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Monday, May 25, 2009

How Well Do You Know Your Spouse?

By Norman and Ann Bales

Do you remember the Statler Brother's novelty song, "I'm the Official Historian of Shirley Jean Burrell"? The lyricist professed to know everything about Shirley Jean from her middle name to the "funnies she don't read."

How much do you know about your spouse? To help you figure that out, we've devised a simple test. Take it if you dare.

__ yes __ no I know my spouse's birthday.

__ yes __ no I know my spouse's clothing sizes.

__ yes __ no I know my spouse's favorite restaurant.

__ yes __ no I know what my spouse is likely to order at his/her favorite restaurant.

__ yes __ no I know his/her "hot buttons" - those words, events, and circumstances that are likely to trigger an angry reaction.

__ yes __ no I know when my spouse is angry.

__ yes __ no I know when my spouse is really angry.

__ yes __ no I know the names of his/her grandparents, aunts, uncles, and first cousins.

__ yes __ no I know his/her favorite colors.

__ yes __ no I know his/her favorite book, TV show, movie, song, sport, and sports team.

__ yes __ no I know the things I like that he/she cannot stand.

__ yes __ no I know what he/she wants most in life.

__ yes __ no I know what he/she believes about God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, faith, love, death, heaven and hell.

__ yes __ no I know where he/she would like most to spend a vacation.

__ yes __ no I know the "house language" of my spouse's workplace - those terms, expressions and issues that generally don't mean much to people who aren't involved in that specific work environment.

__ yes __ no I often know what my spouse is thinking before he/she says a word.

__ yes __ no I sometimes think I know what his/her thoughts are, but then I later discover that I missed it a thousand miles.

In the book A Severe Mercy, Sheldon Vanauken tells the bittersweet story about he and his wife, Davey. This story has profoundly influenced us. Their relationship flowered brilliantly before it was cut down in full bloom by Davey's untimely death. They were genuine soul mates, sharing every interest of life - favorite foods, literature, recreation, music, and inquiring spirits. The secret to their love was getting to know one another in large and small ways. If we are to enjoy satisfying marriage relationships, such sharing is essential to maintaining its health.

It's important for us to work at knowing and understanding our marriage partners. It's a lifetime task, but it bears wonderful fruits because all of us have a desire to know those whom we love the most, as well as a desire to be known. It involves listening, shared activities, conversing, and spending large chunks of time in each other's presence. But there is more - something not quite tangible, not quantifiable. It's a willingness to recognize the fact that there's still more to learn. It's the expectation of surprise. Perhaps we can explain it this way. One day you'll find yourself chatting with each other in a relaxed environment. One of you will reveal a thought or a feeling. The other will say, "I never knew you thought/felt that way." That simple encounter can open up a whole new world of understanding. Suddenly you'll realize there are still new heights to climb in your relationship.

Happily married couples know each other well, and they never stop learning new things about each other.

How well do you know your spouse? Do you know the "funnies she don't read?"

- Norman and Ann Bales; via The Family Friend, a monthly newsletter published by the Calvert City church of Christ, Calvert City, KY. It is an excellent resource for articles relating to the family. To learn more consult the congregation's website: http://www.calvertchurchofchrist.com




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