When my husband and I were first married, as we’d drive in the car, we’d occasionally ask each other questions such as “What am I doing well?” and “What would you like me to work on?”
Now that we’re out of the blissful, newlywed stage and there are three more people living in our house, my questions sound more like, “Do you need lunch?” “Are you picking up the kids from school?” and “Do you need anything from Target?”
It’s easy to get so wrapped up in taking care of the details of living that we forget the details of loving. We run on cruise control so much that we forget about scheduled maintenance. With Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching, I am thinking I should put some effort into talking more. (Ha! I threw that in there to scare my husband.) Really, I mean talking more about things that matter. Sure, maybe I pack his lunch, but do I thank him for how he loves our family? So I came up with eight conversation starters—seven questions and one statement—that I’m hoping might rekindle meaningful communication.
Oh . . . while having these conversations, remember that though we were all made in God’s image, he did wire us differently. So women, a sure way to make the guys panic is to say, “Now we need to have a conversation about our relationship.” Ask these questions while you’re taking a walk or driving in the car or washing the dishes, and they may open up more.
Guys, while there may be some things to work on, resist the urge to hear these questions as a fix-it list. One thing my husband will say is, “Do you just want me to listen or do you want me to do something?” He’s learned that sometimes simply listening is all I need to feel better.
- When do you feel most loved or respected? You don’t have to read the entire series of love language books to accomplish this.
- When we’re old(er) and grey(er) and sitting on the porch, what do you hope we’ll be talking about? This is just another way to talk about goals. Do you need to change the way you live and talk to accomplish these or are you on the right course?
- What one thing can I do this week to relieve some of your stress? Is it making your lunch? Filling the car with gas? Giving you time to work out? Is it simply letting you vent?
- What two things can I do to encourage your faith? In our selfish moments, we want to have first place. Let’s remember that first and foremost we are married to a son or a daughter of the King.
- What tiny thing drives you bananas? What would not take me more than one minute to fix—you know, like picking up dirty socks.
- What am I doing well? This is the good one. It builds you up so you have the courage to ask the next one.
- What would you like me to work on? Don’t get defensive when they speak the truth. (That may or may not be a note to myself.)
- Thank you for . . . warming up the car or cleaning out the dishwasher or going to the grocery store or talking to the teacher. Don’t take common courtesies for granted.
Linda Buxa double majored in psychology and communications. Her husband graduated with a degree in electrical engineering. There’s a chance they have different communication styles. At a marriage retreat they attended, this video about how God made them fearfully and wonderfully—and differently—gave them both a good laugh.