Monday, October 29, 2012

Marriage Success Strategies: 2. Ask

This post is the second in a series.

Have you ever taken your car to a mechanic, or taken yourself to a doctor, and heard the “expert” begin by asking you questions? As you listen, the idea dawns on you, “If I had asked these things myself much earlier, found the answers, and implemented them, I might have avoided this car repair or health checkup entirely!”
So it goes with marriage. A troubled couple, on the brink of divorce, visits a counselor. He or she asks the husband and wife some questions. They are very predictable and quite easy to understand. “What issues have you faced?” “How have you tried to resolve them?” “What steps could you take to draw closer to God and one another?”
The ironic thing is that this couple could have asked themselves these questions much earlier and saved a lot of grief!
Unhappy couples, however, practice a “Don’t ask; don’t tell” policy. They do not seek ways to improve. They do not indicate what they really need to make the marriage thrive. They drift apart, and they lose their love.
It’s simple but true. No one knows what your spouse needs but your spouse. You will not know unless you ask. When you do ask, he or she will greatly appreciate it and will almost certainly tell you!
Here are some powerful questions that will get you started. You may pick just two or three. You may add others. Husband, be the leader by asking your wife first and by listening very carefully to her responses.
● In our happiest days together, what do you think we were doing right? Together, let’s come up with three to five “success” areas.
● When – in what circumstances – do you feel that we have been the closest? What were we doing that made it work?
● If we were to set aside an hour each day, and a date night each week, how would you like to spend that time?
● How could we develop a clearer spiritual focus? What steps could we take together to pray more, discuss Scripture more, and grow more?
● When we married, what primary needs did you think I would meet? Suggest three to five of these. (The list from Willard Harley’s book, His Needs, Her Needs, includes these: affection, conversation, honesty and openness, financial commitment, family commitment, sexual fulfillment, recreational companionship, an attractive spouse, domestic support, and admiration. You may choose some of these or add your own.)
● Which of these needs could I try to meet more effectively? How can I improve? Please, just one at a time!
● What could I do this week – or even today – to show you that I am genuinely trying to improve in this area?

● If I actually do improve, will you then commend me and encourage me?
● How can I better support you in your role as the mother (or father) of our children? Be specific.
● How can we work together better in raising our children? Be specific.
● How (1 to 10) would you rate the trust in our marriage? Why?
● How can I improve the trust in our marriage?
● How (1 to 10) would you rate the communication in our marriage? Why?
● How can I improve the communication in our marriage?
● How (1 to 10) would you rate the intimacy (closeness) in our marriage? Why?
● How can I improve the intimacy (closeness) in our marriage?
● Now that I have asked you, and I have listened attentively, would you ask me these same questions and show me the same respect?
Do you want a successful, happy marriage? It’s waiting for you. Just ask.
Cory Collins

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