The beginning of a new year is traditionally a time when we put our lives under the microscope in an effort to make them better.
Once all the sugar-coated consumption has ceased many people evaluate the state of their health, resolving to lose weight, join a gym or eat better. Some focus on finances as they dodge credit card companies after spending more than was wise, resolving to put a budget in place and practice frugality. Others may direct their attention to their dreams, what they hope to accomplish in the next 12 months. Many worthwhile elements in life get evaluated as we hang up those clean-canvas calendars.
But most importantly the dawn of 2017 is a great time for taking stock of your marriage.
Evaluating where your relationship with your spouse stands at present in several key areas. Getting an idea of the overall scope of your union in order to see where you may need improvement. For if you don’t know where you are how will you know where you need to go?
On on unusually warm January day in the Hudson Valley, my Michael and I seized the opportunity to be outdoors for a long walk and talk. The objective: our annual marriage check-up. Ascertaining where our marriage stands in this first month of the new year, making sure we’re on the same page, hearing each other’s hearts and responding appropriately. Making sure our union is honoring God. As we walked, we took turns answering a series of questions. The uninterrupted time of exercise, sunshine and fresh air lent clarity and serenity to our conversation.
I expanded the list of questions we used to make it more comprehensive for marriages with children at home, in addition to empty nesters like us. Since it takes time to thoughtfully respond, you may decide to break the list into two sessions. We encourage you to use these questions, or others that uniquely pertain to you and your spouse. Make an appointment with each other for at least an hour of us alone time. Pray for God’s guidance and grace. And then ask away. If weather where you reside permits, being outdoors while you discuss your marriage can bring God’s presence even closer. Or maybe you’ll choose a quiet cafe or even your home after the littles are off to dream land.
No matter where you meet, God, the author of marriage beginning with Adam and Eve, will hold your hands and your hearts as you invest time into your most precious earthly relationship — your one flesh covenant of companionship. And for couples with children at home, taking time away from the demands of careers, kids, bills, chores, etc., is time well spent for the VERY BEST GIFT you give your babies are two parents who love and respect each other for as long as you both shall live.
A happy marriage translates into a happy, healthy family.
So here are some questions to consider…
On a one to ten scale — how happy are you in your marriage?
What’s good about it?
What’s not good?
Where do you need improvement?
How would you rank your emotional intimacy?
Your friendship with your spouse?
How happy are you with your communication? Amount? Frequency? Content — logistics vs. depth and meaning?
How happy are you with your sex life?
How’s your joint spiritual life? Are you growing closer to God and each other spiritually through obedience to Him?
Are you guarding the sanctity and purity of your marriage vows?
What’s the state of your personal relationship with God? Are you spending one-on-one time with the One who loves you best of all?
How are you doing with conflict resolution? How do you avoid the edge before falling into an argument?
How are you handling finances?
Are you keeping work/career in balance with your home life?
What are your fears?
Are your experiencing chore wars?
In dealing with your children are you presenting a united front?
What about how you use your free time? Entertainment? Hobbies?
Are you dating each other regularly?
Are you serving others together?
Is your relationship fun?
Or are you feeling bored? Is so, why?
What are the top three areas you would like to see improve in your marriage in 2017?
Where do you see your marriage a year from now?
Do you have a marital vision?
What kind of legacy do you hope to leave to your children?
Please return for the First Things First series with practical helps for deepening discipleship and by extension improving your marriage.
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