I’ve been writing about marriage and family for the past four years. This is the equivalent of the time I spent getting my undergraduate degree almost twenty years ago.
I never had a successful career in anything related to my degree. But my career as a blogger, author, and speaker in the area of marriage and family is having a major influence on many couples.
What’s the difference?
Once I walked off that platform with my political science degree I never picked up another political science book. My learning and my discovering in that area was over. And when the learning ended, my career in political science died.
I’ve noticed many marriages are ending due to the same thing.
At some point after walking down the aisle, after having children, or after becoming very career focused, husbands and wives stop learning about one another and the most important relationship they’ll ever have.
An Important but Neglected Area of Study
We study entrepreneurship, we study platform building and publishing, we study marketing, we study investing, and we may even study politics. But we don’t always study our spouses.
I discuss the importance of studying our spouses in my new book, The 7 Rings of Marriage, I call this stage, or “ring” of marriage, the “Discovering.” Discovering things about your spouse is life-giving to your marriage. I believe when discovering stops the death of your marriage begins.
We were at this point in our marriage years ago. We became comfortable and complacent. We took things—no, we took one another—for granted. We assumed since we were married, and had known each for so long, that our marriage would naturally grow as a result of time.
Our marriage grew alright, but not necessarily in the direction we wanted it to.
What Happens When our Education Ends
We were both growing, just not together. My interests were changing and my wife, Stephana, didn’t always notice. Stephana’s needs were changing, but I was oblivious to them.
Finally, we reached a point where we felt we didn’t really know each other.
That was a scary discovery, one that you may be able to relate to. You may know the ins and outs of your business or ministry like nobody else. But maybe you don’t know the ins and outs of your spouse like nobody else.
It may be time for you to enroll in the continuing education about your spouse.
3 Ways to Get an Advance Degree in ‘Spouse’
Below are three ways to continue discovering new things about your spouse, and growing closer to your spouse.
- Do new things together. Several years ago my wife and I went snow skiing. Wow, what an experience! I never knew my wife was such a risk taker, while at the same time she learned how risk averse I am. I came away appreciating her boldness, which I’d never known like that before.
She learned to find another partner when it comes to skiing, roller coaster riding, or anything involving physical risk! Experiencing new things helps you understand and appreciate your spouse in new ways.
Take notes. I’m sure you’ve attended one of Michael’s webinars. I bet you took notes. You took notes because it helps cement the lessons you learned and gives you the opportunity to later review and act on what he taught.
Why not take the same approach with your spouse? I use Evernote to document my wife’s likes, dislikes, health concerns, prayers, and anything else I find interesting about her. If you plan to study your spouse, you should be taking notes.
Use your calendar. What gets calendared gets done. I’m not saying our spouses are nothing more than appointments. But from my experience things that don’t make it on my calendar receive the “out of sight, out of mind” treatment. Unfortunately, this has happened in our marriage.
Put date nights and lunch dates in your calendar. Block out time to unwind each evening with your spouse. Even schedule down time where you can do nothing but talk together.
Of course this is not an exhaustive list of ways to learn more about your spouse. The limits are only restricted by your imagination and creativity. The key is remembering there is no graduation or end date regarding the things you can learn about your spouse and your marriage.
Question: What’s another way you can become a lifelong learner of your spouse?