Written by Bethany Bartholomew
It’s a troubled world out there. But it doesn’t have to be troubled in your home. You and your spouse can create peace in your marriage with this one simple thing—humility.
But that word can be kind of vague, and it doesn’t always sound very fun. So what does it mean to be humble? C.S. Lewis is quoted as saying,
“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”
And what’s a good way to put that into practice? Here’s one easy way to work on humility and bring peace into your home: ask questions.
Now I’m not saying you should question everything your spouse does. That would actually be backwards progress in most cases. I’m suggesting you ask specific questions to help you think more of your spouse, understand your spouse more, and address your spouse’s needs better.
Here are some questions you can ask to help bring peace and happiness into your marriage:
1. How was your day today?
Ask this before you go into all the details of your own day, especially if you want to vent about something frustrating that happened. You don’t know if they’ve had a hard day and need to vent as well.
2. How can I help you most?
Is your spouse stressed about something coming up soon? They might need you to help take care of the kids for an hour while they sit down and make an important phone call in another room. Or they might need you to help them remember to do something important tomorrow afternoon.
Ask this question as often as possible, and you’ll both find that you have fewer opportunities for a miscommunication of needs.
3. Why do you feel that way?
Asking this question politely, and without making any accusations or sassy comments, isn’t always easy. But it can help ease tensions in a difficult conversation. Your spouse may have a strong opinion about something and neither of you realized until just that moment that you have differing thoughts.
Especially if it’s something your spouse feels strongly about, take a minute to ask questions about how they feel and why they feel that way. And then listen!
Try to understand your spouse’s opinion fully before inserting your own. You may find that you actually agree on more points than you thought.
READ: THE ART OF BEING A MORE PATIENT SPOUSE
4. What do you want to do?
This question helps with planning dates, planning dinner, or even with the more difficult discussions like what to do about a bill or a major event. Ask your spouse their opinion and really listen.
It’s easier to reach a compromise when both sides have been explained.
5. When do you need that done?
If your spouse asks you to do something, you might want to wrap up whatever you’re doing first. But sometimes your spouse’s request is time-sensitive. Ask (kindly!) what your spouse’s timeline is so that you can both accomplish what you need to when you need to.
You can even simply say, for example, “I was hoping to finish sending this last email. Could I help you start dinner in just five minutes? Or would it be more helpful for me to do that right now?” And then be willing to put down what you’re doing if your spouse really does need help getting something done right that minute.
6. Could you please help me?
It’s easy to stress about something and then blow up when your spouse wants you to do something else. Why not ask for help instead? If you are focused on finishing the laundry before you run out the door to pick up the kids from soccer practice, ask for help folding. It’ll go faster, and you will both be less stressed. Or if you’re trying to sort out a problem at work that just came up after-hours maybe ask your spouse if they can help you talk it out.
Remember, your spouse can’t help if they don’t know what’s causing you stress.
READ: 5 THINGS GREAT LISTENERS DO
7. What are your plans tomorrow?
Remember the suggestion to ask your spouse how you can help them (#2 above)? That’s also a great time to give a quick run-down of your plans for the day and to ask for a run-down of their plans. Once you’re both on the same page with what you’d like to accomplish for the day, you can be aware of each other’s priorities and schedules, and you can more easily offer help in a timely manner.
For example, if you know that your spouse really wanted to remember to call their cousin to wish them a happy birthday, you can help remind them or you can finish doing something they are busy with to give them a few minutes to go make that call.
Recognizing each other’s to-do lists can help you both prioritize each other’s needs for the day.
8. How are you doing?
This one seems simple. But a well-timed “How are you?” can be exactly what your spouse needs when they are feeling overwhelmed. Giving your spouse the opportunity to let you know if they are or are not OK helps them know you are aware of them. It also helps them feel safe and comfortable expressing themselves when they are not doing all right.
Ask this question sincerely and often (within reason), giving your spouse the chance to give the response they need, even if that response is just “I’m great. How are you?”
9. How can I be a better spouse to my husband/wife?
Ask yourself, and, if you’re religious, ask God. And be honest with yourself about your answers. It’ll be something very specific to your marriage, like “Let him go golfing on Saturday,” or “Let her try that new recipe you’re dreading,” or even “Go golfing less,” or “Give your husband’s taste buds a break and make one of his old favorites.”
When you really try to find specific solutions for your marriage, your spouse will feel personally loved in a way no one else could love them. And that will bring the two of you the happiness and peace you need.
Photo Credit: Crooze Photography
"You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly."
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