Creating a Better Marriage for Tomorrow with 4 Simple Questions Four easy-to-apply questions that will give you and your spouse a positive view on what your marriage should be. BY LIAM NADEN
When you focus on your marriage it grows. These four questions will heighten your focus.
“ Putting your marriage first doesn't mean dropping everything else or being irresponsible.”
Nearly everyone in a marriage would admit that their relationship could be better. It doesn't necessarily mean that they are unhappy, it just means they know there is always another level that can be reached in a relationship. No matter where you are on the satisfaction scale in your marriage, here are four powerful questions to ask yourself that will keep the two of you growing together and deepening your connection.
Anything of value grows slowly over time. It's the small, sometimes seemingly insignificant, things that turn out to have the most profound effects over the long term. The same is true for your marriage. Ask these questions of yourself on a daily basis. You might not see a profound shift in the quality of your relationship immediately, but the changes over time may surprise and delight you.
Sharing these questions with your spouse can also accelerate your results. Talk about them together and use them as an opportunity to deepen the communication and understanding between the two of you.
Question 1: What are some of the ways in which our beliefs and attitudes are aligned?
Too often in a marriage people focus on the differences between them and their husband or wife, and it creates conflict and agitation. But what do you and your spouse have in common? Most importantly, in what areas are your beliefs and attitudes similar? In what ways do you have a similar outlook on life? These may be in all sorts of areas, such as life purpose, health, common interests, finances, spirituality, religion, education and politics.
One of the vital ingredients of a healthy relationship is sharing common views about things that are important to you. Taking the time to nurture those common views is a very positive and essential step.
Question 2: What is something I admire about my spouse?
One of the key qualities I have noticed in very strong marriages is that the two people have a huge respect and admiration for each other. They are very aware of the positive qualities that their spouse has—and they are always quick to express their admiration, both to their spouse and to other people.
Think of one thing that you really admire about your spouse. It could be something that they have achieved, a skill they have or a personal quality (such as their sense of humor, lack of judgement of others, or something else); then take the time to tell them.
Admiration is very different to love. Knowing that your spouse loves you and admires you for who you are and what you have done (and vice versa) puts magic into a marriage.
Question 3: How can I put our marriage first today?
With all of the pressures of daily life, it is easy to forget what is important. We keep on working and struggling to create a happy life that we hope will exist at some future point in time. But here's the thing we very often forget: the person we're wanting to build a happy life with is our spouse!
Nothing will have more of an impact on your happiness than the state of your marriage. If you don't make your relationship your highest priority you will never be truly happy, no matter what else you manage to create or accumulate. Putting your marriage first doesn't mean dropping everything else or being irresponsible, but how can you let your spouse know today that they are your highest priority? It can be something as simple as giving them a spontaneous hug or sending them a loving note or text.
Question 4: If there is a problem in our marriage, what is the true cause of the problem?
When there is conflict in a marriage, the common reaction is to try to fix the problem. But problems are rarely the real problem—they are merely symptoms of something deeper in your relationship that is not right. If you are fighting and arguing, it may be there are issues around how the two of you communicate, different beliefs that each of you have, or other external stresses that are causing you to "take out" stress on each other.
Try to look deeper than a particular problem to see what might be the causes of that problem on a more fundamental level. Think of a house. You don't fix the cracks in the wall by papering over them. You have to look at the foundations to see what is causing the cracks to appear in the first place.
When you focus on your marriage it grows. These four questions put your attention on the positive aspects of your marriage. Give them a try for a few days and see what difference it makes to the harmony, understanding and intimacy between you and your spouse.
Liam Naden is a marriage and relationships coach specializing in helping couples to save their marriage from divorce. He is a best-selling author of more than 20 books, host of the Growing in Love for Life podcast, the creator of three online programs and a speaker and workshop presenter. You can get more information at his website liamnaden.com and follow him on Google+.