“Did you transfer that money into our main account?”
“Can you take off a few days in April to spend with my parents when they come?”
“Did you make that weird casserole again?”
In your courtship and marriage, you will ask a million questions. If we paid more attention, we would probably be amazed at how many questions we ask in a day.
Questions can be non-offensive; but, in marriage between long-term spouses, they can also become low-key or hard-core nagging.
“Did you remember to turn off the stove?” can be non-offensive (assuming it has not been repeated in the recent past).
“Can you be sure to turn off the stove when you finish cooking? Seriously, remember that. Should I remind you?” – This is low-key nagging.
“Did you remember to turn off the stove? You did not remember last time. It scares me when you cook. Can you go in and check the stove? Next time, wear a bracelet that reminds you to turn the stove off. Was it still on? Did you forget again?” – This is hard-core nagging.
Word to the wise: choose your questions carefully. The more you ask, the less your sweetheart will hear. Tuning someone out (especially someone with whom you live) is an easy skill to acquire!
Asking our Mirror
Some of the best questions we can ask should be directed to ourselves. These questions remind us of our ultimate vision and goals for our relationship. Below are five questions we should ask ourselves every day. If we ask these questions more, we may nag and annoy our sweethearts less:
- In ten years, will I be glad I spent my time this way? Before you reach for that remote, head to your special “me” place in the house, or engage in a night full of gaming, consider the opportunity cost. What am I trading by spending my time this way? Would my time be more appropriately spent talking to my neighbors, completing a half-finished project, or engaging with my family? Sometimes we need down time, but are we allowing ourselves too much “me” time and not enough “others” time?
- Will speaking my mind in this situation help or harm my relationship? We all have the capacity to hurt someone else. Some of us are more emotionally in tune with others and would rather rip off our big toenail than cause someone else emotional pain; whereas, others of us have no problem rubbing painful salve in a wound knowing that it will eventually help. In your future marriage, you will uncover many truths about your spouse, but they do not all need to be expressed. “She probably realizes she burned the roast. Do I really need to tell her?” “His haircut leaves a lot to be desired. He did not ask me for my opinion, so do I need to say anything?” “She thinks she has the upper hand in this argument, but I have a solid gold rebuttal that will leave her head spinning. Should I lay it on her?” It feels good to win an argument – for about a minute. Then, you just miss being on good terms with your special someone. We can say the same words in two different tones and elicit two completely different responses. Stop and think before spouting out your opinions.
- What can I do to make my sweetheart’s life easier today? Empty the dishwasher? Bring home dinner? Run an errand? Do a chore he or she normally does? Those small acts of kindness add up! If you love someone, find ways to bring an ease into his or her life. This does not mean remove all hardships. We need adversity to grow. But, you can peel the thorns off the roses of life and show your loved one how much you care in simple, yet resounding ways.
- Have I told my sweetie I love him or her today? Have I hugged him or her today? Have I been silly with him or her today? Have a seen him or her smile? Showing daily affection is a worthwhile habit to cultivate!
- Have I spent time with God today? If you answer “no” to that too many times in a week, you can be sure your relationship with your sweetheart will suffer for it. We do not spend time in daily devotions in order to have a great marriage, but a great marriage is often fruit of daily devotions. When we are being constantly filled with God’s love, we can constantly fill others – first and foremost, the members of our household and the people with whom we share the most intimate friendships.
What other important questions should we ask ourselves daily? When we direct questions to ourselves, we are inquiring of someone we can actually control. We can ask others for help, but we cannot make them do our bidding; however, when we ask ourselves to step up the giving, we can actually effect change.
What relationship strengthening questions will you start asking daily?