Spring is here and it’s time for David and me to get our annual physicals. This is definitely not on our “can’t-wait-to-do” list, but each year it’s one gift we give each other. We’re better spouses when we are well and healthy.
Just like our bodies, our marriage needs regular check-ups. And just as we are relieved when pronounced healthy for another year, we can have that same confidence that our marriage is growing and healthy. Actually a marriage checkup can be a fun date. You don’t need a doctor and you can design your own examination.
We suggest checking out how you and our spouse are doing in these four areas: physical, mental, spiritual, and practical.
Marriage Checkup Checklist
1. Your Physical Relationship
- On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being over the top) how would you rate your love life?
- Do you need to plan more times alone as a couple? (With little kiddies around, trust us, if you don’t plan it won’t happen!)
- What expectations are realistic at your stage of family life?
2. Your Mental Connection
Which of the following statements describe your couple intellectual pursuits?
- In the last twelve months we read and discussed at least one book.
- We occasionally have adult conversations without interruptions
- We haven’t used baby talk for the last 24 hours. (Good luck on this one. Sometimes we still say “bye-bye” when we hang up the phone!)
3. Your Spiritual Oneness
- Are you closer to each other and to God than you were a year ago?
- Where do you experience God together? (For example: worshiping, studying the Bible, praying, listening to praise music, being out in nature.)
- Can you identify some areas to target for couple spiritual growth? (Like: prayer, couple and/or family devotions, giving generously to those in need.)
4. Your Practical Thoughtfulness
- Do you practice little acts of kindness? (Like texting just to say “I love you.”)
- Do you willingly get up in the middle of the night and say, “Honey, go back to sleep. I’ll get up with Emma and comfort her. I know her ears hurt.”
- Do you encourage your spouse when finances are tight and your mother-in-law is coming to visit?
As you connect in these four areas, talk about what is right about your marriage. What areas need improvement? Choose one area to concentrate on and then follow our prescription.
The Arps’ Prescription for a Healthy Marriage
- Take daily vitamins: Compliments, hugs and kisses will enrich any marriage.
- Exercise your vocal cords: Communication tennis is a great exercise. Pick a subject and see how long you can keep the conversation going without answering with “Yes” or “No”.
- Maintain a healthy diet: Food for the body, food for thought, food for the spirit, teas for two, and so on will keep your marriage healthy and growing.
Why should you take our prescription seriously? First, life will be more fun. Second, you’re modeling for future marriages. It’s good for your son Jackson and daughter Emma. It’s good for your spouse, your friends, your extended family, and it’s good for you!
Don’t procrastinate. Start today because today is all that you have.
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
What present for the present are you giving to your marriage and family today?
By Claudia and David Arp, MSW
Parents of 3
Grandparents of 10
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Members
Founders of Marriage Alive and 10 Great Dates