Ten questions a pastor should ask his wife every year

One year the Lord impressed me with 10 questions I was to ask my wife during our annual getaway together. I desired to hear her heart so that as her husband I could properly respond. We found an idyllic setting at our favorite restaurant tucked away in the mountains near a beautiful lake. The view was impressive, but I don't believe either of us was prepared for what God had in store for us!

I encouraged her to answer each question openly and honestly and without any fear that I would become defensive. I promised that this was her time and determined to write down her answers.

The following are the questions I asked her:

  1. What can I do to cause you to feel more loved and cherished?
  2. How can I best demonstrate my appreciation for you, your ideas, and your role as my wife?
  3. What can I do to assure you that I hear and understand your heart's desires?
    Discovering the "heart desires" of one's spouse takes time, attention, focus, and above all a determination to talk about a matter until each understands the other.
  4. What can I do to make you feel absolutely secure?
    If not addressed, feelings of insecurity or lack of confidence will hover over a home like an oppressive cloud. With their differing gifts and responsibilities, a husband or wife will often sense a threat to which the other may be totally oblivious. For a secure home both husband and wife must hear each other out on these issues, and they must respond with immediate and positive action.
  5. What can I do to ensure that you have confidence and joy in our future direction?
    Too many couples have accepted the fantasy that marriage allows the husband and wife the privilege of living together while each does his or her own thing. Husbands in particular tend to move away from the heart of their wives by announcing their plans for the future and simply assuming that what brings joy to the husband will also bring joy to the wife.
  6. What attribute or practice would you like to see me develop or improve?
  7. What attribute would you most like to develop in yourself, and how may I help you in the best possible way?
  8. Is there some accomplishment in my life that would bring joy to your heart?
    After years of marriage counseling, I have come to believe that few things bring distress to a wife like the failure of her husband to have clear, positive objectives for the future. Yet nothing so encourages a man as the privilege of accomplishment!
  9. What would indicate to you my desire to be more like Christ?
    My wife told me that there are four visible indicators which reveal the state of my spiritual life: (a) Prayer (b) Genuine interest in the Word of God (c) Sensitivity to sin and promptness in putting it aside the moment God's Spirit brings conviction. (d) A life marked by the fruit of the Spirit.
  10. What mutual goal(s) would you like to see us accomplish together?

Following our time together, I wrote down my wife's responses to these questions. At the bottom of that page, I wrote down a simple commitment to act on each of her concerns, then signed my name.

Tom Elliff served as the International Mission Board's Senior Vice President for Spiritual Nurture and ChurchTom and Jeannie Elliff Relations. In addition to his work with the IMB, Tom pastored for forty-two years, during which time he served as the president of the SBC Pastors Conference and two terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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