There’s nothing wrong with watching Netflix and relaxing as a way to connect with your spouse. However, it would help if you didn’t let that be all you choose to do as a couple. Deep, intentional and purposeful discussions with your partner help to keep your marriage well-connected and robust. Having questions that help start these conversations is helpful to prompt you past the conversations that are only focused on the details of the day and consider the bigger picture of your lives together.
One of the biggest fears for married couples is to wake up 20 years from now beside their spouse and feel like you don’t know them. It may seem like a dramatic fear, but it’s easy to slip into a place of complacency that doesn’t take time to look past what you see on the surface with each other. The easiest way the devil can steal from marriages doesn’t often look like infidelity or dramatic breaks of trust. It’s actually letting life consume you to the point that you slowly become strangers living in the same house.
The way to avoid the slow fade out of love is intentionality, being present with each other regularly, and having fun together when possible. It looks like staying on the same page about the little and big things, cheering each other on, and being there to uplift each other when you’re stuck in a rut. It may be work, but it’s worth it. Here are some questions that’ll help you stay connected to your spouse.
"What are your feelings about our marriage?"
You and your spouse may be opposites. You might have recognized this in the beginning because when you participated in those games when you had to answer the same question, you almost shared none of the same responses. Nonetheless, it might’ve taken you some time to appreciate how different you are. Not surprisingly, you’ve realized that you and your spouse often have different perspectives on how your marriage is going. You might project your feelings onto your spouse without asking them what they think, creating some problematic interactions.
To avoid these problematic interactions, make it a point to ask your spouse how they feel about your marriage before jumping into how you’ve been feeling. It’s also helpful for you to gauge if they confirm your feelings. If you both feel disconnected, it’s a good indicator that an issue should be addressed.
"What is God putting in your heart this season?"
Most people love the New Year season because it always causes us to stop and think about what God is doing in our lives for that new year and reflect on what He’s done. We should probably have these discussions more than once a year, but aiming for at least an annual check-in is a good start. Find a good time to mark when you reflect, recall and look ahead together. What dreams has God placed on your heart? What goals do you feel He’s calling you to accomplish both as a couple and personally? Is there something you need to change in your life to hear better what God is saying? Discuss all of these questions and more. Don’t be afraid to seek the Lord boldly. He has good, abundantly gracious plans for your life.
"Are you finding joy in your daily life?"
Adulting is challenging. How many times a day do you look around the room for another grown-up to relate to? Sometimes, we get worn out. There are numerous things to worry about: parenting to do, responsibilities to manage, laundry to keep up with, and work emails to read. All that to say, we need to help each other remember that life isn’t just about work. Life is meant to be lived. However, that doesn’t mean that everything we’re called to do will be fun or even significant, but we should be intentional about cultivating gratitude and joy, even in the mundane or stressful. As a couple, it would be best if you helped each other avoid burnout. Discuss what you can do differently if you’re stuck in a cycle of depression, stress, or frustration. Be each other’s advocate for joy. We grow old too soon if we forget about adventure, laughter, and contentment.
"Do our behaviors align with our family’s spiritual mission?"
In homeschooling, getting angered by perceived missed milestones and distractions is easy. You can spiral from your child struggling with their reading lesson to thinking they’ll never be able to make it as an adult, and their whole life will amount to failure quickly. However, if you write down the end goal when homeschooling and revisit this idea frequently, it’ll help remind you of your why and clear your mind from irrelevant, distracting worries. It also helps ensure that you’re investing in skills, patterns, and activities that push you toward your primary goal.
This idea also applies to marriages. It’s easy to get distracted, upset, or overly invested in behavior patterns that don’t align with the spiritual mission of your household. Take time together to define what you feel you’re called to do as a couple. It could be a long or short-term dream, but write down what kind of culture God is calling you to cultivate in your home. Then, take time to check in and discuss if your routines and behaviors align with what you think God has put on your heart. Life is too short, and we’re easily distracted. It’s essential to keep each other accountable for your spiritual missions.
Marriage is a blessing, but it’s also where He does some of His character-refining work in our lives. We should be disciplined in how we approach each other. Choosing to stay invested, engaged, and open to each other. More than anything, God put you together as a couple for a heaven-ordained purpose. Don’t forget His mission for your marriage as you traverse through the details of the days. God is our potion and strength, giving us what we need to make love last forever.