Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Annual Marriage Review

How awesome are the lego people??!!!

So there is a great sermon series at the church we go to in Kansas City that I'm pretty much obsessed with and felt like it was for sure something good enough to share!  It's called Love, Sex and Marriage - and has been about pretty much a mix of all those things the last 5 weeks (next week is the end of the sermon series).  Adam Hamilton has done a pretty amazing job (not surprising) of making this a very engaging sermon series and pretty much all good things for everyone to hear, but especially a couple that has been married for a little under 2 years in their 20 somethings.  Because lots of it was about what is likely to come in our marriage (i.e. more fights with kids, more struggles and arguments - but then as we get way older, things get a little better...haha!).  But he also did a great job of relating this real life topic to the bible and shows you how God really intended for you to love one another in such a sacred relationship of husband and wife.

Most of Adam's data in his sermons was all based off of a survey that people from the congregation could take or really anyone - and about 5,000 people took it.  WOW.  And the results, well sitting in church each week and hearing them was pretty fun and funny - and overall made you realize that if you and your husband have stupid fights every once and a while or don't have sex 4 times a week or even 2 times a week - guess what....YOU ARE NORMAL.  Crazy, right?  Well, as much as you can tell yourself that you are "normal", it is always nice to hear that everyone else isn't perfect either.

A few highlights that I have loved and taken away from the last 5 weeks are as follows:

Date Nights:
One super fun thing that Jimmy and I need to keep up with is monthly date nights.  COR did a contest for ideas for dates until $50 and awarded a winner to the best one.  Check out the list here, it's pretty awesome as a resource and makes it easier to actually make those dates happen if you feel like you are too busy

Different love languages:
It was interesting that this was a big topic in one of the sermons - that guess what?  Everyone speaks a different "love language", meaning everyone loves and feels love differently.  For instance, I show Jimmy love by "serving" (not literally) him and doing things for him around the house like cooking and cleaning, etc.  But if he doesn't receive love like that, then it doesn't mean as much to him.  So recognizing how your spouse gives and receives love is SO important.  Have you read the book?  I have read some of it and need to finish it up, but it's pretty interesting.  And most importantly - take this 30 second quiz and send to your husband/significant other to take so you can know each others!!

Learning about the future:
As a couple that is in their 20s and married for almost 2 years with a baby on the way, guess what?  Our life is about to get a lot more complicated.  Sharing responsibilities, keeping up a household and our lives with a new little one is not easy and will likely cause more tension that exists now....but guess what?  That means it's more important to focus and realize the importance to maintaining the relationship aspect of our marriage and keep some time to ourselves.  Couples that took the survey in their 30s fought more, had sex less, communicated less and overall - were not as "happy".  It's nice to have some perspective going into a new life stage that it's not supposed to be perfect or easy - but we are now aware and going to try to make it as fun and as wonderful as we can!

Annual marriage "performance review":
This one I'm obsessed with.  And if you know me, you probably aren't surprised.  What a BRILLIANT idea.  I mean think of these dreaded performance reviews you do every year (and possibly mid-year) at work!!  The time you have to spend writing goals each year, discussing with your manage, evaluating your performance in meeting these goals halfway through the year and then finally after the year is over discussing again to assess.  I mean come on - we spend so much time, energy and effort focusing on that each year but yet we don't take the time to sit down and do that with our relationships - let alone the most important relationship, your marriage.  One thing Jimmy and I do is an annual budget review.  Again, if you know me, I'm crazy and yes, I track our expenses and income each month and categorize them in a summary tab and then do quarterly charts and graphs.  Weird?  Maybe, but I know where all our money goes and Jimmy and I can talk about intelligently about where we could have spent less money and why.  So WHY do we not talk about our marriage relationship - which is just as important as our budget/spending.  When Adam mentioned this last week - I about died.  Love it.  So much.  I am going to have Jimmy and I do it on our anniversary each year.  Open dialogue about things you think you did well and could do better and get feedback from the other person.  The best part about doing this with your spouse (or maybe this is just us...) is that I know it's going to be brutally honest....and I love that.  Because in our relationship, there is little sugar coating.

Not sure how to start the conversation or what to evaluate each year?  Here is a survey I found from psychology today that is based on a ranking system.

"In the past year how have I performed on the following behaviors?

Strongly agree 1
Agree 2
Not sure 3
Disagree 4
Strongly disagree 5

I have given you the physical affection that you need. 1 2 3 4 5
I have been sensitive to your sexual needs. 1 2 3 4 5
I have provided you with the emotional affirmation you need. 1 2 3 4 5
I have been supportive when you were stressed and troubled. 1 2 3 4 5
I have spent as much time with you as you needed. 1 2 3 4 5

I have listened well when you were telling me something
that was important to you. 1 2 3 4 5
When we disagreed on something I was respectful of you and
willingly engaged until we resolved the issue. 1 2 3 4 5
During the year you felt comfortable raising difficult issues
with me and did not feel you had to bury important issues. 1 2 3 4 5
I have been transparent with you about my feelings so you
did not have to guess about them. 1 2 3 4 5
Together we have successfully resolved the important issues
on which we disagreed. 1 2 3 4 5
On most days I have been reasonably cheerful. 1 2 3 4 5

I have been a good provider for the family this year. 1 2 3 4 5
I have responsibly marshaled and preserved the
resources of the family. 1 2 3 4 5
I have consulted with you in good faith regarding major
expenditures of money. 1 2 3 4 5

I have done my fair share of housework this year. 1 2 3 4 5

I have done my fair share of child care and parenting this year. 1 2 3 4 5
You approve of my approach to parenting and discipline. 1 2 3 4 5
I spend enough time with the children. 1 2 3 4 5
I spend too much time with the children and not
enough time with you. 1 2 3 4 5

Or click HERE for 10 questions for husbands to ask their wives and HERE for 10 questions for wives to ask their husbands.  I like these because they really do encourage open dialogue and discussion about both partner's perceptions and views on themselves and each other.  I also think setting 2 goals to vow to work on the next year.  Something like, "I know it bothers you when we are driving in the car and I critique your driving or make sounds in the passenger I will make an honest effort to not do that".  I mean, that's a personal example people - haha.  And we ride to work together, so the chance for that to happen has like quadrupled now - ah!!  But I think the deal is you can only pick the 2 most important ones....because then it gives you something to focus on and make sure you don't spread yourself too thin.

So what do you think - would you do an annual marriage review?  Interested in cheap date night ideas or learning your spouse's love language??  I really encourage you to listen to the sermons if you have time (they are all recorded and on the website) or if you are in Kansas City/Leawood this weekend, come to the service.  It's been a very inspiring series that has taught both Jimmy and I a lot and has really made me look at our marriage in a new light - and realize that it's going to continue to take work and need to be a priority to last forever, which sitting next to Jimmy during theses sermons make forever sound like a whole lot of fun.


  1. Adam and I went to this marriage conference last year in Estes Park and it was awesome. Sounds like some of the same stuff, but over a weekend. We are trying to plan to make it to another one this year too... If you and Jimmy are interested, I can give you the details- they are all over the country. This post reminded me that I actually need to book it :)

  2. What a good idea Britt! Is that good or bad for you that I am your "reviewer" :)

  3. I am totally sticking this post to a pinterest board.

    One thing I feel important to point out though-- that psychology list? Totally ignores "inlaw management", which can be a pretty important factor in marriage, especially after those inlaws become grandparents.

    1. Cori - thanks for your comment! My husband and I were just talking about this because our anniversary is coming up in a few weeks and we need to do this. Especially now that we have a baby in the mix :) And TOTALLY agree about inlaw management - is so important with grandkids!