Custom CSS of Section contains Conditional Preview for See Life Campaign Elements

Nine Questions to Ask Your Spouse to Strengthen Your Marriage

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
iStock/bernardbodo

The right questions asked in the right way can determine the trajectory of your relationship. It takes skill to use questions well — and that skill that can be developed. Here's what you need to know.

A friend once asked me, “Have you stopped ignoring your wife?”

If I answered yes, it implied that I had been ignoring her in the past. If I answered no, it implied that I had been ignoring her and was still ignoring her. I felt as if I were on the witness stand with the prosecutor saying, “Just answer the question — yes or no.” It was a no-win situation.

Most husbands and wives don’t intentionally use these types of trick questions when communicating with their spouse. But if they aren’t intentional about phrasing and framing their questions in a winsome way, their spouse can feel manipulated or trapped.

Which question would get a better response if someone wanted to talk to a spouse about his or her current physical condition?

  • “So, how have you been feeling lately?”
  • “So, how much do you weigh now?”

The first question can open dialogue. The second question shuts it down.

Asking questions effectively is both an art and a science. The right questions asked in the right way determine the trajectory of your relationship. It takes skill to use questions well — and that skill can be developed.

Becoming a master questioner

I bought a chainsaw several years ago to trim a large tree in our yard. The instruction manual began with 10 pages of safety instructions. I wanted to jump to the good stuff — how to make it work so I could start cutting off branches. But if I ignored those safety instructions, I could end up cutting off the wrong limbs — my own instead of the tree’s.

Questions are powerful tools, so they need to be used with precision and care. It’s not just the questions you ask, but the way you use them.

Early in a relationship, you ask questions for information: “Where did you grow up?” “What’s your favorite food?” “What brings you the most satisfaction?” You’re learning about each other, and information is important.

As your relationship matures, the questions should become more intentional, and your skills at asking them need to be honed. If you’re asking the same questions you did in the beginning, it’s tough to move your relationship forward.

Questions that strengthen relationships aren’t primarily about gaining information; they’re about gaining understanding. Information makes us more knowledgeable; understanding makes us connected. Seeing things through your spouse’s eyes enables you to see his or her heart.

That’s what Jesus did. According to Martin B. Copenhaver in his book Jesus Is the Question, the Gospels record 307 questions that Jesus asked. Those questions were intentionally designed to affect people at the heart level. If He had only told people what to do, they would just be getting more teaching. But by asking precise and appropriate questions, He allowed them to discover the answers they needed.

Jesus’ questions to the Pharisees challenged their hypocrisy; His questions to people in need were based on His compassion.

  • One person came with honest questions, and Jesus “looked at him and loved him.” (Mark 10:21)
  • He showed concern in some of His questions: “What do you want me to do for you?” (Luke 18:41)

In marriage, the goal of our questions isn’t to show who’s right. It’s to build trust between each other, which comes through compassion. But how do you ask the right questions?

A simple process for asking effective questions

Here are some practical ideas you can use to make sure your questions strengthen your relationship:

  • Ask one question at a time. To encourage deeper discussions, make sure you ask open-ended questions rather than questions that can be answered with yes or no.
  • Don’t interrupt or defend yourself while your spouse is talking. Your only goal is to hear your husband or wife completely.
  • Listen just to understand, not to formulate your reply.
  • Explore your spouse’s thoughts by asking a deeper follow-up question. It shows that you’re listening and takes the conversation to another level. But don’t add questions that take the conversation in a new direction.
  • Tell your spouse you want to think through what he or she said, and that you’ll come back later with your thoughts.

Taking time to ask questions in this way demonstrates that you’re more interested in hearing your spouse’s perspective than correcting it. That builds trust, which opens the door to even more effective conversation in the future.

Sample questions to ask your spouse

If you’re not quite sure where to start, you can try out some of these questions and follow-up questions:

  1. What are some things that we used to do that you would like to do again? What did you most enjoy about those things?
  2. What things about our life together make you happy? How frequently do you notice those things?
  3. What’s something you’d like to do together that we’ve never done? What makes it so inviting to you?
  4. What was the last thing I did for you that you really enjoyed? What made it so pleasant for you?
  5. Which of our couple friends or acquaintances do you admire the most? What is it about their relationship that impresses you?
  6. What is the best part about being together? How does that make you feel?
  7. What makes us a good team? What could we do to be an even better team?
  8. When was a time you felt that I listened to you really well? What would you like us to discuss but have been hesitant to bring up?
  9. On a scale of 1 to 10, how am I doing as a husband or wife? What one little thing could I do that would move that up a notch?

Conversations become more impactful when you ask follow-up questions. When you listen carefully and continue exploring your spouse’s perspectives, you’ve shown respect and care. You’ve made it more about your husband or wife than about the issue.

A question of motive

What if negative information comes out? That could be challenging, but those issues will eventually surface anyway. If you regularly ask meaningful questions, you’ll build the intimacy needed to have those tough conversations when they occur.

Pick a time in the next few weeks when you’ll try the techniques explained above. Make the environment comfortable and natural, and simply try to see things through your spouse’s eyes.

Here’s the key to asking powerful questions that can strengthen your relationship: Care deeply, listen deeply. Then watch your relationship grow!

Dr. Mike Bechtle is a speaker and the author of People Can’t Drive You Crazy If You Don’t Give Them the Keys.

Dynamic CTA Template Below

Your Teen Needs You Most of All

No parent of teens is perfect and even the best can learn how to better connect with their son or daughter. Get practical action steps to better connect with your teenager in 8 Essential Tips for Parenting Your Teen in this FREE video series!

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.
Emerson-Eggerich4-840w

Understand How to Respect and Love your Son Well

Why doesn’t my son listen to me? Have you ever asked that question? The truth is, how you see your son and talk to him has a significant effect on how he thinks and acts. That’s why we want to help you. In fact, we’ve created a free five-part video series called “Recognizing Your Son’s Need for Respect” that will help you understand how showing respect, rather than shaming and badgering, will serve to motivate and guide your son.

Reconnected: The Digital Experience

Is the love there, but not the spark? Reawaken fun in your marriage and move from roommates to soulmates again with the help of this 7-part online video experience. Learn how to connect emotionally and spiritually as husband and wife using techniques such as dreaming together and establishing deep, heartfelt communication. The Digital Experience includes 7 teaching videos, an online study guide and access to additional tools and resources to help spouses reconnect.

Next Steps: Marriage Assessment

We want your marriage to be thriving and healthy. Take the free Marriage Assessment from Focus on the Family to learn how to strengthen your bond with your spouse and get the tools to help you need to grow closer together. 

Next Steps: Fruit of the Spirit Devotionals for Couples

The Fruit of the Spirit Devotional is a free series of nine short videos to get you into God’s Word and inspire you to seek the Holy Spirit’s help in loving your spouse.

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

About the Author

You May Also Like

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 5: It’s Going to be Amazing!

After a couple has chosen life, hear the heartwarming stories of children that culture would have cast aside, yet are making tremendous impacts in their communities. Whether the diagnosis was adverse or the circumstances were difficult, these stories will inspire you to come along side of families who have chosen life!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 4: Sometimes the Choice is Hard

Hear real life stories of parents who have made the decision to choose life even though the circumstances were overwhelming. You’ll see why “ALL” life is precious to God and why choosing life is always the right decision!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 6: Families Helping Families!

So, after all you’ve seen through the SeeLife ‘21 Episodic journey; what can you do now? We’ll share how you can partner with some amazing organizations that are making significant impacts in the pro-life movement! You want to Celebrate Life!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 3: The Power of a Picture

Have you ever wondered what a baby looked like in the womb? With today’s technology, Moms and Dads can see the baby’s heartbeat, facial expressions, and movements! You’ll find out why more women choose life once they hear their baby’s heartbeat and realize it’s a real living human!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 2: Heroes Providing Hope

Discover the amazing work our PRC’s Directors, Nurses, and Volunteers are making in their communities! You’ll see firsthand testimonies of a PRC in action, and that there are other options outside of abortions! You’ll also discover how your family can support your local PRC!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

In this episode, we will tackle tough questions like, “When does life begin?” and “What does the Bible
say about Life?” You’ll discover and understand the stages of pre-born life and that babies are more than
just a clump of cells!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!