension between the two of you? Here’s a simple exercise to help you improve your marriage and learn how to love your spouse a little bit better.
Try it, I dare you. It’s as simple and finding out the answer to this question: What are the top 3 areas of importance in your relationship with your spouse? Do you know what they are?
Here’s an easy as 1-2-3 way to find out.
- Make a list of 10-12 areas of importance in your lives together (a clean house, unity in parenting, financial stability, a great sex life, good communication, peace with the in-laws, etc.).
- Ask your wife to select the top three that are most important to her. Even allow her to add areas you may have missed if needed.
- Once you’ve identified your spouse’s “Top 3,” honestly evaluate yourself (or better yet let your spouse evaluate you) by answering this question: “How am I doing at prioritizing these specific areas and what could I do differently or better in these areas?”
Allow your spouse to give you feedback. Because while all of the areas are important to get right, some are more important to your spouse than others, and you need to know which ones in order to be successful.
My wife and I have found that some of our most productive conversations come when we are willing to honestly and transparently answer each other’s questions and get specific about what matters most to us. Sometimes this happens at scheduled times like date nights, and other times this happens spontaneously and at unexpected moments like right before we’re about to fall asleep. We’ve learned to embrace them both.
We’ve also found that one of the fastest ways to get nowhere in your marriage is simply to assume your spouse knows what you’re thinking and thinks the same way you do. This breeds frustration and resentment over time. But by intentionally seeking to know and pursue each other’s personal needs and desires above our own, we have found one of the greatest keys to happiness in our marriage. Because…
The better you know your spouse, the better you can love your spouse.
The better you know your spouse, the better you can love your spouse.Someone once wisely gave me this advice about my wife. “To be successful, you need to know what makes her tick, and you also need to know what ticks her off.” That is some simple but good advice and this exercise is an easy way to help you to follow it. (If you haven’t already, another great way to help narrow down what your wife prioritizes in your relationship is to identify her love language at 5lovelanguages.com)
Once you know how to live successfully with your spouse by better understanding her and you’re willing to make some changes, you can often make all the difference between a good marriage and a great one.
Sound off: What changes are you going to make to improve your marriage?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “How do you show other people you care about them?”