25 Questions to Reconnect With Your Spouse

Every now and then, we lose a deep connection with our spouse. Busy schedules, kids, and work are often to blame. Get conversation going with 25 Questions to Reconnect With Your Spouse

25 Questions to Reconnect With Your Spouse.

It’s very easy to lose that close connection with your spouse. If you have kids, it’s almost bound to happen. Trying to juggle their schedules, work, and trying to squeeze in time for yourself and your spouse, is really a tireless effort.

Sometimes we disconnect without even meaning to. I mean, come on! Somedays, I don’t even know if I’ve showered! Gross, I know, but it’s the truth. Parents have little time for date nights and romantic evenings. In fact, we don’t even have a regular babysitter so our date nights are solely on Valentine’s day or our anniversary. Therefore, we try to do a lot of our date nights at home once the kids are in bed.

How to Reconnect

I’ve learned that time to reconnect has to be scheduled. I know how sterile that sounds! But hey, if I were to wait for it to happen organically, it would never happen! Am I right?

I find, I have to make it a priority and pencil it in like any other thing that is important. Reconnecting isn’t expensive. Sometimes it’s as simple as just having a conversation together and redefining where you want your marriage and family to go. It’s about learning your spouse. After all, people grow and change. Our goals and dreams change. If you aren’t growing together, you’ll grow apart.

It’s not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.

Frederich Nietzsche

I remember our pastor talked about this to my husband during our pre-marital counseling. He said dating is like a high school diploma and you should always be learning about your spouse to earn other “degrees.” As the years pass, and as you invest more time to learning your spouse, you graduate higher and higher in your marriage. I like that analogy.

Reconnecting With Your Spouse

Sometimes I think we have exhausted all topics of conversation. Thats why today, I’m sharing 25 questions to reconnect with your spouse. Think of them are conversations starters. Learn if your spouse has changed their views. Pose follow up questions to understand them better. Interview their heart.

25 Questions to Reconnect With Your Spouse

  1. What scares you about our future?
  2. When are you happiest?
  3. What do you like to do, that you wish you had more time to do?
  4. What makes you proud as a parent?
  5. Is this what you thought parenting would look like?
  6. What traits do you love in our children?
  7. What is your best memory of our kids so far?
  8. Are you satisfied with our lovemaking?
  9. How can I help you with stress in your life?
  10. Do you feel like your needs are being met? If not, what can I do?
  11. What kind of vacations would you like to take with our family?
  12. Where do you see us in 5 years?
  13. Are there boundaries you think we need to put in place to protect our marriage?
  14. What would make you feel closer to me?
  15. What kind of activities do you want to start doing together?
  16. Is there anything about our kids that worries you?
  17. How do you feel about our finances?
  18. How can I help you become closer to God?
  19. Is there anything you want to tell me?
  20. What’s your happiest moment of our life together?
  21. How do you envision our retirement?
  22. What worries you right now?
  23. Is there something you think we should be teaching our kids?
  24. What is something you’ve always wanted to do?
  25. Do you have any regrets?

Every now and then my husband and I ask each other similar questions to try and understand our vision for our marriage, our family, and our lives. I’d love to hear what other kind of questions you think are good to ask!


If you’re looking for more topics on marriage, see my post on Setting Healthy Boundaries in Your Marriage

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Dear Husband, I Need to Thank You

Dear Husband, I Need to Thank You. This is an open letter to my husband, because…well he deserves it. SPOILER ALERT: Mushy PDA coming up. Not responsible for tears!

Dear Husband, I Need to Thank You

Dear Husband,

I need to thank you.

You Complete Me

I felt empty before I met you. Empty like a piece of me was missing and I was tirelessly searching for it. I knew I found it when I met you. I can’t even put into words the wholeness that I feel everyday knowing you are my husband. When I was pregnant with your boys, I felt special. I felt connected to you. I felt honored and chosen to carry your babies. We are distinctly different. You make up for all that I lack.

You are my home. You are my family. No matter what happens in our future, I am complete with you. I will go where you go. Your enemies are my enemies. Your God will be my God. Your family is my family. Your home will be my home. Forever.

You Understand Me

I feel very misunderstood by many people, but worse I feel most people don’t want to understand me. But you, you always seek to understand me. This past year was hard, for many reasons, but for one in particular – the loss of my circle of friends. You know my heart. You know that I always have the best of intentions. You understand me. You get me. In fact, I think you’re the only person who truly does. But only because you are the only person who has taken the time. You always know what I need to hear. You know what worries me and what scares me. You know my secrets. You know exactly what I need at exactly the right time. Best of all, you never pass judgement. Thank you for taking the time to know and understand me.

Dan kissing my hand

You Comfort Me

We’ve been through a lot together. Miscarriages. Addictions. Depression. Death. Birth. Jobs. Sickness. Despair. Moving. Globetrotting. Grief. Anniversaries. Birthdays. Beginnings. Endings. Through it all, you comfort me. You do it in a way that makes me “see” Christ in you, working through you. I’m proud of you. I’m proud of you for overcoming your strongholds. Even through that rocky, confusing time, you comforted me. Many men would have cut and ran. Some men would have given up. When we lost our babies, when I’ve gone through horrific bouts of depression, you comforted me. You many not have always known how, but I promise you – you did. Even if all you could do was throw your arms around me. If all you could do was cry with me, I promise – you comforted me. Thanks for never walking out on me when life got hard.

Monticello

You Are Merciful to Me

I’m choking up just typing this. This is huge – and you probably don’t know that I’m aware of this, but I am. You cover my faults. You hide them. It would be easy to expose them. The world tells us it’s okay “to vent.” People are quick to share how someone has let them down or done them wrong.

But you – you don’t even bring up my faults in conflict or arguments. You spare me. You extend mercy when I don’t deserve it. While others might look at my faults with a magnifying glass, you cover me with grace. You give me permission to be human. You are slow to anger and quick to forgive me. You let me “win” even at the cost of your own pride. You are malleable when I am obstinate. You are long-suffering when I am insufferable. You save me from the embarrassment of my own shortcomings. I notice. I’m grateful. I’m humbled.

You Protect Me

Protection, real protection is such an attractive quality in a man. I don’t just mean physical protection. I mean the kind of protection that is hard. The kind of protection that shelters me from verbal attacks, criticism, anger, cruel intentions, and more. When Jack was born, we faced all kinds of criticism and judgement. But you did your best to protect me from it, going so far as to accept the “sentencing” onto yourself. I never saw you more Christ-like. After all, isn’t that what Christ does for us? He took on our sin and paid the price for us, so we wouldn’t have to. I saw you do that for me. I saw you risk everything to support me. That is love.

But also, you set me strait. You rebuke me when I need correction, thereby saving me from going down a dark path. My bipolar isn’t easy to live with and yet, you do it with so much gentleness. You protect me even from that, as much as you can.

Us

You Serve Me

In the flesh-driven world, “service” to your spouse is so misunderstood. It’s thought of in feudalistic terms like serfdom or worse, slavery. But real spouses serve each other in love. As in Christ’s example, “I came not to be served, but to serve.” You go to work everyday to support us. You make huge sacrifices, always putting yourself last, so we can come first.

Even when you come home tired, because of my bipolar, you get up with the baby every night. You have for years. I am ashamed that I can’t do that without huge ramifications with my illness. But you never complain. You do it so willingly and drag yourself to work the next day. When I’ve had a rough day, you offer to bring dinner home even though I know you’d rather not spend the money. You’ve taken our boys to the emergency room and waited for hours there by yourself. You’ve used your vacation days, not for you, but for us. When our babies are sick, you’ll run out at all hours for medication. It’s thankless and exhausting.

Dear Husband I Need To Thank You

Dear Husband, I Need to Thank You

Dear Husband, I need to thank you. I need you to know how much I appreciate your sacrifices and tireless efforts. I want you to know it matters and it doesn’t go unnoticed. I love you. More than I could ever put into words. More than I could ever show you.


The post, Dear Husband I Need to Thank You first appeared on My Beautiful Mess

Learn more about She Does Him Good: Praying For Your Husband

Romantic Valentine’s Day Playlist

Turn up the heat at home with the super sexy, romantic Valentine’s Day Playlist.


Romantic Valentine's Playlist
Photo courtesy of Unsplash

I love Valentine’s Day. First, I’m Catholic and it’s the feast day of St. Valentine, a 3rd century saint. If you’re unfamiliar with Catholic beliefs, a feast day is a day in the liturgical calendar when Catholics venerate (honor and remember) a saint. St. Valentine was an early Italian Christian whose devotion and love for Christ led to his martyrdom. Although little of his life is reliably known, he has long been associated with love and devotion.

Secondly, I love Valentine’s because even though it has become another commercial holiday, it does remind me how blessed I am to have a loving spouse. In a busy world, it’s easy to take for granted our loved ones. But on February 14, I’m compelled to honor my husband and others whom I love.

That being said, any mama out there knows it’s so hard to have a date night with little ones. So my husband and I try to make home as romantic as possible. Therefore, we often have at-home date nights once the kids are in bed. So today I’m sharing a playlist to kindle some magic between you and your significant other!

Where to Listen

There are so many options these days to listen to curated playlists. Spotify, Pandora, and Apple iTunes. Frankly, I love Apple iTunes! Create as many playlists as you want, download as many songs as you want and you can have a family plan to share with your spouse and kids.

So I will tell you, this romantic Valentine’s Day playlist is kinda old school! But hey, some of the best songs were done years ago. But don’t worry, I’ve thrown plenty of modern stuff in there too!

Romantic Valentine’s Day Playlist

  • When I Need You, Rod Stewart
  • Hello, Adele
  • I Can’t Help Falling in Love, Elvis Presley
  • To Make You Feel My Love, Garth Brooks
  • Perfect Duet, Ed Sheeran (with Beyonce)
  • Moondance, Van Morrison
  • Shallow, Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper
  • True Love Ways, Buddy Holly
  • Now and Forever, Richard Marx
  • Songbird, Kenny G
  • Need You Now, Lady Antebellum
  • Mercy, Shawn Mendes
  • Daddy’s Home, The Platters
  • Take My Breath Away, Berlin
  • I Only Have Eyes For You, The Flamingo
  • Faithfully, Journey
  • Thinking Out Loud, Ed Sheeran
  • Someone Like You, Van Morrison
  • It’s Raining, Inara George
  • For You, Coldplay
  • For Sentimental Reasons, Nat King Cole
  • I Left My Heart in San Francisco, Tony Bennett
  • I Wanna Sex You Up, Color Me Badd
  • No Ordinary Love, Sade
  • Everything I Do ( I Do It For You), Bryan Adams
  • Toxic, Rumer Willis
  • The Book of Love, Peter Gabriel
  • All You Got is Gold, The Great Escape
  • Crash Into Me, Dave Matthews
  • Stay With Me, Sam Smith
  • All of Me, John Legend

The post, Romantic Valentine’s Day Playlist, first appeared on My Beautiful Mess


Looking for other playlists? Check out The Ultimate Halloween Party Playlist

10 Books That Will Strengthen Your Marriage

Whether you are doing well or struggling in your marriage, everyone could do with a little fine tuning! Here are 10 Books that will strengthen your marriage.

10 books that will strengthen your marriage

How Books Helped Strengthen Our Marriage

Let’s be honest, marriage is really hard work! One of the things I’ve learned in marriage is that you have to be deliberate about growing together. Additionally, if you have kids or a busy work schedule, you really need to prioritize intimacy. To clarify, intimacy doesn’t just mean sex either. Intimacy starts as an emotional connection. In fact, if you don’t have an emotional connection, it’s harder to be intimate physically – at least for many women.

One of the things my husband and I have always done is to read together. It doesn’t take a lot of time, just a couple of pages at night before we go to sleep. Believe it or not, it actually does work! One of us reads aloud and the other listens. For whatever reason, it is very different from the same ole’ staring at the tv screen.

Today, I’m sharing several books that help us work through hard times and understand each other better. Here are 10 books that will strengthen your marriage. These books, with the exception of one, is Christian themed. In a future post, I’ll provide secular titles we read.

The Love Dare, Alex & Stephen Kendrick

This is by far one of the best books I’ve ever read. If you are struggling to love your spouse, if you are running out of reasons to keep giving them chances, you need this book. This 40 day devotional teaches you how to lead your heart back to loving your spouse. Based on 1 Corinthians, the book guides you through a daily instruction on love, providing principles and scripture to contemplate and pray. Then it provides you with a daily challenge and encourages some journaling for self-discovery. I can’t tell you how many times this book has helped me. I’ve even used it with another family member, other than my spouse. My copy is worn and I’ve probably bought 5 or six copies for other people whose marriages were crumbling.

The 5 Love Languages, Gary Chapman

This classic book was really pivotal in learning how to love my spouse. If you feel like there are a lot of unmet needs in your marriage, this book is for you. Most of the time, it is simply a disconnect between you and your spouse. This book describes the five ways people show love. It also explains that people generally show love in the way they like to be loved. For example, maybe your spouse need gifts to feel appreciated. Gifts mean nothing to you, so you never think of giving them. Meanwhile, your spouse begins to feel you don’t care because you “never think of them.” This book teaches you and your spouse how to figure out what it is you need to feel loved and how to meet your spouses needs.

Toxic In-laws, Susan Forword, Phd.

If you’re struggling with invasive, overbearing or controlling in-laws, this is a great book to read. And let me be clear – this book isn’t just great for in-laws. To clarify, this book is written from a psychological perspective instead of Christian one, but I never found it’s advice at odds with my Christian beliefs.

Using real life examples, the author illustrates the main types of toxic parents and carefully outlines their qualities tactics, including guilt and emotional blackmail. It then provides sound, practical advice on how to keep peace, set boundaries and protect your marriage.

The Peacemaker, Ken Sande

This is a must-have book on your bookshelf. If there is anything I’ve learned in life it’s that conflict is unavoidable. Most people tend to fight back or run away, but there are healthy ways to deal with conflict. There is a presumption that any sort of conflict is bad. This book provides biblical principles for navigating conflict and controlling emotions. It provides real solutions for how to be a peacemaker and more importantly – how to act as your own mediator even when emotions are high.

Red Hot Monogamy, Bill & Pam Farrel

This was a fun read. My husband and I actually read it together overnight. This book it based in scripture and uses the Song of Solomon to demonstrate that God wants you to have passionate sex with your spouse. That’s right! Christian sex is supposed to be steamy, fun, and intense. This great book by Bill and Pam Ferrel show you how to get in the right mindset to keep those embers burning!

The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, by Shelia Wray Gregoire

Piggybacking on Red Hot Monogamy, this book teaches you hot to ditch shallow, mechanical sex and trade it in for steamy sheets! I might describe this as Cosmopolitan without the raunchiness! This entertaining book describes the differences in how men and women approach sex and how to find your rhythm and connection as a couple – in particular once the newness wears away. Married for 20 years, the author gives real life examples on how to keep your love life flirtatious, fun, and sexy.

From Anger to Intimacy: How Forgiveness Can Transform Your Marriage, Dr. Gary Smalley

If you are married, you will get hurt. It’s a fact. You can’t spend a lifetime with someone and never get hurt. We are human and we will fail each other. If you are stuck in a place of unforgiveness with your spouse, I recommend this book. This book provides biblical techniques for both recognizing and processing anger and resentment. This book cuts strait to the heart and will stretch you to challenge yourself to move forward and start loving your spouse again.

Love & Respect, Dr. Emerson Eggerich

As you may already know, men and women view love differently. Men actually need respect. For them, that equates to love. This book was actually recommended by our pastor and we really enjoyed reading it. When we get into the “crazy cycle” as this book calls it, I stop and recalibrate how I’m responding and reacting to my husband. I’m not sure I would have really been aware of my behavior if I hadn’t read this book. The same goes for my husband. Similar to The 5 Love Languages, it defines the different needs of men and women and what we can do to give our spouse what they need. Why would we want to do that? Because we respond to love with more love! It’s human nature. Instead of spinning out of control in our own selfishness, learn how to stay in a healthy love/respect cycle with your spouse.

Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas

This book, different from the others is more on the philosophical side, even existential. It considers a deeper reason for marriage and how it is a tool of the Lord to teach us and challenge us to become holy. Sacred marriage calls us seek out holier lives together as a couple and this book provides practical tools and advice to do that.

Wired For Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain, Dr. William M. Struthers

This was a very interesting read. If you are struggling with pornography invading your marriage and you have a partner willing to start healing, I highly recommend reading this together. This was the best combination of both religious / spiritual perspective but also psychological and neurobiological effects of pornography addiction and how to combat it. Written by a professor of Psychology, the read itself is a bit academic, but he combines spiritual principles that will help you and your partner.

The post 10 Books That Will Strengthen Your Marriage, first appeared on My Beautiful Mess

Looking for other marriage help? Learn more about Setting Healthy Boundaries in Your Marriage

Setting Healthy Boundaries in Your Marriage

Setting healthy boundaries in your marriage might seem like an uncomfortable topic to discuss, but setting expectations and limitations can help minimize arguments, affairs, and even potential divorce.

Setting Healthy Boundaries in Your Marriage

(Photos courtesy of Unsplash)

I’m going to tell you a secret: I failed miserably at my first marriage. I married my first husband on my 20th birthday while living in the UK. At that age, I had the life experience of a fruit fly. I went into the union with absolutely no boundaries. I can’t recall a single time we talked openly or seriously about what we would and would not tolerate. Three short years into the marriage, we were falling apart. My ex-husband had a very lengthy affair with a co-worker. She was also married and had a child.

I’m now 15 years post divorce. I’m remarried to an amazing man and we have two beautiful children. At nearly 40 years old, I can tell you I’ve learned a lot about setting healthy marital boundaries and why they are so important. First, let’s take a quick look at what boundaries are and are not.

Boundaries are:

  • An imaginary line in the sand that you and your partner agree not to cross
  • A clear picture of what you will and will not tolerate
  • A definition of what you consider right and wrong
  • A  way of saying “no” in advance to something deemed inappropriate
  • A way of protecting yourself

Boundaries are not:

  • A way to manipulate your spouse
  • A way to “keep score”
  • An uneven balance of power between spouses

Sexual Boundaries

My mother had a saying. “The devil will do anything to get you into bed before you’re married and he’ll do everything to keep you out of bed once you’re married.” It’s true. As soon as you’re married it feels like there is something working against you, particularly with your sex life. Children, responsibilities, work can all get in the way of having a healthy sex life. You’ll have to prioritize date nights and intimacy.

I don’t believe in setting a bunch of boundaries when it comes to sex except to keep it loving, safe, secure and respectful.

What boundaries might look like:

  • We will keep our sex respectful and marriage bed pure
  • We will make intimacy a priority
  • We will be honest with each other about our sexual needs
  • We will not weaponize sex or use it to manipulate
  • We will not engage in sexual acts that degrade or shame our spouse

Relational Boundaries

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if parents, in-laws, and friends never involved themselves in your marriage? Yes, it would, but sadly whether intentionally or unintentionally, it still happens.

My husband and I, while both Christians, are different denominations. Early in our engagement, we had to decide whether to practice his Baptist faith or my Catholic faith. Of course, both sides of the family felt it was their place to tell us how we should worship and how we should raise our kids. The truth is, you will receive lots of unsolicited advice from family members and friends, but you decide how to deal with it as a couple. Don’t be afraid to shut it down, especially if it creates tension in your marriage.

Early in our marriage, my husband struggled with setting boundaries with his family. Honestly, I think everyone does. That’s because boundaries have the potential of disappointing others. Boundaries say “no.” For him, the breaking point came when we couldn’t make his sister’s wedding. I was 4 weeks post c-section and suffering from post partum psychosis. He just couldn’t leave me still healing from surgery, overwhelmed and suicidal. His family was disappointed, judgmental, and resentful. They were quick to tell us how we should have handled it (to their benefit, of course).

The situation got incredibly hurtful and toxic, but it was one of my husband’s proudest moments. Not only did he defend me, but he also shielded me from further mistreatment. He swore we would not return to see them until his family was willing to forgive and treat me better. I’m glad to say our family has healed from this, but sometimes you have to be courageous when it comes to protecting your marriage from anyone that might hurt it, even family.

What boundaries might look like:

  • We will defend our choices to others as a unified front
  • We will share holidays with both sides of the families
  • We will not allow toxic people to influence or divide us
  • We will protect and defend the reputation of our spouse to others, choosing to cover faults instead of exposing them
  • We will adopt traditions from both sides of the family
  • Our parents can not tell us what to do in our own home
  • We will make seeing extended family a priority
  • We will commit to peace with in-laws even when we disagree
  • We will not accept our family badmouthing our spouse

Fidelity

As I mentioned earlier, in my first marriage, I had no boundaries with my ex-husband. He was free to go to lunch with whomever he wanted, women included. My ex-husband’s friendship with a female co-worker didn’t alarm me, after all, she was happily married too. Over the years, I’ve seen so many marriages destroyed and families torn apart by infidelity. There is one truth I’ve seen in most cases: they were just friends, until they weren’t. Most good people don’t intend to have affairs. They befriended someone and it grew into feelings akin to fondness. Fondness developed into deeper romantic feelings. Once someone else is fulfilling the role of your spouse, it’s easy to justify your actions. Worse, your loyalty and love shifts to the outsider instead of your spouse.

That’s why in my second marriage my husband and I decided to set healthy boundaries when it came to the opposite sex. Transparency is our mantra. This means lots of accountability and absolutely no secrets. (By the way, if you are struggling from broken boundaries, I highly recommend Affair Recovery.)

What boundaries might look like:

  • We will disclose private messages, text messages and conversations with the opposite sex
  • We will not engage in one-on-one activities with the opposite sex
  • We will not travel alone with the opposite sex
  • We will give access to our phone, email and social media accounts
  • We will not keep secrets from each other
  • We will not engage in pornography

Fighting Fairly

Fighting is inevitable in marriage. No matter how much you may seemingly have in common, no two people are truly compatible. You have to agree to agree or agree to disagree. You will always have stark differences. Learning how to navigate fights before feelings are invested, will help you tremendously. It’s also important to note that how we cope with discord is different. The two most common defense mechanisms are fight or flight. We either become combative, defensive, and unreasonable or we avoid it or worse – physically leave the argument. Neither of those produce good results.

Create between you, rules for fighting fair. Consider it a rule book for how fights will be dealt with, particularly when emotions escalate.

What boundaries might look like:

  • We will never call each other names in the argument
  • We will never become physical
  • We will never mention divorce
  • If it becomes too intense, we will take a time out and revisit the topic later
  • We can leave the room, but not the house
  • We will never have heated arguments in front of the children
  • We will never argue in public
  • We will seek out a mediator, such as a pastor or counselor if we become stonewalled

 

There are lots of different topics with which you might place boundaries. Some of these could be financial, religious or job-related. Perhaps they include how to discipline children. They key to setting healthy boundaries in your marriage, is to set them through honest and open discussion. I suggest never asking your partner to do something you would be unwilling to follow yourself. For example, I asked my husband to disclose one-on-one conversations with the opposite sex. But I also hold myself to the same standard. If one of my male friends reaches out privately, I tell my husband and give him the opportunity to read the text messages, etc if he chooses. Healthy boundaries protect both the marriage as a whole and both individuals equally. What are some of the healthy boundaries in your marriage? I love to hear why and how you set them.

 

Looking for other topics on marriage? Read She Does Him Good