In thinking about what makes for a strong marriage, it’s easy to overlook the most basic feature of marriage – it is a close relationship. In dating, engagement, and marriage, there is a natural progression that takes place. Two individuals are moving towards one another – revealing themselves, discovering each other, and growing in love for the person they are coming to know deeply.
In Scripture, the marriage relationship is patterned after the relationship God has with his people. One common phrase repeated throughout the Old Testament is a simple declaration – “I will be your God, and you will be my people.” Page after page the Bible talks about a God who knows his people deeply and who invites his people into a close relationship with him in which there is mutual knowledge and enjoyment.
But when we look at our own relationships, there seems to be a natural shift towards complacency. We don’t set out to be bored and stagnant in our marriages, but it creeps in slowly over time. Life gets busy, routine sets in, and we easily lose sight of the person right before our eyes. We stop seeing the person we love and begin to act like roommates who know their roles and just keep the ball of life rolling.
Marriage is meant to be so much more - knowing and enjoying, discovering and delighting – ever growing in your understanding and love for your spouse.
Knowing one another well is at the heart of a strong marriage, and in order to further help couples move in this direction, many times I’ll provide some reflection questions for couples to walk through together. This provides a great opportunity for them to take tangible steps in moving towards one another, as well as shape a future trajectory of increasingly knowing and enjoying one another in every stage of life.
With the questions below, I encourage each person to see how well they can answer each of the questions below, and then use them as conversation starters for deeper discussion.
- How would you describe his personality?
- What are her strengths & weaknesses?
- What is he interested in?
- What are her dreams & aspirations?
- What are his fears?
- What is important to her in life?
- What does he want life to look like?
- What are some of her past hurts?
- What are some of his present frustrations?
- How does she respond to stress?
- What are the prominent emotions in his life?
- Where would she love to travel?
- Who does he really want to spend more time with?
- What is her picture of a romantic date?
- What does he like to do in his spare time?
- What challenges is she facing in her journey of faith?
- How is the gospel shaping his way of life?
- How is she growing in her understanding of grace?
- How is he maturing in his love for others?
- What is God up to in her life?
There may be some of these you simply can’t answer. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it is an opportunity for you to get to know your spouse / fiance better. There’s a million other questions you could ask as well, but heart remains the same – if you want to cultivate a strong marriage, take active steps to know an enjoy your spouse.