By Barbara Rainey
First posted on EverThineHome.com
Everyone has a story … a fascinating tale involving adventure, laughter, courage, pain, and romance.
You have such a story, and so does your spouse. Sometimes you just need the right questions to help you share your stories, as well as write together the intriguing saga of your shared life in marriage.
For example, how would you answer the following question:
If you could keep only one memory from your childhood, what would it be, and why?
A question like this may unwind a long spool of memories ... of trips you took as a family ... of holidays with cherished loved ones who may have passed on years ago ... of younger versions of your parents and your siblings ... of adventures you enjoyed with childhood friends ... and so much more.
And then think of answering a question like this on a date with your spouse, sharing memories you haven’t thought about for years, and then hearing his or her own answer.
Questions like this are not just a tool for better communication. If you capture your answers in writing they can also help create a lasting record of your relationship and your family. They can guide you to deeper transparency with each other just as Adam and Eve were completely open and honest before the Fall. Uncovered both physically and emotionally, these original lovers shared a perfect intimate relationship.
In our fallen world, finding such transparency is a struggle. But what enjoyable work–sharing in the unfolding plot of a story designed uniquely by God for just the two of you!
To encourage and help you take this path toward openness in your marriage, Dennis and I wrote 52 questions that are available to you in a very short weekly email. You can receive these emails free by clicking here.
Here are a few ideas to get the most from each question:
1. Remember to consider the right setting. We suggest you establish a personal, private, and special meeting place, and agree on a morning or evening sharing-time together. Some suggestions:
Talk over a cup of hot tea or coffee at home.
Meet somewhere for a lunch date, with plenty of time to go over a question or two.
Set aside some time at night after the kids go to bed.
Go out on a weekly date night.
Get away for a weekend and talk.
2. Write down your answers and date them in a journal. You’ll find that your answers will become more important to you as the years go by. And you’ll answer them differently next year or in five years.
Write down the words that your spouse uses frequently to describe feelings.
Take turns writing – the husband recording his wife’s responses and vice versa.
Write down additional questions that come to mind during your time together.
3. Remember to listen. Look each other in the eye as you share and talk together.
Listen … and seek above all else to understand your spouse.
Listen … and rephrase your spouse’s answers when appropriate.
Listen … and don’t retreat when it feels uncomfortable. Share what’s really important.
Listen … and try not to defend yourself if the conversation becomes uncomfortable. Remember “winning” is not the goal; understanding is.
Listen … and don’t react negatively to your spouse’s answers. Instead encourage each other to share deeper feelings by asking more questions.
May you see growth over this next year of 52 weeks and may you always keep investing in each other! Your marriage will benefit. Your children will benefit. And the ripple effect of a growing marriage will spill over onto others too.
Come grow old with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life,
For which the first was made.
Our times are in His hand,
Who saith, ‘A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half;
Trust God: See all, nor be afraid.’
Robert Browning (1812-1889)
My Heart, Ever His: Prayers for Women (NEW from Barbara Rainey)
As we search for meaning in our world of shallow online relationships and glamorized selfies, many are returning to traditional and liturgical churches. The repeated words, benedictions, and historic hymns connect us to saints who have gone before, giving us a sense of belonging, richness, and transcendence. Written prayers, once cast off as archaic, are now welcomed as guides to tune our hearts to the heart of God.
In My Heart, Ever His Barbara Rainey shares 40 prayers for women. Readers can read and meditate on one prayer throughout the week or read a prayer a day for 40 days as a way to express the longing of our hearts to our Father who loves us even as he sees who we truly are. Like the psalms of David, these prayers are honest, sometimes raw. Barbara uses these transparent expressions of common female experiences to encourage us to surrender to Christ and help us see God as he is, not as we assume him to be. My Heart, Ever His provides a stepping-stone to help you become more transparent with God and discover his welcoming embrace.
This is too good to keep to yourself! Share with a friend or family member using the links below!