Knowing your personality and your spouse’s personality gives you the “oh, that’s why are you the way you are”.
Some great personality assessments are the DISC and StrengthFinders (both cost $$). A good free personality assessment is online at: http://16personalities.com
2. Love Language
Gary Chapman has identified five love languages: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, Physical Touch. Once you discover your top two love languages you will understand what makes you feel loved and how you naturally show love to others. Knowing your spouse’s love language will allow you to discover how he/she FEELS loved!
Read more and discover your love language online at: http://www.5lovelanguages.com
3. Replenishment Cycle
We have multiple relationships that require us to give and pour out. We give to our jobs, coworkers, friends, kids, family, neighbors and of course our spouse. But what happens when you give and give and give…and are left with nothing left to give? We cannot have healthy relationships if we are running on empty, personally speaking. It is vital to your marriage that you as an individual remain healthy and “full”. Knowing your replenishment cycle will allow you to continually be filled up which then allows you to continue to pour into others. Knowing your spouse’s replenishment cycle will allow you to identify why she comes home moody, or he is irritable…it’s probably because something(s) are missing in their replenishment cycle. For more on the replenishment cycle click here
4. Family of Origin
If you were involved in pre-marital counseling, this probably came up. If you haven’t had these conversations…what better time to start that now!? If you have had this discussion it can still be valuable to revisit. First understand that the past does not define you but it does influence you. We are all products of our past…for better or worse. Whether you had a great or terrible childhood…both have influence on who you are today. It is important that you are aware of those influences as well as your spouse. We carry a lot of baggage into our marriage, many times unaware and unintentionally. So take the time to share and discuss your Family of Origin. Here are some links that will help you start the conversation:
We all have expectations. The question isn’t IF we have expectations but rather have we expressed and vocalized our expectations. Most conflict in marriages can be traced back to a lack of communicating expectations and misalignment of expectations. Make it a point to share your expectations and ask your spouse about their expectations. This gives the opportunity to align your expectations which keeps everyone on the same page.
6. Personal Systems
A system is a set of multiple components making up a whole. A personal system is the “how” we each do things. We have systems for just about everything from how you get ready in the morning, how you make decisions to how you deal with stress. Most of our systems are so ingrained and natural that we tend to not even notice. When you know your own systems and the systems of your spouse you will be better work together and communicate. This also gives an opportunity for your spouse to help you adjust or even change any unhealthy systems. This becomes even more important in parenting. Every system you have will be observed and adopted by your kids.
7. Future Dreams & Goals
When was the last time you and your spouse dreamed together? Remember when you were dating…you would sit and talk for hours about what your life would look like, where you would visit, what you would be doing. But as life goes on our conversations get cluttered with the everyday. Even if we don’t talk about our future dreams and goals…that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. When you ask your spouse about their future dreams and goals you are pursuing their soul. This takes you beyond the typical end of the day conversation. A great exercise for you and your spouse to do together is to answer the following question:
“What would the ideal look like 5 years from now in each of the following relationships”:
God, Self, Marriage, Family, Friends, Work, Church, Finances, Community/Society, Enemies
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