A good connection and closeness in marriage is always the desired goal, right? But in this time of an unrelenting quarantine, connection and closeness can sometimes feel less like holding hands and more like hand-cuffs! 😉
We have little to no time to pull away and experience other connections that help to fuel our desire to reconnect with our spouses.
My favorite snacks are popcorn and ice cream. I can easily eat more of these than I should. But if my diet consisted only of these favorite foods, I would grow sick of them in a hot second! Connection with your spouse can feel the same way without healthy limits.
My husband and I have worked very hard over the years to move from an unhealthy codependency on each other to a loving interdependence. This interdependence has been cultivated by certain healthy connection habits, which also include times to connect with others.
For example, I realized long ago that my desire for conversation could not be met fully by my husband. I needed more support. Click the link to watch my video about that.
So how do we cultivate healthy connections in marriage, especially when we’re tempted to disconnect from each other?
The Bible provides many clues and truths to follow in this pursuit. This week’s focus—in the Insight for 2020 series—will help you to gauge how connected you feel in your marriage. Take the following inventory with your “marriage” and how you are operating as a couple in mind, rather than how you operate individually.
How Connected Do You Feel in Your Marriage?
Click the link—Connection in Marriage Inventory—to download and calculate the overall score.
Hover over each Scripture to see where the questions spring from—scoring yourself based on: 1 never; 2 rarely; 3 sometimes; 4 often; 5 almost always.
1. My spouse and I are quick to confess our sins to each other, as well as to consistently pray with and for each other (James 5:16).
Right out of the gate, I’m feeling pretty good because we’re a 5 here. Many of you know that I’m a big proponent of confession and prayer with our spouses, because of the difference it has made in my attitude and marriage. It’s hugely helped to improve our sense of connection in marriage too.
If you and your spouse struggle here, give it a try! For more on this subject, read how prayer improved my marriage here, and/or look at these posts on transparency and apologies.
2. As a couple, we consistently find ways to honor each other and put the other one’s desires above our own (Romans 12:10).
I’m probably a 3 here because I’m still far too selfish in a lot of ways (and won’t speak for my husband)! That’s one thing I’m going to do to honor him! 😉
If you and your mate struggle here, this one area of weakness can easily erode the connection you feel with your mate. We’re always drawn to people who put our desires above their own. So be that spouse!
3. My spouse and I are gentle with each other, staying self-controlled when we disagree (Proverbs 21:9; Proverbs 10:12; Proverbs 15:1).
If you’ve been around here for any length of time, you know that my husband and I tend to be argumentative. I guess it comes with the territory since both of us have strong, independent personalities. That’s a nice way of putting it! So, I’d give us a 3 here.
If you as a couple struggle here, consider memorizing one of these verses from Proverbs. Then the next time your temper flares, pray the memory verse silently. I bet you’ll feel God’s calm coming over you in no time!
4. When making joint decisions, my spouse and I typically discuss these issues with a patient and supportive attitude (1 Corinthians 1:10; Ephesians 4:2-3).
Typically, my spouse and I are a 4 on this one. When we discuss bigger issues, we try to keep in mind how we want to honor God in those choices, which helps us to remain patient and supportive in the process.
If you and your spouse are weak on this, be sure to frame it with what would please God. As Christ-followers, this is the best way to bring perspective and peace.
5. When one of us offends the other, my spouse and I work hard to resolve matters and always forgive each other (Proverbs 17:9).
As a couple, my spouse and I are probably a 5 here because we know the importance of resolving matters quickly and with forgiveness.
If you and your mate are weak here, it can quickly erode any sense of love and connection you feel for each other. It’s one of the most important choices you can make to improve connection in marriage!
6. As a couple, we affirm each other regularly, especially in tender and affectionate ways (Song of Solomon 1:15-16).
My spouse and I are not great on this one. I’d say maybe a 3, since we “work at it” but it’s not something that comes easily for either of us.
If you struggle here, consider making affirmation a daily habit—say at dinner time. Download my “Affirmation Guide” with daily prompts for this purpose.
7. My spouse and I regularly make time for meaningful conversations and times spent enjoying each other’s company and companionship (Song of Solomon 2:13b-14).
Yes! My spouse and I are great about this one, so I’d say a 5 (maybe a 6, if that could be an option!).
If you and your spouse don’t make this a priority, then you might look too much to others for this—which can add to your problem! And remember, even in times of quarantine, you can make at-home dates a fun priority! Click here and here for some ideas! And click—365 Questions—for conversation-starters, courtesy of The Generous Wife!
8. As a couple, we’re always there for each other, especially relying on each other in the hard times (Proverbs 17:17).
I’d give us a 5 here too. Sadly, we learned this the hard way, in the hard times. Thankfully, we’ve emerged stronger as a couple on the other side!
If you and your spouse are allowing this time of crisis, cramped closeness, and confinement to stir up antagonism rather than affection, pray for God’s help, thanking God for all the many ways you’re blessed in life and marriage! Then blow off some steam, laughing at and relating to the video at the end of this post!
9. My spouse and I recognize the importance of connecting with God together, and consistently make this our priority (Ecclesiastes 4:12).
I think my hubby and I are a 5 on this one too. Our daily focus on God braids our hearts in a very tightly woven bond.
If you struggle here, find a great church service to watch online together! It’s a great way to test the waters if either of your is timid about walking through the physical door of a church. Here’s a link to my church’s live stream.
10. As a couple, we keep healthy protective boundaries in place, including the boundary of keeping our love-life active, vibrant, and a priority (Ephesians 5:31).
Considering this from the perspective of “boundaries,” I’d say, as a couple, we’re a 4. I’m the one who wavers on making our love-life active, vibrant, and as much of a priority as it should be.
If you struggle here, it may be because some of the other areas, mentioned above, are weak. Pick one major weakness—like affirming your spouse—and commit to working on it! My guess is that this will improve your attitude and motivate you to connect with your spouse in other ways! 😉
My application for this week will be to work on #6. I’m going to make it my goal to affirm my husband regarding his personality and looks once every day this week. I think that will really encourage him. Click to view/download the Connection in Marriage Inventory. Click Insight for 2020 Series to find all the other posts in this series. Click here to request to be added to the private FB group that’s supporting one another in this Insight for 2020 effort!
Before you go, head over to MareeDee.com to read my thoughts on how to connect through confession! This is one very practical way to drop your defenses and move closer to your mate! I hope you’ll check it out!
Which issue from the inventory do you want to work on, and how?
What “connection habit” do feel draws you to your spouse the most? Or others, if you’re single?
Before you go, I hope you’ll take a peek at this hilarious video that speaks to some of the challenges in marriage that we’re all facing with the quarantine.
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