It’s Friday and that means my friend Shawn Snyder, from The Odd Couple Blog, and I are teaming up on our weekly marriage blog. Shawn will share her thoughts (in green) on the topic through the eyes of a woman/wife, and I’ll share mine (in blue) through the eyes of a man/husband. This week’s topic is Really Knowing Your Spouse. Enjoy!
Do you know your spouse? I mean do you REALLY know your spouse? When this subject came up for this marriage series I questioned how well I really knew my spouse. As I thought about what I would write, I realized that I desired to, and should, know her better.
A stranger in my house?
My wife is not a complete stranger, but sometimes I realize how little I know about her (the more you learn the more you realize how much you didn’t know huh?). I would love to be able to complete her sentences (although she may not like it…wait, she probably says I already do!). I would love to be able to know really what she wants and expects of me, and not be dumbfounded. Is that even possible husbands? 😐
What can I do?
This led me to think of ways to get to really know my wife. What could I do, what can you do that will help us to really know our spouses?
I thought of some of the times when something about her was revealed that I didn’t know, good or bad. The situations when I really learn the most about who she really is. These are the times that enable both you and I to really know our spouses.
10 Ways to Really Know Your Spouse
- Read and discuss books (especially the bible) together. Read regularly and discuss what you read. Many times you will have a different perception or understanding of what you read. When you do you’ll begin to learn how he/she thinks and interprets the things around him/her.
- Do something new together. Find an activity that neither of you have much experience with. Take tennis lessons, karate, golf, salsa dancing, stepping, rock climbing, swimming, something. Just make sure both of you are newbies and can learn it together. You will be out of your comfort zones and probably looking a little silly, but your spouse is there looking silly at the same time. Witnessing your spouse when they are being stretched will teach you a lot about them.
- Ask questions and really listen. I think most people ask the question, “how was your day?“. But how many times do we really listen. If not careful, that can become almost a greeting, and not really a question that you care for the answer. So ask the question and really listen when you do. Take it deeper and ask more engaging questions about what they’ve said. You may have to guage the amount of questions you can ask, but no matter the number of questions, focus on really listening. You can learn a lot by listening to your spouse.
- Take notes. In school you take notes. Job training you take notes. In church some take notes. When it comes to your spouse, take notes. Study your spouse and record your findings. Yes, study your spouse like a test, like a book, like a skill your developing, and write it down! I recently began doing this and I record it in Evernote (Evernote is like my 2nd brain. I record EVERYTHING in it. If you don’t use Evernote, you should! If you do, then check out Evernote Essentials to learn how to best use it). I record gift ideas, likes/dislikes, sizes, insight, favorites, pics of keepsakes, etc. Your spouse is way more important than a test or training class.
- Date them regularly. Spending regular one-on-one time is something that I cannot emphasize enough. When my wife and I are consistent with Date Night I feel really connected to my wife. I feel like I do know what she wants and expects of me, and what she wants to say next. Besides getting to know your spouse better, it is just fun to hang out.
- Play games (board games, etc.). You will learn A LOT about your spouse doing this! I found out just how competitive my wife actually is (she will cheat to win), and she found out that I will deny ever getting beat by her when if I do! 😉 The true character of your spouse will definitely come out! Haha. It is also good to play games against other couples. You’ll learn how your spouse performs when pressured, and how he/she handles ups and downs.
- Pray together. Praying together is one of the most intimate times you can spend with your spouse. When you are in God’s presence there is no covering. Real concerns, real challenges, and real thankfulness will come out. You can learn what your wife thinks about him/herself, and sometimes about you too. But that is okay, because you really want to know your spouse. And you want to be transparent enough that he/she knows you.
- Spend many many years together. About half of marriages end in divorce, and probably more are still together, but separated. If you really want to know your spouse. Spend years and years together. That is the single best way to get to know somebody. Spend a lot of time with them.
- Go through something together (this is inevitable). We have gone through job loss, homeless and living with friends/family, being broke, family health issues, multiple disagreements, legal issues in business, etc. You name it and we probably experienced it. When you get in situations like that, character is revealed. Sometimes it is not what we want or like to see, but it does help you to know your spouse better. The key is go through it together. If you are in one corner, and your spouse in the other, then you won’t learn much. But together, you’ll learn a lot!
- Discuss and make plans to achieve your life goals. Find out what is really important to your spouse. What is he/she really passionate about? Then begin to plan together how you will achieve or obtain that. Knowing what is deep down inside and working with him/her to get it will bring you closer, and give you a greater understanding of what moves him/her.
If you really want to know your spouse, then begin to do some, if not all, of the things I listed. Knowing our spouse really well should be a goal of every married person. When married couples do that, then seeds for healthy marriages are planted and ready to harvest.
Question: What way do you think will help you to learn the most about your spouse? Please share in the comment section.
How to Really Know Your Spouse
I am sitting here struggling to keep my concentration on what I’m suppose to be doing, which is writing this blog. But there are giggles coming from the bedroom and bathroom as three friends reunite after a couple of years apart. These women are acting like school age girls with the high voices and giggles of a shared joke. My daughter is getting married tomorrow as you read this and her two best friends from college have flown in and are spending a week helping her to get ready for the wedding and to share that special day with her.
In the Beginning
I remember the same type of feeling 27 years ago as I was getting ready for my own wedding. I had come from Montana to visit family in Michigan and a friend had set me up on a blind date with a guy who just had returned home from the Army the night before. It was a whirlwind relationship and in four months I was engaged and married eight months later. We did wait a whole year from meeting to marriage but only to make our parents feel better, we knew we where perfect for each other. But in reality how well did we really know each other? Only as well as we allowed the other person to know us.
Open and Honest
In the years that we have been together I have made it important to know and understand my husband. I know his physical likes and dislikes, I can read his moods, and I usually can tell when he is tired or angry. He can do the same with me. This did not come by accident it has taken many years of asking questions and willing to be open with each other for us to feel like we can understand each other.
It’s Not Over Yet
But truthfully, we have times that we are not on the same page. It is frustrating because I think he should get me and every thought I have but that just isn’t so. We will keep on working on it because my marriage is worth the effort and I’m willing to take the rest of my life to really knowing and understanding my spouse.
What are you willing to do to get to know your spouse? Please share in the comment section below.
Reading together is one of my husband’s favorite things to do. He’s an audio learner and loves for me to read a chapter of a good non-fiction out loud. Then we usually stop to comment on anything that strikes a chord. Sometimes we laugh out loud and other times we have ‘heated’ discussions but all of the time it makes us feel more connected. Appreciate this blog post Jackie
Love it, Ruthie. Thanks for sharing. Blessings to you both!
Thank you Jackie and Shawn for this reminder. I really should learn to actively listen to my wife when I ask about her day. Praying and playing together are areas we are improving with renewed commitment.
It made me laugh that you said your wife is really comparative and will cheat to win. I hate losing too! I can neither confirm nor deny anything to do with cheating! Thanks for the blog.
Ha! She will not confirm she cheats, but she denies it all day long! 🙂 Glad you liked this post, Christi.
I really appreciate what you each have contributed here. I find in my relationship that even though I do everything I know how in order to listen, hear, and let him know I am here and loving him despite the difficulties and challenges, he’s too caught up in his fears, uncertainties, and traumatic emotions from his past before me and our past together. I have almost given up in trying to make myself heard because whenever I express and opinion or pov different from his, he perceives it as a personal attack. So, my responses become one-sided and non-committal.
I’m not “blaming” because I’m finally coming to understand and accept that until and unless he is able to fully let God’s healing in, he can’t change these things himself because he’s tried. I realize this because I know I have my own issues that contribute to our problems as well, and my own “trust & faith” issues get in the way of me letting God work.
Anyway, I’m glad for reading what you have to offer.
Thanks for your comment Kina. I’m sorry to hear the challenges you are having. I believe that you are right. Change cannot happen without God’s healing.
I encourage you to commit to praying for him, for you, and your relationship. I am a firm believer that prayer changes things. I recently shared some of my family’s testimonies in regard to answered prayer. Here is the link:
Hopefully it encourages you.