(I know I said this was not my M.O. but doggonit….Rainey won’t stop, its him, not me)
Subtitle: How to make married life into a mobius strip
For many years, Tom Elliff and his wife, Jeannie, have taken time away from their normal routines to get away and be together. They read Scripture together, they pray, they talk, and have a wonderful time talking about their lives.
Have I missed something? Was it not that reading scriptures together, praying together, and talk-talk-talking are supposed to be the prescriptions for a happy churchian marriage?
One year Tom decided to elevate the discussion and, in the process, open himself up in a way few husbands ever do. He developed his list of questions over a few months, basing them on issues he knew were of concern to Jeannie, and then sprung them on her at breakfast one morning during a retreat in the Rockies.
Good ole Tom. Like the pastor I mentioned below is Tom not simply adding more rungs on the emotional ladder men are “called to” climb?
Here’s the list (and my answers):
1. What could I do to make you feel more loved?
You cannot make her feel anything
2. What could I do to make you feel more respected?
Wives, respect your husbands
3. What could I do to make you feel more understood?
You cannot make her feel anything
4. What could I do to make you more secure?
Cure cancer? Make cats and dogs lay together?
5. What can I do to make you feel more confident in our future direction?
Turn over the rudder to her, then while going in circles and seeing the same stuff over and over she will feel secure
6. What attribute would you like me to develop?
7. What attribute would you like me to help you develop?
8. What achievement in my life would bring you greatest joy?
Ask again later (The Magic 8 Ball)
9. What would indicate to you that I really desire to be more Christ-like?
Submit to me as Christ the church
10. What mutual goal would you like to see us accomplish?
Optional: Have I overlooked any question you would like for me to ask?
You’re probably thinking, There is absolutely, positively, no way I’m ever going to ask my wife questions like that. (Darn straight)
That type of vulnerability takes courage. (or something)
When I interviewed Tom and Jeannie on FamilyLife Today®, I asked her how these questions made her feel. Jeannie replied that the first thing that crossed her mind was a sense of tremendous honor that her husband wanted to know how she felt about important issues in their lives. “I was almost blown away,” she recalls. “It was wonderful.“(but, she failed to articulate it because she has no flipping idea except she felt “wonderful”)
Tom has reviewed these same 10 questions with Jeannie many times since that first breakfast. When Tom told me about this experience, I couldn’t help but think that it was a perfect illustration of 1 Peter 3:7, which instructs husbands, “You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life …”
No, it is not a perfect illustration. Its a perfectly horrible one but it is the most common.
Asking these questions, and actually listening to the answers, helps a husband understand his wife’s heart. It connects them in a deeper way, and makes them accountable to each other.
No, it doesn’t.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?(Jer 17:9)
The heart of the wise man lies quiet like limpid water.
This is the type of love, understanding, and leadership we are called to as men.
Dear, I will lead wherever you want to go. Let’s both follow YOUR heart.
It is an under-handed game to pander this much and call it anything but what it is.