Jill Hubbard Cleaver
3 min readFeb 9, 2023

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7 QUESTIONS TO HELP US SEE OUR SPOUSES IN SURPRISINGLY DELIGHTFUL WAYS

FIRST QUESTION:

What are we thinking? Is there a thought or perspective about our marriage which isn’t serving us?

I had been thinking a lot, “My husband is too busy.” That seems like a fairly benign thought. But it was poking at me, frustrating me, causing an irritation in my marriage. What might be a better thought? The answer to that question is in the next question.

SECOND QUESTION:

What is God’s perspective or thought in regards to my spouse? How does He view my husband’s busy schedule?

In the Bible (Isaiah 55:8) God said: “My thoughts are not your thoughts.”

God’s thoughts are actually more fun. Really.

I spent a few weeks asking and listening for His perspective of my husband’s busy schedule. He said, “Jill, hold yourself to a higher standard in your marriage.” I felt a spark of delight. I was surprised because it wasn’t the answer I was expecting.

I liked His answer.

It made me smile to think that my loving and wise Heavenly Father was indicating to me that I didn’t really need my little pity party, because He had complete confidence in my ability to hold myself to a higher standard in my marriage, which means: 1. Don’t complain. 2. Be a better wife. 3. Clarify your desires with your husband. Speak up.

THIRD QUESTION:

What’s going on for my spouse right now? When I remember to ask myself that question, it softens my heart. When I take my eyes off of myself and really consider my husband, the pressure comes off and my negative emotions lessen.

In most situations, when we take our eyes off of ourselves, the pressure really does come off.

Try it!

FOURTH QUESTION:

How can I lighten up in my marriage, add a little fun? Often, the things we think are big and serious, really are not. What are some ways you like to lighten up, add fun to your marriage?

FIFTH QUESTION:

What might happen if we stop trying to manage our spouses?

Sometimes I want to manage my husband’s driving.

When we try to manage or change someone it makes them feel like there is something wrong with them. And it’s annoying. Being respectfully clear about where we are at is different. Let me be very clear about being clear. Expressing yourself with clarity can bring greater emotional intimacy if done respectfully.

Instead of, “Don’t drive through that snow. Go to the Right. Back up. Wait for help,” if I just express my concern, trust him, pray and be willing to sit with uncertainty, and, be willing to allow for some discomfort if we get stuck, then it’s more peaceful for both of us. And actually, we’ve driven many times in the snow this year and we haven’t got stuck once.

SIXTH QUESTION:

How would it feel to repent every time we have a negative thought about our spouse? “Heavenly Father, I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Please help me choose the pure love of Christ. Thank you.”

I have found this tiny habit to be extremely easy and effective. Often, I forget to do it, but I feel that the Lord honors and multiplies my efforts.

SEVENTH QUESTION:

What might happen if we:

— offer more trust

— forgive

— say “sorry”

— accept our efforts and their efforts

— give sincere compliments

-say “thank you”

— give up trying to even the score

— figure out how to make our spouse feel safe around us

— tell him how we plan to respond next time he does that thing we don’t like

— stop trying to manage him, and also be willing to be lovingly honest/clear

— stop needing him to be perfect, stop needing us to be perfect

— seek first to understand before striving to be understood?

I love questions. I especially love the first question.

God’s perspective or viewpoint is surprising and delightful. Try asking Him for His opinion.

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