How to value your spouse with a 10 Point Marriage Tune-Up? Is this necessary? Doesn’t marriage just “happen”?
Oh, yeah. Marriage can just happen.
There are those husbands and wives who let marriage “happen”… and then years into their relationship they realize they’ve grown apart. They don’t have anything in common. Or these couples look at the person they live their life with and say, “Is this all there is?”.
If people gave the amount of attention to their vehicles the way they do to their marriage, that vehicle would stop working. It would run out of gas, and oil. The brakes would fail. The headlights would go dark. You’d never drive around in a car with no headlights, with dirty spark plugs, with broken springs, or cracked windshields, would you? Why would a marriage relationship need less attention than a vehicle?
Your marriage needs more attention to its working parts than your vehicle does. It’s not easy. And if you’re in a time of sputtering, and your marriage tires need a top-up of air, then we want to encourage you to try some small stuff. Simple stuff. Give it a try…
Give it a 10 point marriage tune-up.
Invest in your marriage relationship – tune it up!
A few years ago we created a series of articles on this concept – 10 posts about 10 ways to show your spouse you value her/him. This year we’ve updated these posts to make the series more rich and robust! The links to each post are below – click on each image to go deeper.
Click to go deeper!
Click to go deeper! – 2 of 10 -Click to go deeper – 3 of 10Click to go deeper – #4 Click to Go Deeper – 5 of 10Click to go deeper – 6 of 10Click to go deeper – 7 of 10 Click to go deeper – 8 of 10Click to go deeper – 9 of 10Click to go deeper – 10 of 10
Make your marriage a priority and value your spouse!
If you ignored your career, and never learned anything new, you wouldn’t progress… you might even find yourself without a career.
If you ignored your vehicle, never added gas or oil, never replaced the spark plugs, you wouldn’t be able to drive it.
Does your marriage have less value than your career or your car? This 10 point marriage tune-up isn’t hard – it just needs a bit of attention! Don’t procrastinate.
Don’t wait – NOW is the time to pay attention to your marriage relationship!
I’m thinking I’d like to make this into a series of 10 marriage tune-up emails – one a day for 10 days… what do you think?
Would that be more useful? Leave a comment…
Appreciate your spouse’s personality – regardless. Chances are you and your spouse enjoy different aspects in your makeup of who you are… all personalities are different. Some people
- are extroverted and some are introverted.
- start things and others finish things.
- make decisions logically and others decide from their gut
- improvise and others follow the instructions
- need to achieve and others are more focused on the experience
- communicate openly and others are reserved in their communication style
- are competitive and others are more focused on inclusion
Despite how different you each are, do you appreciate your spouse’s personality?
How can you appreciate your spouse’s personality?
The first step is to realize all the positive aspects of your spouse.
Have you ever tried a Myers-Brigg assessment? There are many options which are free online. It provides one of 16 personality profiles. (Just google Myer-Brigg).
You could compare your DiSC profile. Robert facilitates this behavior style profile and has the option of adding to the secular side of the assessment a Biblical portion to describe patterns of behavior as they relate to Biblical persons. Learn more HERE and connect with Robert for the assessment details.
Pick up two copies of the book “StrengthFinder2.0” to learn about your spouse’s strengths – you’ll need two separate codes to complete the online assessment, that’s why you need two books for the two of you. We’ve done this with our adult children and it’s been fascinating to review how we all deal with life differently.
Do the Prepare/Enrich program – it includes a SCOPE assessment that highlights how you and your spouse are the same and different, so you can appreciate your spouse’s personality. Connect with Robert and me to do the Prepare/Enrich program.
Once you realize your spouse’s positive personality qualities, then what?
Showing your spouse you value her or him includes acknowledging their strengths. When was the last time you told your spouse what you value about her or him? Now’s a good time…
Here are three options to make sure your spouse knows how much you value aspects of their personality:
1 – Grab some sticky notes and write out a short sentence about one aspect per sticky note. Then place them all over the house. Robert did that for me and he was blown away by how much I appreciated those words of affirmation.
2 – This is a variation on the above idea… instead of sticky notes, write out note cards and mail them. You could also use an app we love (download it to your phone), and send postcards. The company prints the post card from your photos and words and mails them. Check out the Postagram App
3 – Use your time in shared prayer to remind your spouse how much you value her/him. Thank God, out loud – for these aspects of your spouse’s personality. Do you pray together? If you haven’t prayed together in a while, here’s an article that might help you.
Do one of these activities – or all three – to show you value and appreciate your spouse’s personality!
Take Action to Encourage Your Spouse!
Share your schedule with your spouse – it’s part respect, and part connection.
After years of marriage, you can assume your spouse knows what you do during the day, during the week, during the month. But that’s not always the case. And how can you value your spouse if you don’t know what he or she does? (We have a story about Robert’s Gran and Grandy to point this out.)
This article is part of the 10-point marriage tune-up.
Share your schedule with your spouse.
Our lives are full of items to do. Sometimes they seem mundane – groceries, dry-cleaning, post-office, oil change, changing out the furnace filter, stocking up on toilet paper…
Sometimes our daily chores can become an unexpressed burden. Perhaps we don’t even allow ourselves to realize how much of a burden, It seems like that stuff just needs to get done, so we do it. Tasks aren’t exciting or world-changing, so we don’t talk about them. We just do those silly chores.
However, one of the ‘perks’ of being married is being involved in your spouse’s life. Being involved also means being aware of the small stuff. It’s more than saying “thank you”, although appreciation is really important. Be aware.
Take time to note what your spouse does and what you do.
You know – I can hear in my head your rebuttal to this idea.
I imagine you might say,
- “Our life is too busy for us to find time to talk about the big stuff, not to mention the silly chores.”
- or “My spouse would just zone out if I shared my long list of chores.” or “You’ve got to be kidding – I don’t want to hear all that stuff – where’s the meaningful conversation?”
- I’ll leave this space for your rebuttal: _________________________________________________________)
Still – I’m going to suggest: Let your spouse know what fills your day. Ask what fills his/her day.
Sometimes a glimpse into the other person’s responsibilities is enough to prompt a little latitude. He or she can be much more sympathetic if they understand why you feel so tired, so burdened, so overwhelmed at the end of the day. And so can you.
Don’t make it into a long conversation. And.. DO NOT make it into a competition over who is more busy.
Share your schedule. Be in tune with each other
Rob’s grandparents died decades ago, yet we remember them fondly. They were a special couple who appreciated each other very much. Yet this point still has relevance regardless how much they appreciated each other.
Here’s an illustrative example to the 8th point in the 10 point marriage tune up…
Gran & Grandy were married for 52 years. Grandy passed and for many years after that, Gran constantly commented on how amazed she was at all the stuff he had done around the apartment. She didn’t realize what all he’d done at the time. Why did she notice? Because now she needed to do it herself.
Who takes care of what in your life together?
Take the time – now – to really see what your spouse does for you and your family. Share schedules. Maybe you could do a few of those tasks that are making your spouse overwhelmed? Maybe.
In the Prepare/Enrich program there is a Role Exercise – couples complete a list of the things they do in the day-to-day aspect of the relationship and then there are some discussion questions. Even though this program is targeted at engaged/newlyweds, Rob and I feel it’s also valuable for couples married many years. Learn more about the Prepare/Enrich program here
. Connect with Rob and me to chat about how we could mentor you and your spouse for a short bit using this as a tool. See our MENTORING page.
Family qualities. Quirks. Idiosyncracies. They show up in your spouse. Some behaviors, likes/dislikes, mannerisms, etc. you might appreciate and others are so different from your family that you find them difficult to connect with. Not one family on this planet are perfect. Not even yours!
Some of those unique qualities (probably many things) about your spouse appealed to you when you were dating and decided to marry. Remember?
No family on this planet is perfect. (Yeah – not even yours!) Remember that. And then honor your spouse’s qualities that originated in their family.
Acknowledge the good stuff in your spouse’s family of origin.
Your spouse is the product his/her upbringing. Maybe it’s easy to identify all the reasons his/her family contributed to such a great person. Maybe it’s not easy.
Regardless, I’m sure you can find at least one thing about your spouse’s family qualities which you find good…
- are they open, fun and love to joke or studious, academic and serious? There are good things about each end of the spectrum.
- is your spouse’s family careful with money, and good at saving or are they expansive and enjoy sharing what they have? Both are good, depending on how you view it.
- does your spouse’s family like to spend every weekend together, or are they more a once-a-year kind of gatherers?
Usually, with some careful consideration, you can identify something about your spouse that you realize came from the way he/she was raised.
Family qualities can be both a positive and a negative. Focus on the positive and try to mitigate the negative. But in all things, try to honor the positive parts of how your spouse was raised. By doing that, you’re also demonstrating you value your spouse and where she/he came from.
Looking Deeper at Family Qualities
When Rob and I mentor a couple and do the Prepare-Enrich program part of the program includes a powerful matrix which demonstrates where each of the couple’s family appears on a map between closeness and flexibility. Here’s an example (these aren’t real people):
At the beginning of Prepare/Enrich program couples answer questions separately in an online survey. Included in these questions are details to demonstrate how they grew up. Some couples are very similar in the way they were raised and others are quite different. It’s not bad or good. However, this Family matrix/map is so useful. Sometimes just seeing this map provides an answer to the couple’s issues with the other family.
Using this map, and the corresponding exercises we can delve deeper in the family qualities that may hurt or help a couple in their own marriage relationship.
Which family qualities do you value about your spouse?
Rob and I talk often about the qualities in our respective families that have made us part of who we are. As an example, Rob’s family (especially his Dad) had/has fun being silly. My parents were quite serious. I like the parts of Rob that are silly and can directly see how his family had an impact on this part of him. Our adult children see this in Rob and value it also – it speaks to who they are as adults also.
What do you see in your spouse that you value? Maybe it’s time you told her/him?
If you’re interested in being mentored, Rob and I can come alongside you and your spouse for a short bit to meet you and your spouse where you are, to encourage your growth as a couple, to nudge you toward taking action in areas you choose, to be with you as you tackle some tough issues, and provide resources to help organize your thought processes and realign your perspectives. Go to http://encourageyourspouse.com/mentoring to learn more.
This article is part of the 10-Point Marriage Tune-up
Read the other posts HERE
Laugh together. It’s a wonderful gift to be able to laugh together as a husband wife. And this tandem laughter is another way to show you value your spouse if you understand what he or she finds funny. This post is 6th post in a series of a 10 point marriage tune up.
When was the last time you chuckled, guffawed, snorted and had a good laugh together?
I imagine you enjoy laughing with your spouse. Rob and I love to laugh together. It’s the best feeling to have your ribs hurting because of a bout of unrestrained humor. Think of all the variations of humor you could enjoy together:
- situational humor,
- quick verbal repartee,
- practical jokes,
- dry humor,
- and more!
As wonderful as all these kinds of laughter are, there may be times when what you find funny isn’t something that makes your spouse laugh. As much a laughing together is important, it’s also imperative to understand your spouse’s sense of humor.
Understand your spouse’s sense of humor.
Jokes are great – laughter is healthy. But not everyone is comfortable with raw humor or teasing comments, especially in public. You may not have thought of humor as a way to show your spouse you value them… but it can be.
Show you value your spouse by being sensitive and discerning.
If your spouse is sensitive – to risque humor or humorous personal stories – then now is time to discuss the topic of good humor and uncomfortable humor. Preferably have this conversation in private between just the two of you.
- ask you spouse for their favorite comedians – this will give you a clue
- ask if you’ve ever embarrassed your spouse in public because of a joke
- ask if you have ever shared a personal story (you found funny) that your spouse didn’t appreciate being shared
This might be a tender topic. It might hold some surprises for both of you. We don’t always call out our spouse in public when a story hurts or a joke makes us uncomfortable. It might be forgotten after the fact. Now is the time to discuss it – when nobody is heated or hurt. Once you both know what each other finds funny, then you can decide how to handle the humor.
Decide on a plan of action – perhaps you only share risque jokes when your spouse isn’t with you – perhaps you never share a personal humorous story that involves your spouse.
To show your spouse you value him/her, settle on a comfortable plan to honor your spouse’s sense of humor.
Then go ahead – laugh together!
Go on YouTube and take turns sharing the comedy you both like. Seek to understand what your spouse finds funny. It’s always possible to learn new ways to laugh together!
As an example – we’ll share what makes us both laugh:
Here’s a movie that makes Rob and me laugh Have you hear of My Man Godfrey?
My Man Godfrey is a favorite for both Rob and me because it has witty dialogue and slapstick humor with great performances by accomplished actors. We quote from this movie with each other and our adult children. It’s a great combination of a romance and comedy. Here’s the description from Amazon:
“My Man Godfrey is one of the top Screwball Comedies of all time. The story of a wealthy New York family in the 1930’s that brings in Godfrey, a destitute and Forgotten Man as their butler. William Powell plays the leading role brilliantly and gives the family a madcap ride they will never forget. My Man Godfrey was the first film to receive Oscar® nominations in all four acting categories, including stunning performances by William Powell and Carole Lombard.”
Our regular, almost every day laughs come from a more common source: The Big Bang Theory
With 10 seasons available on DVD we chuckle every night. This is Robert’s favorite series right now, although he prefers the first few seasons as opposed to the more recent ones.
This is Robert’s favorite series right now, although he prefers the first few seasons as opposed to the more recent ones. We have watched these DVDs so often that we can quote lines…
If life gets strained, we’ve used these short episodes (without ads they’re only 20 minutes) to unwind at the end of the day. It’s something so familiar right now that they’re almost comforting… Is that healthy? Maybe. 🙂 “They” do say that laughter is a good medicine, right?
And as another example, we find dark British humor entertaining… (Not everyone would find this movie funny – but we do!) It’s filled with a stellar cast: Maggie Smith, Rowan Atkinson, Kristen Scott Thomas, and even Patrick Swayze.
Keeping Mum is a dark comedy. Oh, but so funny. This is another movie we’ve shared with select friends and our adult children. It has us saying, “Shall I put the kettle on?”… and then giggling. 😉 And when someone at church references needing to do the flowers for the Sunday… well, we just look at each other and howl.
Which comedies make you laugh together?
Which ones do you share with friends? Leave a comment!