1. Intimacy in marriage begins with intimacy with God as Abba, Father. Quality “face-time” with the Father sets up quality “fact-time” with my spouse. The closer and more intimate I am with the Father, the closer and more intimate I can be with my spouse.
2. Active, gospel faith (ie, “Jesus is my righteousness”) enables me to be a safe place for my spouse to be real. The more I know the safety of Jesus, the safer I can be with others. Does my spouse consider me to be safe?
3. Although stated in different ways, it seems as if the number one desire of each gender is to be appreciated. How often to I take my spouse for granted? Too much. What can I do about this?
4. In light of the cross, Jesus leaves me with no doubt that he loves me. Does my spouse have no doubt about my love for him/her? What can I do to change that?
5. The difference between a general friendship and a healthy marriage is the depth of intimacy. Am I growing in intimacy with my spouse, or are we just living as room-mates? Are we living parallel lives, or growing closer?
6. Jesus loved well because he was able to look and really see the other person. How often do I take time to really look and see what is going on under the hood of my spouses’ life? What questions do I need to ask? Am I a safe place for him/her to risk exposure of his/her fears/hurts/issues?
7. Most spouses do not want to be fixed. We want to be understood… and loved anyway. Am I a good listener, or just a good fixer?
8. The way most of us try to change our spouses is by giving them laws/rules/expectations to follow and obey. What if the way we really change is by being loved? But how can we love when a spouse is being unlovable? We believe the gospel — 1 John 4:9-10, “This is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and gave his Son as a propitiation for our sins. Since we have been loved like this, so we are to love one another.”
9. Since being loved empowers love, the best thing I can do for my spouse is to be the object of the Father’s affection and live in light of His amazing grace. Is my chief identity as one who is loved by the Father by grace; or as one who is striving to be loved because of some great accomplishment I can achieve?
10. The problem in my marriage is most likely not my spouse; it is me. If I can begin there, hope and change can abound.