Another evening alone, wondering when Jack would get home from work. Julie flipped through the TV channels, disinterested and discouraged. She picked up her novel but couldn’t concentrate. The words swam before her watery eyes.
What was going on between them?
As she got ready for bed, Julie argued with the fears assaulting her mind. She’d heard the rumors about men “working late” as a cover for other activities. In the past months, Jack seemed more distant. He said it was a looming project deadline, but was that it? Maybe she was reading into the situation. But maybe not.
Later that night, Julie woke to Jack slipping between the sheets. Desperately, she wanted to touch him but felt him turn his back toward her. Silent tears streamed while she prayed for Godly insight into their crumbling relationship.
After Jack left for work with a perfunctory kiss on the cheek, Julie decided she needed to talk with Jack about their relationship. Something wasn’t right.
When you find yourself in Julie’s situation, what are some questions you can ask to help your marriage relationship?
1. What was the best part of your day?
Show your husband you want to celebrate his wins in his day. Congratulate him when appropriate. Make this fun.
2. What gave you a challenge today?
Invite him to share his struggles with you. This type of question allows you to hear his heart. But be careful. Don’t try to fix his challenges. Listen for what he doesn’t tell you. Then find ways to express empathy and encouragement.
3. How can I pray for you specifically?
It’s about him, not you. If appropriate, pray for him right then. But don’t “preach your prayer.”? Use your words to elevate him to God for the answers he needs. Then you get to intercede on his behalf daily and watch God answer.
4. How are we doing?
Open-ended and non-accusatory. Ask this question and then be quiet. Allow your husband to answer any way he chooses. As you actively listen, follow up on his response with questions that invite further insight.
The focus of this question is an improvement, not conflict. Talk with each other about your relationship and use a 1-10 rating scale. Listen carefully to discover what your husband feels isn’t good in your relationship. You might be surprised. Chances are you will rate your relationship differently. But don’t be discouraged. You have an opportunity to work together to make a change.
6. Would you be open to meeting with a marriage counselor or pastor?
Ask this one if you sense you’re stuck at an impasse. As simply as possible, tell your husband why you think this is a good idea without pointing a finger at him. Own your stuff. He’ll need to own his. Every marriage struggles at times. Be prepared with a few counselors you think might be good. Present them to your husband as options.
When Dave and I began our recovery journey, our counselor mandated questions like these as part of our daily routine. What started out as “have to” became a time we both enjoyed. Today, we still ask question #4 frequently. Life tends to get busy, and we get relationally lazy.
Learning to pray with and for each other every day also impacted our sense of relational connection.
While our children were young, we held hands during dinner prayers. My main motivation was to keep our children from playing with anything on the table. ? However, a surprising relational benefit came from holding hands. You learn to sense what’s happening with the other person.
How would you rate your marriage relationship on a scale of 1-10?
Journal your answer and explain your rating. Then, when you have some quiet time with your husband, ask some of these questions.
Every relationship needs a spot check now and then.
These questions give you a springboard to discuss what’s good and what needs to improve. Perhaps, like Julia, you see some distancing and want to reconnect before things get worse. Or maybe you want to get to know your spouse better but would love a list of fun questions to ask on a date night or evening at home.