Asking these questions helps a husband understand his wife’s heart.
By Dennis Rainey
For many years, Tom and Jeannie Elliff took time from their normal routines to get away from their normal routines and spend time together. They read Scripture, they prayed, they had a wonderful time talking about their lives.
One year Tom decided to elevate the discussion and, in the process, open himself up in a way few husbands ever do. He developed a list of questions, basing them on issues he knew were of concern to Jeannie, and then sprung them on her at breakfast one morning during a retreat in the Rockies.
Here’s the list of questions Bill asked his wife:
1. What could I do to make you feel more loved?
2. What could I do to make you feel more respected?
3. What could I do to make you feel more understood?
4. What could I do to make you more secure?
5. What can I do to make you feel more confident in our future direction?
6. What attribute would you like me to develop?
7. What attribute would you like me to help you develop?
8. What achievement in my life would bring you greatest joy?
9. What would indicate to you that I really desire to be more Christ-like?
10. What mutual goal would you like to see us accomplish?
11. Have I overlooked any question you would like for me to ask?
You’re probably thinking, There is absolutely, positively, no way I’m ever going to ask my wife questions like that.
That type of vulnerability takes real courage.
When I interviewed Tom and Jeannie on my radio program, FamilyLife Today, I asked her how those questions made her feel. Jeannie replied that the first thing that crossed her mind was a sense of tremendous honor that her husband wanted to know how she felt about important issues in their lives. “I was almost blown away,” she recalled. “It was wonderful.”
Before her death in 2015, Tom reviewed these same 11 questions with Jeannie annually. When he told me about this experience, I couldn’t help but think it was a perfect illustration of 1 Peter 3:7, which instructs husbands, “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life …”
Asking these questions, and actually listening to your wife’s answers and writing down what she says, helps a husband understand his wife’s heart. It connects them in a deeper way and makes them accountable to each other.
This is the type of love, understanding, and leadership we are called to as men. So … okay men, copy these questions (you don’t have to tell her where you got them) and take her out for a nice meal or for a getaway and focus on her and understanding in some fresh ways.
CAUTION: Some of these questions may result in some uncomfortable moments! But you can do this thing and really express love to your wife. Keep on stepping up!
Excerpt adapted by permission from Stepping Up, copyright © by Dennis Rainey, FamilyLife Publishing.
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