04 Oct Questions for Couples
QUESTIONS FOR COUPLES – A MARRIAGE MONITOR
When you marry, you publicly give yourself as a total, complete, free and happy gift to one person for rest of your life. In good times and bad, in sickness and in health, you vow your love to your spouse. Every day you need to make your actions, attitudes and choices reflect these promises. A great marriage does not happen overnight. You need to constantly put forth your best effort. It’s not about feelings; it’s all about will. Love is shown in deeds; it is not just sweet words. Frequently monitor the pulse of your marriage so that you keep it in the target zone of health and vibrancy. Here are some questions to ponder. May they help you on your way.
- Do I show regular verbal appreciation for the little things my spouse does for me or the family?
- Do I encourage my spouse to strive for his/her personal best more than I nag, criticize or question his/her attempts?
- Have I learned to channel anger in a constructive manner or am I quick to verbally attack my spouse? Do I apologize soon after or do I hang on to bad feelings and cold shoulder my spouse?
- Do I go through the motions of listening or do I really hear and understand what my spouse is saying?
- Do I accept my spouse as he/she is and encourage his/her better side or am I focused on changing my spouse?
- Do I often tell my spouse with words that I love him/her? Do I realize that no one ever tires of being told that they are loved?
- When was the last time I gave a gift to my spouse to show my love for him/her? It may have been a gift of my time, something I made, or something I bought.
- Do we regularly make time to talk about short and long term goals regarding use of our time, money, activities, dreams and relationships? If not, why not?
- Am I so focussed on the needs of my job or children that I have little time or energy left for my spouse?
- Do I value my marriage as much or more than my personal accomplishments, wealth, status, children or career?
- Do I have a proper balance between my marital, family, professional, and social obligations? Do I take seriously the comments of my spouse when imbalance is pointed out and then make the necessary changes?
- Do we regularly do things together that make us happy?
- Do I go out of my way to do things for my spouse that he/she would appreciate or do I sit and wait for directions?
- Am I sensitive to my spouse’s emotional and physical well-being to properly time questions, actions and discussions?
- Do I increase or decrease the level of stress in my spouse’s life?
- Is my spouse my number one friend, the one who I confide in, whom I lean on for support, go to for advice, laugh with and cry with; or, do I share my deepest thoughts and feelings with others instead?
- Do I make an effort to foster positive relations with my spouse’s relatives and friends or am I disinterested, unwilling or critical?
- Do I do everything in my power to keep the spark alive in my marriage or do I expect my spouse to make it happen?
- Do I realize my spouse is not me or do I expect him/her to read my mind and meet my expectations without a lot of communication?
- Do I often take comments from my spouse too personally and not realize all the factors involved (timing, fatigue, stress, hormones, etc.)?
- Do I take into consideration my spouse’s physical needs for love and am I generous? or do I hold back or resent those needs?
- Do I make a daily attempt to present myself to my spouse in an attractive manner?
- Do I flirt with my spouse or do I flirt “innocently” with people of the opposite sex, either through my choice of words, gestures or clothing/appearance choices?
- When I am seeking advice, do I turn to people who believe in the permanence of marriage?
- When I am struggling in my marriage, do I turn to God and look for strength?
- Are we growing closer as a couple as time passes or are we growing apart?
We often make the mistake of thinking that marriage is a 50/50 operation; rather it is a lifetime of loving sacrifice to give our best selves to the other as a permanent gift. Sometimes we need to give our all for a long period of time, with seemingly little return. A strong marriage is not about counting the cost and comparing. It is about giving, forgiving, uniting, sacrificing and loving. We can never love enough. If our marriage is to mature the way it is meant to, we will have to overcome ourselves, our comfort, and our ego many times. This is not always easy, but it can be done. It is important that you realize that you cannot change your spouse, but you can change yourself and the way you react to situations. That is why marriage must be a lifetime commitment. It is always a work in progress, a constant growing in love—one that becomes ever more rooted in the will and less directed by fluctuating feelings. It is the everyday struggle to be a gift to the other that makes the difference. Inch by inch, it’s a cinch. Yard by yard, it often seems too hard. Do what you can, little by little. It’s worthwhile for you to achieve the happiness you desire. Go for it!