Know Your Spouse
We want to help your marriage flourish with gospel fruit during the coronavirus pandemic! In our Forming Healthy Marriages in Hectic Times series, we will highlight four ways to leverage this season and cultivate a healthy marriage. Here's the first thing to consider: the importance of knowing your spouse!
If you're married, the Lord has given you a beautiful ministry dedicated to helping your spouse love and trust Jesus. This is a good and precious gift! However, our ministry to our spouses is rooted in how well we know the gospel, and how well we know each other. If we are to truly help our spouse see the beauty of Christ in the gospel, then we must zealously seek to understand how the gospel applies to our spouse’s thoughts, feelings, and circumstances.
We grow in our knowledge of the gospel through the Spirit-led study of God’s Word. But how do we grow in knowing our spouse? Here are two ideas that will help you better understand your spouse!
Reflect On Your Marriage
First, on a repeated basis (annually, quarterly, etc.) set aside time for intentional conversations about the health of your marriage. This will look different for each couple, and that’s okay! For some, you might consider giving your spouse time to reflect on a series of questions and then discuss them at a later date. For others, you might simply discuss your feelings over a dinner. Regardless of how it looks, the goal is the same: have an honest and intentional conversation about how the gospel is fueling, shaping, and impacting your marriage. Use wisdom and care as you decide the best setting, then consider using our Marriage Reflection Discussion Guide to help shape your conversation! Being stuck in a house during a pandemic is a perfect opportunity to reflect on your marriage. So, whether you’ve never done this, or haven’t done it in a while, take some time to reflect together!
Get To Know Your Spouse (And Never Stop)
No matter how long you’ve been married, you can always grow in knowing and understanding your spouse. God has given you a unique spouse who processes the world in unique ways. In order to care for your spouse and point them to the hope of Christ, you must know how to apply God’s Word to them in personal ways. So, what should we know about our spouses in order to care for them well? Here are four categories of questions that will help you better know your spouse.
Know Their Personality
Your spouse is unique and you should seek to understand them. This includes their personality, the way they think, what they like, and how they process their circumstances. Consider asking questions like:
- What do you like? What do you hate?
- What gets you excited and what gets you angry?
- How do you think about _____? What is your opinion about ____?
Know How To Talk To Them
Each spouse receives information differently. Since so much of our care comes down to listening well and sharing timely gospel truths, we need to know how to communicate in ways that build trust. This will require talking to each other in ways that are respectful, gentle, and compassionate. Here are some questions to ask, so that you can understand how to talk to your spouse in ways that build trust:
- How can I help you process thoughts, ideas, and plans?
- How can I best encourage you in ways that are genuine and meaningful?
- How can I best communicate with you so that you feel honored, heard, and cared for?
Know Their Heart
Each spouse is a worshipper and we want to help our spouses continually worship Christ! To do this, we need to know our spouse’s heart and continually redirect it to Jesus. You can get to know their heart by asking questions like:
- How are you thinking about God in this moment?
- How are you viewing yourself?
- What is motivating you and why?
Know Their Life
Each spouse has a unique set of life circumstances. You should seek to know and care about the little things that happen in your spouse’s life. You can ask questions like this to get to know what’s going on in your spouse’s world:
- What happened at work/home/school/etc.?
- Is there anything that is burdening you right now?
- Is there anything that is exciting you right now?
Additionally, David Powlison has produced an excellent article with a list of questions to help you get to know someone’s heart. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with these type of questions.
A PhD in Your Spouse
Here’s a goal for you: get a PhD in your spouse.
Just like PhD students spend years studying and preparing so they can master their field of study, you should seek to know your spouse with the same level of depth and fervor.
Many of us think that we need to do a lot of learning in the dating and pre-marital stages. So, we spend a lot of time dating, asking questions, and getting to know our future spouses, then the wedding day comes, and it seems like we give up. This often happens because we think marriage is the goal; the graduation day from engagement. But in reality, the wedding day is like entering Kindergarten; it's the beginning of our journey.
So, here's what you need to know: you're not done learning, you've only begun this glorious process of knowing the spouse God has given you for your good and His glory. So, how do we pursue getting a PhD in our spouse? It starts with initiating a conversation (I'm looking primarily at you, husband), and seeking to know your spouse so that you can care for them better. Start with a conversation and continue that conversation for the rest of your life together.