Eric and I are were sitting across each other at the table, gazing into each other’s eyes and completing the statement, “How do I love thee, let me count thy ways….” Nah, who does that? That is like romance on steroids. A bit over the top for me. Actually, we decided to visit a Mexican restaurant we hadn’t been to, in forever, to celebrate our twenty-eighth wedding anniversary. We ordered our food and as I was dunking my salty tortilla chips into the salsa and gulping my water with lemon, I asked Eric, “So, how am I doing as your wife? If there something I need to improve on?”
Before you start thinking, “This girl is a downer, asking them kinda questions on a special anniversary dinner date,” I’d like to encourage you to keep reading. I don’t remember where or exactly when Eric and I learned this “Annual Check-Up” thing for our marriage. Something about it stuck with us and we have made it a point to take action every anniversary.
We humans go to the eye doctor and dentist once a year, maybe even twice a year. If you’re a gal, maybe over 40, you succumb to the annual booby-squishing the experts like to call a “mammogram.” Dudes get their their annual physicals and the ladies’ get their annual check-ups. We take care of our bodies, eyes, and teeth. We address weird spots showing up on our bodies. We bring up a tooth that is sensitive to cold or hot.
What about your marriage? Are you having a regular “check-up” with your spouse? I am not saying it has to take place while you’re trying to enjoy a nice dinner date with candles and champagne or chips and salsa/guacamole and waters with fresh lemon slices. The main thing here is to have the conversation. Ask the questions. Having these kinda talks in casual settings like this makes it more comfortable, especially if there is something difficult to bring up or or to be discussed.
This appointment is not about the kids, the home improvements, or the vacation plans. This is a designated time to talk about how you’re doing as a wife or a husband. Think of it like a performance review or appraisal at your place of employment. You’re not gonna rate each other like in school with an S (Satisfactory), U (Unsatisfactory), or I (Needs Improvement) and just walk away with a report card.
Here is how our annual check-up went down. I asked him how I was doing and he gently and casually told me that he would like me to work on my spending and to be more mindful when it comes to my shopping, especially with the fun and frivolous stuff. I accepted that. It was mentioned in a loving manner. There didn’t need to be an argument or tears. What does this have to do with our marriage specifically? If we aren’t taking action with our finances, this keeps us from doing the things that strengthen and grow our marriage; such as date nights, Bible studies, and/or marriage conferences.
Then Eric asked me, “How am I doing as your husband?” I mentioned to him that I would really like to see him grow in the Word. Now, I mentioned this because he was all over it for a while and then it went kinda non-existent. I would like to maybe read together. I would like to see us pray together more often. I care about his relationship with Christ and I want our marriage to grow with Christ in the center.
This is also a time for encouragement and accolades. Build each other up. Point out what you love they are doing in your marriage. For example, Eric still opens the car door for me, everywhere we go. I love that he still does that and I hope my boys are paying attention. He mentioned he liked that I have been more intentional in getting us outside and doing something like going on hikes or checking out new coffee shops.
Try it out! If you don’t want to do it on your anniversary, that’s cool, but set a date. If you’d like to have 6-month check-ups, great!
I encourage you to use this time to reflect on the question, “How did we get here?” How did you make it to 30 years? How did you make it to 5 years? This is a wonderful time to reflect and remember on all that God has done for you. If things are a big rocky in your marriage, this is a time for you to peal back the layers, to see how you got to the hardships you‘re facing today. How did you get to the place you’re in today? Maybe you feel you don’t talk as often or go on date nights anymore. Maybe one of you feels like the other is a bit short in conversations.
This is such a special time for two humans, that made those vows however many months or years ago, to remember those vows and to check in with each other to see if you are doing your part. You’ve committed to each other before God and for a lifetime. Wouldn’t you want to be the best wife/husband you can be? Wouldn’t you want to grow your marriage together?
Now, keep in mind. The real deal is actually taking action after you’ve had the conversation. I admit, Eric and I are works in process. Imperfect people making imperfect progress. A little bit of progress is better than no progress, right?
Make that appointment. Schedule your well-marriage check-up. There’s three of you in this marriage. You. Your spouse. And God. Who else is going to check on the vital signs in your marriage? Give it a try. You’ll be so glad you did.
Hugging you so tight,