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Three Questions to Ask Your Spouse

They'll open doors for better communication and a stronger relationship
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Margie and Bill faced each other in two living room chairs. Four couples observed as this husband and wife demonstrated a process they share with each other every Saturday morning.

This particular evening was part of a six-week lesson and discussion with our church home fellowship group on building intimacy in marriage.

I glanced at the three-by-five card in my hand. Bill had passed out one to each person. "This is a personal exercise," he announced. "Each partner is responsible for his or her part." The headline read: "Three Questions to Ask Each Other Every Week."

  1. Is there anything that I need to apologize for? (i.e. Did I do anything that hurt you?)

  2. Is there anything you need from me that you're not getting?

  3. How can I be a better spouse?

I noticed my heart rate increase. There might be more here than I bargained for. Sure, I was open to a few tips. Charles and I had just celebrated 26 years of marriage and we could always use a refresher. Even so, a feeling of dread came over me. My husband and I were not the best at communicating about our own relationship. We were much better at evaluating other people's marriages!

I squirmed in my seat as I listened to Margie question Bill and then Bill ask the same of Margie. They were so honest. Not that I expected them to lie. Of course not. But could we do the same?

To Ask or Not to Ask

On the way home I asked Charles what he thought of the evening. "I don't think we need this process," he said. "We're talkers. We pretty much cover everything on a day-to-day basis."

I nodded, relieved not to wade in any deeper than we were already. And yet, I wanted to try—to see what would come up. My husband has a quick temper and I have a tendency to back off when things get hot so I couldn't predict how these questions would work for us.

And so we let it go, week after week after week. Then one day on a drive to the city, I suggested we test the process. We were in a good place emotionally and it seemed we could "practice" without the risk of a meltdown. He agreed. I started. "Is there anything that I need to apologize for?" I asked.

Charles paused. "I get frustrated by our lack of understanding each other, but it's not usually anything specific you've done."

Whew! I got by easy on that one.

Next question. "Is there anything you need from me that you're not getting?" I sensed the answer before it came.

"I'd like more sexual intimacy. I know it's not like it used to be between us (before his prostate cancer), but I'd like to at least be playful with each other."

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Displaying 1–3 of 17 comments

John

June 02, 2011  12:18pm

I find it interesting that she knew the answer to the second question (and probably has known it for quite a while) but (nicely) refused to do anything about it. Whats the use of doing this kind of excercise if it doesn't lead to change? What if his answer to her second question was "Thats nice, but I'm a 'doer', so the things I do around should be enough kindness for you". Everyone would be on his case, and rightfully so. So why then it is ok, when he asks her for more sexual intimacy, for her to say "Sorry, that's not who I am (or not anymore)". Don't ask the question if you aren't willing to make the changes needed. Particularly when the answer is a valid one.

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Maureen

December 20, 2010  2:40am

This is wonderful, i wish that my husband and i were on the same understanding about such things (talk freely and openly) but i still trust God to change things around for my marriage of 9 years.

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Winrose

December 19, 2010  2:20am

Nice article.I will have to pray first before I introduce it to my husband because he tends to disregard written articles saying he is different and does not have to follow a write up.

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