10 Questions to Ask Your Spouse before the New Year
The beginning of the new year is a perfect opportunity to give your marriage a tune-up. But don't worry, if you can't afford a big marriage conference or even a weekend away, you can still make space at the start of the year to sit down, reconnect and recommit to doing life together as a team. Here are ten fantastic questions to ask your spouse and you walk into the coming year.
The beginning of a new year is such a gift. And add in the turn of the decade? Bliss. There is much promise in the blank calendar before us, so many needed new mercies. It feels like the start of a school year with blank composition books and newly sharpened pencils.
I have all manner of personal goals and resolutions, but there is more that I want. I want to reconnect with my teammate. God gifted me with a spouse on purpose, and it’s good timing for a marriage recalibration.
I wish we could report that we make regular time to have meaningful, mission-focused conversations. That we hold space to listen to one another, download our thoughts, spur each other on and have deep, soul-stirring conversations. The truth though is that sometimes days go by, and we realize that we’ve barely talked about anything beyond the logistics of family, community, and work-life. It’s not because we don’t desire connection. Most days, I think of things all day long to share with him. But then at the end of the day, everyone comes pouring in after school with overflowing backpacks, homework, papers to sign, tasks that need to be taken care of, and all hungry for a snack. We’ve got dinner, school assignments, errands, neighbors over, and the kids’ sports and clubs. By the time they’ve gone to bed, we are exhausted, and find ourselves out of words. All we want is to slow down with a book or TV.
Calendar changes at the new year offer the opportunity to intentionally address those fissures. To be both honest and hopeful, reflective and vision casting.
I urge you to make time to recalibrate and connect with your spouse. It won’t just happen. It’ll take planning. You were brought together for a purpose. Though that purpose might have changed, there is more to do and learn.
Here are ten questions to kickstart the new year with your spouse:
1. What mission has God called us to as a couple? Our family? Is it still our calling? How has it changed?
If you believe that God brought you together with a purpose in mind, then never stop spending some time reflecting, praying, dreaming, and planning together. What has God’s mission for you been over this past year? The decade? What signs are you seeing about how that is changing or deepening?
2. How can I better serve you? What would it look like for you to feel well-served?
It’s easy to assume that we already have our spouse figured out. Or that they want from us what they’ve always wanted. That they like to be served just as we do.
Let’s get right to it and ask. God designed each of us with evolving and unique personalities, needs, and giftings.
We might need to spend time diving into who we are, how God designed us, and what makes us tick. How do you prefer to be loved? If this is hard to articulate, try reading The Five Love Languages.
3. How can I listen better? In what areas and ways could we work to be more in sync? How could we improve our communication?
4. What makes you laugh? What is really fun to you? What things do we do together that you really enjoy? How could we laugh and have more fun together?
Proverbs reminds us that laughter is the best medicine. Talk with your spouse about the need for joy. How could you have fun in ways that will bring life to your marriage?
5. How can we get and stay on the same page about money?
It’s not a conversation that any of us want to have, but let’s not shy away. It’s always a needed heart and logistics check.
6. How could we spend more together? How could we be more present while together?
Discuss your time. How are you using it well? How are you missing it? Dates nights might be a great gift to your relationship, but so could finding ways to be present and engaged during the everyday moments. Maybe it could be as simple as stopping to great one another or always saying goodnight.
7. How can I pray for you?
Praying together as a couple can change everything. It can be hard to do but could also be a catalyst for change in all aspects of your marriage. Never assuming we already fully understand their needs, start with asking how you can pray for your spouse. Write it down and then let them hear you pray. Remind them regularly of those prayers. It’s a game changer.
8. How is our intimacy? What does intimacy look like to you? How can we make some ground in connecting with each other more intimately?
9. Are we on the same page as parents? What things are we really good at as parents? What areas do we struggle with?
This, of course, is a deep and wide, ongoing conversation. For the purposes of this time, focus on your communication as you work together to do the tough work of parenting. Think about how you make decisions about the kids. Is it usually heavily heated and difficult to agree? How could you communicate better over these decisions? Could you pray together for them? Read a parenting book together? Decide to always take a moment away from the kids to discuss decisions?
10. How has our faith as a couple grown and evolved? Has it deepened? Waxed and waned in hard times? How is He refining us?
Fun Bonus: Is there anything that you’d like us to do together that have not yet?
How to Prepare to Discuss These Questions:
Put yourself in the right space before asking each of these. Are you ready to listen? Ready to learn new ways to support each other and grow? Ask God to use these to enhance your marriage. Pray that you will not feel defensive or speak in a way that causes your spouse shame. As that it would be rich, fun, and life-giving discussion.
While having these conversations, grab a piece of paper and divide it into two columns. Above one column, write MORE, and on the other write LESS. As you talk through the categories and brainstorm ideas, write what you want more of and want you want less of.
If finding (or affording) distraction-less time and space feels like a pipe dream, resolve to ask each other one question each night after the kids go to bed. Make it fun by having a fun dessert or drink for just the two of you.
Before asking, also prepare to be a good listener. Plan to use effective communication tools. Ask questions and then listen, rather than jumping in with your answer. Think about what was said and then ask follow-up questions. Affirm their answer rather than defending your position. To ensure that you are listening, turn toward him/her, make eye contact, nod, avoid interrupting, and then follow up to learn more. Your spouse might come alive when they feel listened to.
Taking the time to be intentional at such a time as this could turn the tides of your marriage. Let’s not miss it. You’ve changed. Your marriage has changed. You’ve experienced all manner of life, and God has been leaning in to speak. Make this an invitation to restart and readjust.
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Rebecca Radicchi, her husband and crew of kids, live outside Atlanta, where the summers are hot and the tea is sweet. She’s ridden the waves of adoption, breast cancer, and being the mom of kids with complex medical needs. And, through it all, she’s seen that abundance can be found in the uncomfortable hard and in the easy beautiful. She’s also discovered that whether she’s passing bread at the kitchen table, clock-watching in a hospital waiting room, or listening to a neighbor on a porch swing, God always has something to say. It’s a wonder really. She encourages others to listen for it too on her website and Instagram, and also connects with adoptive families at No Hands But Ours.