No. 18: Are You and Your Spouse on the Same Page?

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No. 18: Are You and Your Spouse on The Same Page?

Listen to this episode from One Degree Podcast on Spotify. Is your marriage where you want it to be? The majority of us, if we answered completely honestly, would probably say that our marriage has room to grow.

How can you and your spouse get better at communicating with each other? How can you grow in your marriage?

This week, we’re talking about being on the same page as your spouse! We want to push you to think more deeply to see at what level you and your spouse are on the same page. This episode has a lot of crossover with our second episode, Establishing Healthy Rhythms for Couples + Families, but we dive deeper into communication with your spouse.

Communication with your spouse

“98% of marriage issues are communication issues.” The majority of issues, fights, and frustrations in marriages come from miscommunications, lack of communication, or misunderstandings that could have been resolved otherwise.

When we talk about getting on the same page, we want to be extremely intentional about communication in marriage.

In The Meaning of Marriage, Tim Keller points out that in Proverbs 2:17, the word used for spouse or companion of her youth is one that means best friend or special confidant. The marriage relationship is the most important relationship you can have outside of your vertical relationship with God.

Most of us would say we agree with that. But if we evaluate who gets our best, it’s likely our work, boss, kids, or friends. Honestly, our spouse is who gets the worst of us. Who we are with our spouse is who we truly are.

Is your marriage where you want it to be?

The majority of us might say that we have solid marriages. If we answered honestly, we would say that our marriages have room to grow. So how do we grow in our marriages? Here are 4 ways to elevate your marriage:

*Note: We recognize that these steps can sound boring or structured, but these habits can become natural and help your marriage thrive. We have seen them change the game for our own marriage over the past few years! They may make a difference little by little, but if you play the long game, they will make drastic changes in your marriage.

1. Implement rhythms of regular communication

If 98% of marriage issues are communication issues, then we should take communication very seriously. We need to fight against those issues by establishing regular rhythms of communication, and by being proactive and intentional with every conversation.

It’s so easy to start going through the motions and get sucked into the mundane. Before you know it, it could be weeks since you have had a deep conversation with your spouse!

One of the best things we did when we got married was establishing a Sunday meeting. Check out Episode No. 2 for more information on these meetings, but they are a set time to have deep convos with your spouse, check in on each other, and hash out any disagreements. Check out our Guide to Your Weekly Marriage Meeting for the questions to ask your spouse.

Another way to do this is to establish regular points throughout the week that you and your spouse can have good conversations. This could be around a family meal or a certain time in the day once the kids are asleep. Write down some convos that you want to have and draw one out every meal time! Think of hot topics, fun/lighthearted topics, etc… The main thing is that you are promoting open and honest communication with your spouse.

2. Determine what your family purpose is

In a typical marriage/family, the activities and schedules tend to determine the family’s purpose, instead of the other way around.

Think of a family with school-aged children. The kids are in sports, the parents are working, and the other various entertainments and commitments they have run their lives. Their schedules are being determined by their commitments and their family values are being morphed by this. Take some time to figure out what are the non-negotiables that you have to work around? What is the thing that takes up most of your family’s time?

In reality, our family’s values and purpose ought to determine what we do and how we orient our lives. Obviously, we can’t take this to the extreme, but far too often, married couples prioritize the wrong things because they don’t determine what they want to prioritize. Don’t let your habits influence your values, let your values influence your habits

To give you an example, here is our Sibley Family Purpose (kinda like a mission statement):

To pursue faithfulness, play the long game, and travel as a pack.

Let’s break that down.

Pursuing Faithfulness: It starts with being faithful to God: believing the gospel, living it out, spiritual disciplines, etc… Secondly, we want to be faithful to our family, which means being faithful to our spouse and our kids. We also want to be faithful to others. With this one, we are really trying to hit what Jesus tells us are the two greatest commandments in Matthew 22:36-40: to love God and love others.

Faithfulness is our main goal when we’re making decisions about things like moving, jobs, churches, etc… We really want to be the most faithful we can be, so it is a filter we are always trying to run things through.

Playing the Long Game: We don’t settle for quick fixes, but focus on what will be best in the long run.

A classic example of this is our finances. It’s not about what we want now to have a certain lifestyle, but playing the long game for our best financial situation.

Travel as a Pack: We really value doing life together and our kids coming along for things. This can definitely be inconvenient, but we value making those memories together and our kids feeling like an integral part of our family. And to be honest, we really do enjoy this time together!

Honestly, our family purpose is kind of wordy. But here is an example from our old small group leaders of a good, succinct, simple family purpose: Love God, love others, and have fun.

Regardless, develop a family mission statement that will hopefully serve your family for the remainder of your lives. When you know firmly what you’re on a mission to accomplish, there is clarity in the small decisions.

3. Determine what your family values are

What are the values that make your family unique? Start with the good values that your family already has or is moving towards- write them down!

Here are our permanent family values (these do not change- they are values that your family demonstrates, not things you’re working towards):

  • Open and honest communication
  • Intentionality
  • Hospitality
  • Holistic health (physical, emotional, spiritual)
  • Spiritual disciplines (prayer, Bible reading, evangelism, fasting)
  • Financial responsibility

It’s also important to discuss with your spouse what your individual values are. For example, Nathaniel really values running, watching sports, and getting time outside to split wood. Xan really values working out, getting enough sleep, and having time to work without distraction. These conversations can help you determine what values are most important and make your schedule fit your values.

4. Evaluate your values and whether your time reflects them

This is where the Sunday meeting with your spouse comes into play. We need a regular, recurring time to have thoughtful and intentional conversations. This helps us evaluate if our time is reflective of the values we say we have. We spend some of our weekly meeting time evaluating our purpose and values and determining how those are going.

While these won’t immediately fix all the problems that your marriage has, they will hopefully help grow and enhance your marriage as you continually seek improved communication with your spouse.

One Degree Shift

Download and complete the “Are We on the Same Page” Spouse Evaluation. It highlights so much of what we’ve talked about today and will be a perfect springboard for conversation around growth in your marriage and family.

More Episodes to Add to Your Queue:

Establishing Healthy Rhythms for Couples + Families

Guide to Your Weekly Marriage Meeting

“Are We on the Same Page” Spouse Evaluation

In a Culture of Quick Fixes, Play the Long Game


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