Friday, May 25, 2018

The Proper Care Of Spouses: A Quiz

Ideally, we love our spouses with such mutual, wholehearted attention that no need goes unmet between us.

Realistically, life gets busy, other needs (re: kids) yell more loudly than our spouse, and many days, we're just flailing and gasping, trying to keep our heads above water.

The highest example of this ideal -- and the fundamental premise of Christianity -- images a man (Christ) choosing to sacrifice his own life for a woman (the church). Ironically, a larger cultural experience seems to indicate the opposite: women taking on the greater burden of self-sacrifice in marriage, perhaps not in a final grand sweeping gesture, but in a thousand smaller ways, easier to overlook.

In an attempt to help my husband see all the many ways he was overlooking care of his beloved spouse, I began listing areas of basic care that felt neglected. While on my vendetta, I realized he's not doing that great a job at meeting his own needs. As my list grew so did my recognition that we both had areas to improve in spousal care.

I'm sharing the questions below as a starting point for others to begin self-reflection. I believe quality care of our spouses will naturally support better care for our children as well.

Underscoring all of this is the acknowledgment that every family is different; different marital seasons will call for different expressions of self-giving; different financial situations require different types of sacrifice.
SLEEP
1. Are you aware of how much sleep your spouse gets regularly?
2. Is it adequate?
3. Is it more or fewer hours of sleep than you usually get?
4. Does one spouse consistently go to bed later, due to family, household, or professional responsibilities?
5. Does one spouse consistently wake up earlier, due to family, household, or professional responsibilities?
6. Does one spouse consistently wake up, as needed, during the night, due to family, household, or professional responsibilities?


7. What can you do to work toward quality sleep for both spouses?
NUTRITION
1. Does one spouse cover most of the meal preparation? If so, is the other spouse contributing to family life in another way while this is happening?
2. When your spouse prepares food or drink, do they include you in their preparations?
3. When you prepare food or drink, do you include your spouse in your preparations?
4. Do both spouses sit down to eat with the family?
5. Does one spouse constantly get up, or never even sit down, during a meal, to serve the needs of the family?
6. Does either spouse have special nutritional needs? Are they being met?
7. What can you do to work toward quality nutrition for both spouses?
HEALTHCARE
1. Do both spouses have a primary care provider?
2. When is the last time your spouse went to the doctor? To the dentist? Had a wellness exam?
3. If your spouse were sick, would they have the ability to rest in bed at home without caring for others?
4. If your spouse were sick, would they have the ability to get to a doctor for care?
5. How does your spouse care for you when you are sick?
6. How do you care for your spouse when they are sick?
7. What can you do to work toward quality healthcare for both spouses?
EXERCISE
1. Is this a season of life when fitness goals are accessible for you and your spouse?


2. If you had no time or financial constraints, what exercise goals would you and your spouse set?
 
3. Does your spouse support your exercise goals? Are there obstacles in the way of your exercise goals that your spouse could help remove?


4. Do you support your spouse's exercise goals? Are there obstacles in the way of your spouse's exercise goals that you can help remove?
5. What can you do to work toward quality physical fitness for both spouses?
MARRIAGE COMMUNICATION
1. Do spouses spend intentional time together on a regular basis with the intent of strengthening their relationship?
2. How does your spouse express love and appreciation for you? Is it in a way that’s easy for you to receive?
3. How do you express love and appreciation for your spouse? Is it in a way that’s easy for your spouse to receive?
4. How can both spouses work toward mutual expressions of love and appreciation for each other?
RELATIONSHIPS WITH CHILDREN
1. If there are children, do both spouses have the opportunity to form quality relationships with each child?
2. How does your spouse help support your quality time with your children?
3. How do you help support your spouse’s quality time with your children?
4. How can you work toward supporting quality relationships with each child for both spouses?
FRIENDSHIPS
1. Do both spouses have the opportunity to form quality friendships with others outside of your marriage?
2. How does your spouse help create time and space for you to build friendships with others?
3. How do you help create time and space for your spouse to build friendships with others?
4. How can you work toward supporting quality friendships for both spouses?
HOBBIES / DISCRETIONARY SPENDING
1. Does each spouse have unique hobbies, such as collections, movies, books, video games, outdoor experiences, cosmetics, foods, or fashion?
2. Is there an equal discretionary spending budget for each spouse's hobbies?
3. How does your spouse help create time and space for you to enjoy your hobbies?
4. How do you help create time and space for your spouse to enjoy their hobbies?
5. What can you do to work toward quality opportunities for both spouses’ hobbies?
HOUSEHOLD MAINTENANCE
1. Are both spouses contributing in some way to household maintenance, either physically or financially?
2. Do these contributions -- whether physical or financial -- involve the same amount of time and effort?
3. When your spouse is working around the house, what are you usually doing?
4. Does each spouse do the bare minimum of picking up and cleaning up after oneself?
5. If you were gone for a week, would your spouse's household maintenance be easier or harder?
6. If your spouse were gone for a week, would your household maintenance be easier or harder?
7. What can you do to work toward equal contribution (via division or specialization of labor) toward household maintenance?
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
1. Do both spouses have the opportunity to develop their professional skillsets?
2. If one spouse is the primary breadwinner, is that sacrifice recognized?
3. If one spouse has chosen to stop, slow, or redirect professional development to serve the family in other ways, is that sacrifice recognized?
4. How does your spouse support your professional pursuits?
5. How do you support your spouse’s professional pursuits?
6. How can you work toward supporting the professional development desires of both spouses?
SPIRITUAL SUPPORT
1. Do both spouses have the opportunity to spend quiet time alone in prayer?
2. Do both spouses have the opportunity to spend time with a spiritual director, mentor, or faith formation group?
3. Do both spouses have access to the sacraments or faith connections that might be important to them?
4. How does your spouse support your spiritual development?
5. How do you support your spouse’s spiritual development?
6. What can you do to work toward ensuring spiritual support for both spouses?

IN CLOSING

There are as many one-size-fits-all checklists for successful marriage as there are marriages. This isn’t intended as an exhaustive list. Is something obvious missing? Please share in the comments so others can benefit.
My hope, in this survey, is a renewed sense of love and appreciation between spouses to promote strong marriage relationships.

For a printable copy, click here.



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