I love feedback on my blog. Running into those I see in my community who bring up a recent post, the comments that always enlarge and enlighten the conversation, the links to certain articles I’ve published that friends add to their social media platforms, the stats of my regular daily readers and the faraway countries from which visitors drop by, etc.
There’s also been some feedback of another kind I’ve recently encountered. Not long ago my post challenged anybody who’s close to striking a match to their marriage by committing adultery to email me. I offered help or direction before it’s too late and many people get unnecessarily burned by one act of marital attrition.
Turns out someone was paying attention. I got a sparsely worded email asking if I’m the guy who wrote the ‘contemplating an affair’ article and could I help. That’s how they put it: “help.”
The very general backstory (to respect their privacy) is they’ve been married for a good while, have younger children, have a spouse who truly cares and an overall to-be-envied life. Trouble is, they married young, are being propositioned at work by fellow staff who evidently have no compunction about cheating, and fantasize too regularly what it might be like to be with another.
We’ve emailed back-and-forth a few times, I sent a copy of Francis Chan’s marriage book, “You and Me Forever” to their work address, and now I’m praying for them to stay the course (there is a relationship with Christ) and avoid any rash behaviors. Thankfully they are taking this counsel strongly to heart. So far.
When I asked this person if they’ve had a romantic dinner date recently, they responded they can’t remember when. And when they do dine out they just stare at each other. The space is colluded with a vacuum of non-conversation.
To which I then asked if I might offer some relatable questions to use at their next date night (they have a scheduled getaway in a few days) that can keep the conversation fluid and which, if offered tenderly and with the promise of it being safe for the other to be honest, will pick past the surface callouses and scabs and find a more intimate and truthful level of relating…and certain healing.
I encouraged them, “let’s at least START here…” And they agreed – with some measure of hope.
So we’ll see what we shall see…
Your marriage might not be on the verge of a blow-up or teetering toward adultery, but I think these questions can be helpful to any partnership that may have some tenure and possibly gone stale. Or –ish.
To that end, I lovingly offer you the same 20 questions I left with this thin-ice-cracking spouse desperately scrambling for more solid footing.
I pray your marriage is restored to its First Love. And if I can help, my email is open to you also.
Try asking your mate:
- If I could spend 24 uninterrupted, dedicated hours doing anything in the world with you, it would be …
- If we did the whole proposal thing all over again, how would you envision it?
- When we fell in love, my favorite thing about you back then was …
- I feel you love me the most when you …
- My greatest need right now as a woman/man is to …
- My favorite memory of our wedding day is …
- I like it best when you refer to me as …
- What is your favorite part of being married to me?
- I wish I had learned to …
- If I had a choice to change anything about myself overnight, I think I’d start with …
- What makes you the saddest about our marriage? The happiest?
- How can I make it easier for you to lead our family/to lead you more lovingly?
- When do you need my assurances I love you and would marry you all over again?
- What are some things we might do differently to pick up the pace (get out of rut, break up routine, sameness, staleness) of our marriage? (Come up with 3 solid ideas)
- What concerns do you have that you think I’m not interested in or that you might be afraid to bring up?
- If you could bring up any subject knowing that I would listen and not judge you or lose it, what would you want to say? (This requires your promise to allow them space to answer safely)
- What are some of the things I do that irritate you?
- Are there any unfulfilled dreams or unfinished goals in your life? What can I do to help you make them happen?
- What do you see as strengths in our marriage? Weaknesses?
- Are you fulfilled in our marriage?