Do I Know You?

by mike on October 8, 2010

How well do you know your spouse?  No, seriously, do you really know them?  Especially if you are newly married, how much time did you spend getting to know each other?  As I have said many times before, everyone spends so much time, money, and energy planning for the wedding, that not much time is spent on the marriage.  This can be one of the roughest parts of a new marriage: getting to know and understand your spouse.  It may seem like you already know them well from dating, but being married and living together adds a whole new level. Let’s examine a few key questions:

1.     How well do I need to know my spouse?  There are definitely some key things you need to know about your spouse.  Things such as how you were raised, your relationship with God, how you view the roles of husband and wives, etc.  Obviously one thing I am going to emphasize is to know how your spouse deals with finances.  Are they a spender or a saver?  Do they live on a budget or do they fly by the seat of their pants?  All of these things are important to know so that you can learn how to work together on your finances.

2.     How honest should I be?  “Do I look fat in this?”   The worst sentence any husband wants to hear.  I certainly do not advise saying “you know what, honey, you kind of do”.  Not only is that stupid, it is cruel.  You really should just tell her that she is beautiful and the clothes she wears have no bearing on that.  This is one example, but there are many other times where you need to use discretion and avoid being cruel to your spouse.  For example, saying something like “you are the worst money manager I have ever met” might not be the most loving words you can say to your spouse.        

3.     How can I get used to being two instead of one?  The preacher says “and now you are one”.  Do you really believe that?  If so, then there are certain actions you must take.  Financially speaking, that means no more “his” and “hers”, it is now “ours”.  I never recommend a situation where he pays his bills, she pays her bills and you both have separate accounts.  If you wanted to continue this way, then you should not have gotten married.  Both of you pulling together in the same direction will make you the most fulfilled and content in your marriage. 

4.     Should I tell my spouse about my past?  This can be a thorny topic.  You may be scared to tell them certain things, thinking that they will get angry and maybe even leave you.  Keeping secrets, however, will eat away at your relationship.  You do not need to get into specific details about everything you did in the past, but there are some things they should definitely know.  If you had a past sexual partner, experienced an abortion, sexual abuse, or gave a child up for adoption, or have any legal or financial ghosts from your past, then they must know these things.  For example, if you have declared bankruptcy or currently have $50,000 in debt, that is something your spouse needs to know.  When in doubt about what to share, seek help from a marriage counselor or a pastor. 

5.     How can I understand and adjust to my spouse’s personality?  I recommend taking a personality test together.  There are many different ones out there, but one I have heard great things about is the DISC profile.  It will even help you and your spouse learn how to blend your personalities based on the results.  Also, I recommend reading the book “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman.  It will help you learn how it is your spouse feels loved.  If there are personality traits of your spouse that start to irritate you, remember why you fell in love with them in the first place.  The most important thing I can emphasize is to not allow the thought of not being together ever creep into your mind.  Once divorce is even an option, you both have lost. 

Your marriage will have the most depth and fulfillment when you truly know your spouse intimately.  One thing I recommend is to find a mentor couple.  Find a married couple who you look up to and have a strong marriage and learn from them.  Have fun and enjoy your spouse for who they are.  Your marriage and your life will be richly blessed.

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