12 September 2016

Marriage Monday: 5 Simple Questions that Will Change Your Marriage - Question 3

If you're just now joining this conversation, make sure to read back over question #1, and question #2.

How did it go with the first two questions? Did any of your spouse's answers surprise you? Did you have trouble answering a question? This week you will add a third one to the mix. Question #3 is: "How can I best love or encourage you this upcoming week?" 

Whereas question #1 looked back on what you already did to make your spouse feel loved and could have happened by chance, question #3 gives you a foolproof plan of how to best make your spouse feel loved for the upcoming week.

Pay close attention to your spouse's answer, as it may not always be completely in line with their usual love language(s). One of my main love languages is "acts of service." If Hubby takes over cleaning the kitchen after dinner and gets the toddler to bed, I feel VERY loved! But every once in awhile, especially if we've both been busy, I realize I would feel super loved if he planned a fun date night for us. I would even be fine if we set aside a night in to relax together. This means I'm craving the "quality time" love language. Since my main need changed for the week, it's super helpful for me to clue Hubby in so he is able to best love me in the way I need. Hence why this is such an important question!

Despite sounding easy, sometimes this is actually a hard question to think through. Usually Hubby is stumped (maybe because I show love so well already? Ha! J/k). When this happens, you can probe deeper with the following questions:

- What are you feeling discouraged about lately that I can intentionally encourage you about throughout this week?
- What is stressing you out the most that I can possibly help out with?
- Can I verbally affirm or make you feel respected better in a certain area? (words of affirmation)
- Is there anything around the house that I could help you with to make your life easier? (acts of service)
- Would it make you feel loved if I surprise you with a small thoughtful gift this week? (gifts). Note: there's lots of thoughtful gifts that could be free! Comment if you have any ideas to share.
- Do you need us to set aside intentional time for more physical intimacy this week? (physical touch)
- Is there a certain activity, date, or other time together that would make you feel loved? (quality time)

Usually after asking those types of questions it's easy to pick something to feel loved in the upcoming days.

Once you hear your spouse's answer, WRITE IT DOWN! Email it to yourself, add it to your calendar, grab a post-it note, or whatever you need to do. There's nothing more frustrating than spelling out exactly how you want and need to feel loved, only for your spouse to promptly forget or ignore it. If you immediately know it's something that can't happen (like if there's legitimately not a single free night that week to plan a date), discuss right away when you can plan that date in the future and then ask for a tangible way to make your spouse feel loved during the current week.

For this week's Marriage Monday (or whichever night you do your weekly questions), make sure you ask all three questions that we've discussed so far:
1) How did you feel loved this past week? Read more about this question here.
2) What does your upcoming week look like? (calendar syncing). Read more about it here.
3) How can I best love or encourage you in this upcoming week?

Make sure you come back next week, because question 4 has to do with SEX! Everyone's favorite topic.

If you want to learn more about love languages and how to spot them in your spouse, I highly recommend you read The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman.  I talk about it a lot, especially in our premarital counseling because it truly changes how you show love to your spouse in a way that they actually can feel it!

You can also read about the original weekly questions in the Today's Letters blog post.

Let me know how the questions are going in the comments below!

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