love

Marriage Assessment

While Scott & I were in training to become part-time missionaries overseas, a couple came and spoke to us about the importance of a strong marriage.  They shared that it is vital to take time away each year to assess your marriage, to talk about ways in which to improve your marriage and to take time to get away from everyday life.  They gave us a list of 20 questions: 10 questions were for the husband to complete and 10 questions were for the wife to complete.  Each year, make it your goal to take a trip together and spend time going over these questions. 

It sounded like a good idea at the time, so we filed the questions away.  Well, a year later, we pulled them out and went over them with each other.  It truly was an eye-opening experience.  As we went through the questions, we realized that we both had some unmet expectations and that we both had areas where we needed improvement.  The weekend was much-needed: we needed time to get away from the busyness of life and time to focus on our marriage and how we can be a better spouse.  We came home feeling re-energized and refreshed. 

I wish I could say that we have done this every single year, but that hasn't happened.  Life can get busy all too quickly and having small children at home makes it hard to find time to get away.  But it is a goal to take time away each year to answer the questions and spend some time away. 

We have come up with our own set of questions that work best for us.  Feel free to use our questions, or come up with a set all on your own!  I hope and pray that God uses these questions to help draw you closer to your spouse and to our Heavenly Father.  

“Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage…”

Hebrews 13:4

Here are some basic guidelines for planning your time away:

  • Prepare for your time together.  Plan to do things together. If at all possible, go away somewhere. Go some place different without distractions. Find someone to watch the kids and put phones away.

  • Pray before you begin.  Ask God to help your prayerfully answer the questions so that you can ultimately build a stronger marriage. Suggested Scripture Reading: Ephesians 5:21-33.

  • For the questions: 

    • Make 2 copies of each assessment. Read over all the questions beforehand.  Take time to thoughtfully answer your questions.

    • Be truthful but do it in a way that will bring unity to your marriage, not in a way that will be viewed as an attack on your spouse. 

    • After you have both taken time to answer the questions, meet back together and read over each other responses.  Then, take time to go over each question with one another and talk about ways that you can make your marriage stronger. 

    • Thank each other for what it means to have them in your life as a spouse and take time to really discuss the ways in which you hope to improve upon your marriage. 

    • Close in prayer.  


Here are the questions. Again, feel free to use these as they are written, or you may need to adjust them to fit you and your stage of life:

10 Questions a Husband Should Ask His Wife Each Year

The wife should answer all of the questions by herself first and then go over her answers with her husband. 

1.      Do you feel like you are using your gifts and talents to serve the Lord?  In what other ways do you think God wants to use you? How can I better help you accomplish this?

2.      How can I better show you that you are important to me?

3.      What are some goals that we should set to accomplish this year? How can I better lead us in this direction?

4.      What are some things that you would like to do to help yourself relax? How can I help with this?

5.      What attribute would you like to develop within yourself and how can I help you accomplish this?

6.      What attribute would you like to see me develop or improve? 

7.      What can I do to make you feel more secure in every aspect of our marriage?

8.      Do you feel like I listen to you enough? How can we make our communication better?

9.      What do you feel we need to work on most in our marriage?

10. How can I make your life easier? How can I pray for you?

10 Questions a Wife Should Ask Her Husband Each Year

The husband should answer all of the questions by himself first and then go over his answers with his wife.

1.      Do you feel like you are using your gifts and talents to serve the Lord?  In what other ways do you think God wants to use you? How can I better help you accomplish this?

2.      How can I better show respect for you?

3.      What are some goals that we should set to accomplish this year? How can I help us accomplish these goals?

4.      What are some things that you would like me to do to help you be more comfortable in our home?

5.      What attribute would you like to develop within yourself and how can I help you accomplish this?

6.      What attribute would you like to see me develop or improve? 

7.      What are some things I can do for you to show you how satisfied I am with you as the leader of our home?

8.      Is there anything I am doing or not doing that is sending a signal that I do not honor you as the leader of our home?

9.      What do you feel we need to work on most in our marriage?

10. How can I make your life easier? How can I pray for you?

- Amilee Sanders

The Father's Mercies

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 

Lamentations 3:22-23

I’m so thankful for my Father’s mercies each morning. The sun always rises. The problems from yesterday are a little less poignant. The coffee is warm. His word is true. He is near, and he is listening to me, his child. 

I am studying through Luke currently. God’s nearness has always been an attribute of God that has brought me such peace. We get to see God’s faithfulness and his nearness displayed in this first chapter of Luke. 

Luke begins his narrative with Zechariah and Elizabeth, a faithful priest and his wife. Elizabeth is unable to have children. So many women know this pain, but for Elizabeth, it was also shame. Yet, Luke describes Elizabeth as faithful. She is faithful even though her life is overshadowed by pain and shame. Thankfully, God is also faithful. He sees Elizabeth’s barrenness, yet he also sees her and Zechariah’s faithfulness. 

God tells Zechariah that they will have a son and that his task will be to “make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” Zechariah misses the mission, and focuses only on the problem. He and Elizabeth are past child-bearing age; how will they have a son? God humbles Zechariah by taking his voice away. Zechariah will now watch as God does the impossible. Zechariah’s silence will allow him to grow his faith and to believe God. Isn’t our Lord merciful? He did not strike Zechariah down for his lack of belief; he gave him time to develop that belief.

Elizabeth, on the other hand, responds to her pregnancy with praise. She prays, “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people” (emphasis mine). She praises God for noticing her. She doesn’t necessarily praise him for giving her what she prayed for. She praises him because she is not alone in her shame. God knows her heartache and her pain. That is what her faith allows her to understand. God is not rewarding her with a baby; he is rewarding her with vision. He is allowing her to see Him and to be used by Him.

We often read on by Zechariah and Elizabeth in the gospel narrative, but I think many of us have more in common with these two than we realize. 

They know pain and they know shame. Whether your pain and your shame feels small or if it seems to overshadow your whole life, you can relate to these two. We can reject God in our pain or we can draw near to him. As we see here, He is always near. God sees your pain and he sees your shame, and he cares. God is near to you whether you caused your own pain or whether your pain was inflicted on you. He looks upon you. He doesn’t just look on you though; he will walk with you. Because of Jesus, God comes close and he knows you and he wants you to know him. 

Zechariah had a lapse of faith and belief. Whether you want to admit it or not, you can relate. God gives Zechariah a remedy for his lack of belief. Be quiet. Stop arguing and fighting and trying to talk around the issue. Just listen for a while. God is near. He sees you, and he sees your fears. He will help your unbelief. All too often, we are the one that’s in the way. By being quiet, we can allow God to work in us.

Elizabeth is allowed to see the other side of her pain and shame. This may or may not happen for you. The promise you do have is that God is faithful, God is good, God is near to you, and God sees you. Elizabeth didn’t know that God would give her a child. In fact, she had come to terms with the fact that she would not have any children. In the face of that truth, she chose to trust God anyway. She chose to remain faithful to his commands. Her faithfulness allowed her to still know God, and in turn, it allowed her to be used by God anyway. 

We all know some sort of pain or shame. We all struggle to believe God in our dark places, and we all have the same choice that Zechariah and Elizabeth did. We can remain faithful, trust his goodness, and possibly be used by Him to “make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” Or we can choose not to do those things and miss out on experiencing God in all his goodness and in all his faithfulness. 

God sees you. He knows you. He is near to you. 

And he wants you to know him.