By Rachel O’Neill, Contributing Writer
If there’s one secret that has kept our sanity intact as a married couple, it is that we always ask each other. Before committing to a social event, before inviting anyone over, before pledging to do something or be somewhere- we ask.
“Are you up for company on Sunday afternoon babe?”
“I’d really like to encourage this family for this reason by doing this. What do you think honey?”
“So and so invited us over for dinner on this night. Would you like to go? Are we available to go?”
While you won’t find a passage of Scripture that commands or highly encourages this practice, I believe that it is congruent with a Biblical marriage in that it considers the interests of others (Phil. 2:1-3), and shows honor to and respect for your spouse.
Always asking can prevent arguments. It can prevent double booking. And it can prevent burn out. On the positive side, always asking can also help you to better understand your spouse and their unique needs. It can help you to better see your own strengths and limitations.
Asking can prevent arguments. Wives are busy ladies- and running a home, making meals, and having everything company ready usually requires a bit of warning. Inviting people over at the last minute can cause a lot of stress, and as a result, conflict within a marriage.
Husbands who work outside of the home all day might be “peopled” out, and need a quiet evening at home instead of attending a large gathering. When your man feels forced to attend an event because you promised you’d both be there, it can lead to resentment and heated frustration.
Asking prevents double booking. There might be nothing so embarrassing as having to back out of an engagement you’d previously agreed to because your spouse already had plans, and you failed to ask. Asking before committing helps you to both be on the same page.
Asking prevents burn out. In our day and age of constant activity, there are endless opportunities. Things to do, places to go, people to see. Carefully setting up and maintaining social boundaries can protect intimacy, friendship, and rest within the marriage relationship. When you double check with your spouse before making commitments, it gives you both the opportunity to reflect- are you exhausted? Too busy? Lonely? In need of encouragement? Touching base will protect your sanity as a couple!
Asking helps you to better understand your spouse. Every couple is different. Oftentimes one spouse is very social, while the other needs hefty doses of quiet alone time. Different people have different needs, and the only way to know what your spouse needs is to ask.
Asking helps you to see your personal strengths and limitations. I love to say “yes” to people. As a born people pleaser, I’d willingly agree to help everyone who asked me with whatever they asked. This is one reason why it is so important I ask Niall before volunteering myself. He can see with clearer eyes than I when I am too busy, or just sheer unable to do something. He can also see when a great opportunity really suits my unique abilities, and I ought to say yes. Asking him protects my best interests.
Occasionally, there will be exceptions to the “always ask” rule. When a friend calls in the midst of serious personal crisis, it might be necessary to invite them into your home on the spur of the moment. If a church member has to rush one child to the ER and needs a sitter for their other children, it is appropriate to help them in a pinch.
The key is to first of all, make these times the exception, and not the rule. If you ask your spouse 99% of the time, they will be more understanding in cases of true emergency. The second key is to be on the same page as a couple. When you are both committed to loving and serving God and others, these situations will line up with your mutual desires and goals.
Honor your spouse today by committing to always ask. They will be blessed by your thoughtfulness in this area! Enjoy the peace that results.