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Three Questions To Ask Your Spouse

  Marriage, in many ways, is similar to gardening. You cannot plant a garden, neglect it, and expect to have a healthy garden a year later. To have a healthy garden, you will need to invest significant time pulling weeds, keeping out pests, planting, watering, and fertilizing. A few times a year, you will need to devote significant time (a weekend, day, or half-day) to working in the garden. Every week you will need to spend a little time in the garden to maintain its health.
Many people get married and neglect their garden over time. Busyness, parenting, stress, and life cause us to coast or prioritize the urgent. As a counselor, I have come to believe that a marriage is rarely, if ever, stagnant. You are either growing in intimacy, trust, and togetherness or you are going backwards. If you are seeking to simply coast, weeds are likely growing and pests are eating at the crops. Over time, much like a garden, togetherness and intimacy tends to dwindle and fade when the marriage is not intentionally invested in, strengthened, and prioritized.

Three Questions

Here are three questions that I would love for you and your spouse to ask each other with the goal of intentionally investing in your marriage. I hope you have a pleasant and beneficial conversation.

1. What is one significant investment we can make in our marriage in the next six months?    

Maybe there is a marriage conference coming to your area or a marriage retreat you could attend. Maybe a weekend getaway without the kids is for you. Perhaps you will decide to schedule a few sessions with a professional counselor or marriage and family therapist.

2. What is a regular (weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly) rhythm that we could establish that will help us to consistently invest in our marriage?

Do you and your spouse have a regular time when you are able to be together and focus on each other? Perhaps you can try a regular date night or plan to eat breakfasts together on Saturday mornings. You and your spouse may decide to read a book on marriage and discuss the questions at the end of each chapter together. The idea here is not to make a rule and put another thing on your to-do list. The idea is to prioritize your marriage enough that you are regularly and intentionally making yourself aware of the weeds and adding fertilizer and water.

3. What is one way that I can improve in loving and supporting you that you would appreciate?
This is a great question to ask your spouse. Even in the asking of the question you are communicating love and support. After asking, make sure to listen and follow through as much as you possibly can.
Each season of life is different. Small children, children, financial stress, and other sorts of stress and busyness may make it more difficult to find time and energy to invest significantly in your marriage. These questions are not meant to be a burden on you and make you feel like you are not doing enough. Rather, I hope that they help you consider how to invest consistently in your marriage in a way that helps you to grow in togetherness in each season of life, though it will look different in different seasons.  I hope and pray that you consistently tend the garden of your marriage and are rewarded with a resilient and satisfying relationship.
*Note: This is written with a generally healthy and happy couple in mind. If your marriage is unstable, has significant unresolved conflicts, or feels unsafe, you may need to seek help and healing by meeting with a counselor or other helping professional before having conversations like the one suggested above.  
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