Just one question? (Really?!?)
What can you say to your spouse that can deepen your love and connection like never before?
What’s that one perfect phrase that can bring you closer together?
We have the answer and it works wonders to pivot a relationship that has become stale, routine and predictable, to one that is more fulfilling. Even though we already have 66 conversation starters and 77 romantic questions to ask your husband, this particular question is different.
Want to find out what the question is and how to apply it to your marriage? Read on to find out.
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If you could ask your husband only one question everyday, what would it be?
Before we dive into our top pick, let’s look at how Natasha and I view relationships.
Nowadays people are obsessed with themselves. They’re primarily focused on what they can get out of their spouse. We don’t believe that this is a healthy and sustainable way of engaging in a relationship. It leads to fighting, blame, defensiveness, and feeling neglected.
Relationships are never about power, and one way to avoid the will to power is to choose to limit oneself- to serve.– Wm. Paul Young, The Shack
We believe that it’s necessary that both parties shift the attention away from what they could get out of the relationship towards what they can give to each other. With that in mind let’s reveal our question:
How can I serve you today?
Do you see how this kind of question is rooted in giving and serving rather than taking? That’s why this question is so powerful. We believe that this question alone can have a deep transformative effect on a marriage. This question isn’t reserved for wives only, it’s also a question husbands need to ask their wives too.
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.– Mahatma Gandhi
Why is this question so powerful?
When I ask Natasha this question, I give up any hidden agenda. I’m opening myself up to be of service to her. I’m not asking the question so that I can secretly manipulate her into giving me what I want. With that in mind let’s look at the crucial attitude needed to ask this question.
Without it, you won’t get the full benefits of the question. It might even backfire. Let’s find out how to use this question properly to rekindle the love, connection and compassion in your marriage.
The Right Attitude
There are a few things that need to be in place for the question to work:
- You need to trust your partner.
- You need to be willing to give up your preferences so you can serve your partner.
- You need to respect yourself and be able to say no.
- You need to want it.
Let’s look at each point in more depth.
Trust Your Partner
Without trusting your partner, you won’t be able to give yourself to your partner. You’ll always hold yourself back so that you can stay safe. When you want to be of service to someone, you’re surrendering yourself to the relationship and your partner. You can’t do that if you need to protect yourself.
If you’re living in an abusive relationship, it’s more important to get help and learn to respect yourself than trying to serve your partner.
Give Up Your Likes And Dislikes
Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love. – Martin Luther King Jr.
You have your preferences in life and you can stay with them most of the time. However, when you are serving your partner, you’re leaving yourself aside and you’re focusing a 100% on your partner. If you reject their answer to your question because you don’t like it, you’re going back to being self-centered.
Natasha loves to get a face massage at night. Sometimes I’m quite tired but I insist on doing it anyways. Why? Because it’s an act of love. I don’t lose anything when I stay up 15 minutes longer. I actually gain something because I get to do something for my wife. It’s liberating to not obsess about myself and what I’d prefer and focus on Natasha instead.
I get to spend quality time with my wife, looking at her beautiful face and connecting with her deeply while I give her something she enjoys. When you look at it that way, it’s a no-brainer to stay up a bit longer, right?
Respect Yourself And Say No
We just discussed how you need to put your preferences away and focus 100% on your partner. That’s true, AND you’re the one who is responsible for your own life. You need to respect your own boundaries. If your partner does ask for something that goes against your ethics, please don’t trample on your own wisdom. You may find another alternative to serve him that’s not compromising yourself.
I don’t like to have a clean house because it requires continuous effort to clean up and put things into the right places. It doesn’t come naturally to me. But I know that Natasha loves a clean place; so I put my preference aside and keep things a certain way.
Do I completely give up my way of living? No. I am implementing what makes sense to me. That’s a way of respecting Natasha and myself.
Remember that yours is not the only heart that may be wishing for love.– Cameron Dokey, Before Midnight – A Retelling of Cinderella
When you truly want to serve your partner, magic happens. You’re not forcing yourself to serve him, you profoundly desire it and it’s deeply rewarding when you do.
Giving up your own preferences becomes easier because you recognize that you’re doing it out of love. Please be aware that you still need to respect and love yourself. Like any expression of love, you can think that serving your partner unconditionally is the only way to love. That’s not true. Sometimes the exact opposite is needed: to say no while you still love him.
Why is this important? Because our partners can have unhealthy habits, addictions etc. When you serve them unconditionally, you become an enabler of their unhealthy behavior. That isn’t a service to them, you’re helping them to hurt themselves more, and you in the process as well.
You Don’t Need Your Husband’s Input
You absolutely can ask your husband this question everyday. But you can simply ask this question to yourself as well: How can I serve my husband today? See what ideas come to mind, pick one and do it. If your husband doesn’t like it, just take it as feedback and inquire what he’d prefer instead. You’re learning more about your husband and how you can support him.
Sometimes serving your partner means bringing the best of both worlds into one. For example, I like having adventures and going out to new places or events with Jachym. Although that isn’t something that comes naturally to him, he loves my company when we do go out and how much I enjoy it.
Since I don’t want these outings to be all about me, I asked myself the question: what would benefit our relationship? The answer was to let Jachym lead more in our marriage.
Instead of doing all the planning, initiating and guiding us through the activities, I shifted to only suggesting a general idea for a date-day or night. Then I invite Jachym to take the lead and allow him to take me on that date.
For example, he then takes on the decision making process of where he wants to take me. What we end up with is a beautiful combination of me serving him (through suggesting something for us to do) and Jachym serving me (by taking the lead and choosing what he wants us to experience on that outing etc.)
We are surrendering to each other through service. Not only is this fun, exciting and brings more surprises into our relationship, it feels fresh like we are dating again.
Truly listening to how you can serve one another in a marriage connects you to the love that you wish to give to one another. From then on, your relationship no longer feels dull and you look forward to more moments together.
Difficulties in Being of Service to Your Husband
There are different issues that can come up when you want to be of service to someone. We’ll cover a few here. Please beware that all of these things outlined are for healthy couples who aren’t in abusive relationships.
I Can’t Let Go of My Preferences
I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.– Tagore
Sometimes our ways of living are at opposite ends and it can be difficult to give up your preferences in service of your partner. If you find yourself in this situation, there are a few things you can do.
1. Talk to Your Partner
I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned from Natasha. I resisted doing something her way until I sat down with Natasha to understand why she thinks that doing things a certain way is important for her. Our differences seem big and hard to understand as long as we don’t communicate the thinking behind our actions and preferences.
Your partner’s way of seeing the world is just as valid as yours. If you meet them eye-to-eye you might just learn something new. It’ll make it easier to give up your old ways and try out your husband’s way.
2. Just Do It
Remember why you want to serve your partner. Remember how it is when you do.
In my experience, it’s so much more rewarding to be there for my partner than thinking only about myself and my wants. If you don’t want to do something, but you know that this would benefit the relationship, just do it. Human behavior including many likes and dislikes are malleable. If you’re willing to put in the effort, you can change something if you really want to do it.
I hated doing the dishes. I’d spend 30 minutes stacking the dishwasher as a teenager just to get away from washing a single dish.
Yet, I’m the one doing the dishes in our household most of the time now. It’s just something that needs to get done. It’s an easy task. If I insisted on not doing the dishes, I’d just be a little boy who needs to reassert his will.
3. Do What You Want to Do
Let’s go back to the example from above about keeping the house clean. I could keep the house cleaner but I don’t. I do what makes sense to me but leave the rest. You don’t have to lose yourself through the service and become a little puppet to your husband. That kind of behavior has nothing to do with love anymore. You want to serve? Then do. You don’t want to do it? Then don’t. It’s that simple. Stay honest to yourself and you won’t get into trouble. Being of service to your partner isn’t an obligation; it’s a joy.
Is your husband addicted, controlling, disrespectful, harmful or abusive? These are all issues you do not want to nurture. That’s when you want to say ‘no’ and stay firm with it.
For example, Natasha has a tendency to be controlling. We both know that it’s not good for the relationship to let this behavior run unchecked. So we both make a point to address it when it comes up. The more grounded and better you know yourself, the more you can be of service to your spouse in a healthy and sustainable way.
If you are unaware of your own issues, you’ll be asking your partner to do things that aren’t of service to the relationship. Stay away from these things.
My Partner Takes It For Granted
Why are you wanting to serve your partner? Do you want to be complimented and get something in return? When we talk about service to your partner, we look at it as an act of love. You want to do it. If you don’t want to do it, don’t. Coming from a place of service doesn’t mean you compromise yourself.
If you find that it’s bothering you, that your partner takes what you do for granted, check in with yourself. Where am I coming from? What do I expect in return if I do this? It may be an indication that you’ve entered a bartering game with your husband:
If you scratch my back, I scratch your back. That’s not what service is about. Serving your partner is an act of love.
Or you might have taken on a role that you expect yourself to be a perfect wife. If that’s the case, stop and take a break. Don’t do the things you’ve done as a service anymore and let him take care of it. Refocus and reassess what you actually want to do. Never compromise your integrity.
Only when Jachym and I created an Exceptional Relationship did we realize what unconditional love meant. Up until we came across the Exceptional Relationship blueprint to a healthy, happy and fulfilling marriage, our love was mainly transactional. There was always a balance to keep.
Our pick of the one question to ask your husband everyday is a game changer. It’s an avenue for you to:
- Explore deep connection and selfless giving
- Practice clear boundaries setting
- Open up communication for neglected desires
- Surrender to the love you have for one another
The more you learn about what your partner wants, the more you learn about what it is that you want. The more you respect your partner, the more you value yourself. That’s why this question can be deeply healing and transformative for your marriage.
Your relationship is built with the two of you, but we so often forget about the other person or the unit as a whole. What can you do today to bring even more love and connection to your marriage? Review the four key principles when asking this question and offer your love to service your husband today.
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