Hey there, I’m Emma. Married to the very handsome Gordon for a year and a month. There are a million things I could write about being married but I thought I would focus on one thing we try and do every week that we find super-duper helpful.

First though, who are ‘we’ you ask? The husband half of this team is Gordon, auditor-extraordinaire, dish-washing king, lover of all things cricket and Iron Man and devotee of an uncluttered bed. He gives the best hugs, makes the best toasted-cheese and doesn’t like stripes or magazines. He’s a logical thinker who doesn’t like to be interrupted. The wife side of the equation is moi, Emma, writer and designer, queen of the ironing, who dislikes doing the dishes and can’t add 2 and 2 together. I tend to think in stuttering explosions, be rather “interruptive”, dump everything I own on the bed and go about life thoroughly unplanned. Oh, and I love stripes and magazines.

We have the big things in common, like a mad love for Jesus,  and a more normal kind of love for lindt chocolate, Switchfoot and bacon bagles, but we are two very different personalities.

It’s no wonder then that sometimes we can’t just magically KNOW how the other feels most loved. Or realize that that flippant comment said in passing was actually quite hurtful. That’s where our piece of advice comes in.

Ask questions.

Every Sunday we ask each other the same questions:

–          How did you feel unloved this week?

–          How did you feel loved this week? (This includes how we felt loved in our                 love languages and the more physical side of things *wink wink)

–          What does the week ahead look like for you? How can I pray for you?

–          How can I love you better this week? What can I do to help you?

Now don’t get me wrong. These are harder than they look. Having the courage to ask and answer these questions in LOVE, with kindness and humility is TOUGH. Marriage is tough. Many times these questions have dissolved into tears. But oh the things we have learnt about each other and loving each other.

As difficult as this exercise is, I’ve found myself looking forward to having Gordon TELL me exactly how he feels loved. It’s been refreshing and releasing to be able to talk about how sometimes, that thing you’re doing doesn’t actually make me feel as loved as that other thing. I don’t want to waste all my time doing something that makes him feel kinda loved, when I could spend half the time doing something that makes him feel SUPER loved.

And sometimes we think we’ll just KNOW these things. Like I’ll just KNOW that he get’s frustrated when I dump my stuff on the bed. And I assume that he’ll just KNOW that I’d feel more loved if he offered to cook dinner rather than buy take out. But obviously we won’t. How can we if we don’t tell each other?

Sometimes these things don’t make sense. But they matter to our loved ones. So they should matter to us. And the only way we are going to figure that out is by ASKING and TELLING and WATCHING. And loving. And what a joy it is to get to love our best people in the world in a way that makes them feel ridiculously special? It’s so much easier when you just ask. We try and make this a priority in our week. And talking about priorities, remember: Jesus, spouse, everyone else. Every time.

PS. I can’t claim this wisdom as my own, I got it from this blog post: http://www.todaysletters.com/p/tuesday-questions.html and we just adapted them to suit us.

PSS It’s important that we don’t use this as a chance to tick off all the things in the world that annoy us about the other, it only works if we approach it from a humble, loving, Jesus-serving and genuine place. I would hate for something we find so healthy and helpful to become something where either of us feels under attack from the other.

[To read some thoughts on when your marriage hits a wall,  and meet Elaine and Dave Kim, click here]

[A series i ran a while back which is Emma Whiley’s favourite was called ‘How to Save Your Marriage [before you need to]’ which you can catch here]