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Do you ever wonder how your marriage is doing? I mean, really doing.

I’m someone who enjoys knowing where I stand. I remember asking my wife a while ago if she felt like I made her a priority. Her answer: “Sometimes.”

Ouch!

It was hard to hear that. But it would have been far worse to not know that she felt that way.

Christa and I had a date night less than a week ago. During our date, I asked her if she wanted to do a marriage checkup. I had learned about the marriage checkup from Randy Bezet, Pastor of Bayside Community Church.

A marriage checkup consists of these six questions:

1. What’s one thing I like about you?

It is great to start off the checkup on a good note. Telling your spouse something you like about them gives them a sense of self-worth.

2. What new information do you have for me?

Life can be incredibly busy, and during certain seasons your marriage can feel like two ships passing in the night. You don’t really know how your spouse’s day went, and sometimes each of you can miss some very important information.

By asking this question, you show that you care about what’s happening in your spouse’s life. It also gives you a chance to catch up on the pertinent information you need to know.

3. What’s one question you have for me – about anything?

This may be a question you’ve wanted to ask for ages, but it never seemed like the right time. This is the time.

4. What’s one complaint you have about me?

This can be the most important question and the one whose answer requires the most maturity to hear. One key to this question is that it must relate to something behavioral.

5. What is one dream, hope or wish that you have?

In the midst of busyness, you can forget that your spouse has dreams and ambitions. By asking this question, you show that you’re still interested in making their dreams come true.

6. What’s one prayer request?

You can ask this question, and then grab your spouse’s hand and pray. This is a great way to end the marriage checkup.

Though some of these questions will be painful, they will help you both know where your marriage is at.

Our last date was amazing, and the marriage checkup added much to our conversation. If you need to rekindle dating in your marriage, check out this post.

Take what you learned in this post, add a question if you like – and begin the conversation!

One Scripture That Will Help All of Your Relationships

While I don’t believe in any silver bullets in relationships, there are a few simple things you can do that will have a tremendous impact.

Relationships will challenge all of us. Whether it is with your spouse, child, parent, boss, or colleague there will always be times of friction.

The relationship that has challenged me the most is raising children. I get the privilege of not only raising my own son but also being a part of foster children’s lives for short seasons. While I am blessed by the opportunities I have been given, there have been days where I needed a little wisdom in my parenting journey.

At the time of writing this, my wife and I are leading a small parenting group. Each week we watch a twenty-minute teaching, and then we spend the rest of the hour discussing what we learned. One week, during our discussion, a scripture popped into my head that will be helpful in any relationship:

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Jas 1:19
This passage gives you three things you can do to help all your relationships.

1. Quick to listen. When a loved one wants to talk to you, be ready to listen. I truly believe listening to someone is showing respect to someone.

When you listen to someone, it tells them that you care about what they are saying. Someone once told me that the person who had the biggest impact on their life was simply someone who had listened to them.

2. Slow to speak. Our quick responses get us in trouble. When we take a few seconds to filter through our emotions, we are more likely to respond instead of reacting.

We are to T.H.I.N.K before we speak:

  • True. Is what I am about to say true?
  • Helpful. Is what I want to say helpful?
  • Inspiring. Is what I want to say inspiring?
  • Necessary. Is this really necessary to say?
  • Kind. Is what I want to say kind?

The best way to be slow to speak is by being quick to listen. St. Francis of Assisi said, “Seek to understand before seeking to be understood.”

3. Slow to get angry. Anger in itself is not a sin, but the Apostle Paul told us, “to be angry and sin not.” If we allow our anger to control us, we are likely to make snap judgments. All of us can think of a time when we wish we had not allowed our anger to get the better of us.

Many times anger is heightened because of the issues we are already dealing with internally. These could be bitterness, rage, or envy. For this reason, we need to be proactive towards anger by spending time with God and casting our cares on him. If you need help getting your devotional time going, check out this post.

Imagine how much your relationships would be different if you put these three principles to use. People around you would feel loved and respected, and you would have fewer regrets.

Which one of these three is most challenging for you? How have you been able to overcome your struggles with the three principles listed above?
Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock

Five Ways to Bring Dating Back to Your Marriage

I had been single for most of my twenties, so when I saw a section on dating in our church library my interest was piqued. The first book that caught my eye was the Divine Revelation of Hell. Obviously, the book had been put in the wrong section, but it was slightly humorous.

Fast forward 10 years. I now had an amazing, beautiful wife, but our dating life was just okay. Honestly, I didn’t look forward to date nights as much as I should have. We knew things needed to change. Like most married couples, we could not say our dates were a “Revelation of Hell,” but we couldn’t say they were heavenly, either.

The reality is most people don’t put much effort into their dates. Sometimes, dating in marriage becomes more of a struggle than a blessing. We wait until Friday night to ask our spouse where they would like to go, to which we get the classic response, “I don’t know, where would you like to go?” Many times these conversations become sources of frustration as couples try to figure out what to do with their evening. My wife and I were left feeling as if there must be a better way, and there is.

1. Have a scheduled date night. We don’t want to show up on Friday night and decide whether or not to go on a date. Pick a day and frequency that works for you, and don’t let anything get in the way. It’s that important. My wife and I have date night every other Friday. This is non-negotiable for us. We need this time to connect one-on-one. We have to adjust which days we spend time alone as seasons of life change, but the frequency stays the same.

2. Plan ahead of time. This was probably one of the greatest frustrations of our dates. My wife loves it when we have a plan. There are some questions that have to be asked ahead of time—What are we doing on the date? What time? Who will watch the kids?

3. Ask your spouse on a date. I know you are married, but there is just something about asking your spouse to go on a date. When we get married the passionate pursuit of our spouse should not stop. You can call them, leave a note, send a text, etc.

4. Alternate responsibility. This has been a game changer for us. We alternate the responsibility to plan the night out. To even sweeten the deal, the partner who plans does so for the other’s pleasure. Husbands, when it’s your turn, select activities you know your wife will enjoy.

5. Let this be a no-distraction zone. It’s unfortunate this has to be said, but it’s a sad reality. When you are on the date make sure it’s about the two of you and not about Facebook, the ball game, etc.

If you put these five simple rules into effect, you will revitalize your dating life. I can’t tell you how much more I look forward to our date nights since we implemented them. Instead of being frustrated, I am focusing on one thing- my wife- and we are connecting with each other. For other ways to be a blessing to your spouse, check out this post.

Get together with your spouse this week and go through the list. Schedule a night, time, and planning responsibility and make it happen. Bring dating back to your marriage; you will be glad you did!
When are you going out on your first revitalized date? What else could you add to this list?

Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock