The greatest thing you can do for your marriage is to examine yourself. A marriage is never strengthened by listing the things your spouse needs to change. God can only transform your life when you look at the things He wants to change in you. Use these 10 daily questions to strengthen your marriage. The first six are about evaluating the interactions with our spouse throughout the day. The last four are about testing our spiritual condition in the marriage. Our free Daily Marriage Checklist can help you remain focused.[2}
1. What did I do to invest in my marriage today?
Your relationship is a living thing. It must be fed and cared for. The greatest threat to a marriage isn’t the egregious betrayals we see on television. It’s the slow, growing complacency that leads to those betrayals. Regardless of what expectations your spouse may or may not have met today, how did YOU invest in the relationship? Remember, you can’t control your spouse. You can only control your response to them.
2. How could I have loved my spouse better today?
Where did I miss the mark? What were the missed opportunities to show selfless love toward my partner? Could I have shown more respect for my husband? Could I have shown greater compassion to my wife? If we ask ourselves this question daily, we’ll start seeing opportunities to love our spouse in the moment rather than missing them.
3. Is there anything I need to make amends for?
Pride and stubbornness prevent us from apologizing when we’re wrong. The internal argument usually goes like this, “Well, she was more wrong than I was. I’ll apologize when she does.” But this is the wrong attitude. God holds us accountable for our sinful behavior regardless of someone else’s. We’re not off the hook from doing the right thing because someone else didn’t. As we grow in Christ, we learn to take responsibility for our own actions, whether our spouse does or not.
4. Is there anything I need to forgive?
This one is difficult, but we will go nowhere in our marriage or spiritual growth until we learn the art of forgiveness. Scripture says, “… Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26-27 NLT). Don’t miss the significance of that verse in your marriage. If your spouse does something terrible and you let anger fester, it’s you giving the devil a foothold in your marriage, not them.
5. Did I pray for or with my spouse today?
Nothing will give you more perspective on your marriage than praying for and with your spouse. Pray for them every day and ask them how you can pray for them. I’ll admit, my wife usually has to remind me, but this is vital to the relationship between you, God, and your spouse. If this concept is new to you, I recommend Stormie Omartian’s books, The Power of a Praying Husband and The Power of a Praying Wife. I’m not an affiliate for these books and make no money from recommending them, but they’re a great starting point.
6. Did I love my spouse according to 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 today?
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT)
This is the big one. Many people read this passage at their wedding ceremony, but find it’s a difficult standard to live out. It’s actually impossible unless you’re willing to have the Holy Spirit work in your life, allowing Him to heal your past wounds and direct the love you show your spouse.
The trouble with this passage is that it seems overwhelming. We read through it quickly and assume we’ve failed on every point. To make progress, we must dissect the verse and look for small victories. Yes, it’s easy to look at the whole and say, “I can’t do that,” and continue on in our complacency. But how did we do in the individual elements?
Was I patient?
Did I avoid being jealous?
Did I resist giving up?
Our free Daily Marriage Checklist breaks down each element of the passage. That will allow you to celebrate the areas that you’ve made progress and identify areas where you need the Holy Spirit to help you grow. That leads us to our next question.
7. As I review my love checklist (1 Corinthians 13:4-7), in what areas do I need to improve?
It’s important to acknowledge the things you did well and write down the areas where you need to grow. Don’t just make a mental note, write the areas where you need to improve. It’s too easy to become distracted and justify our behavior if we just think about it for a moment and move on. But the things we put on paper are easier to remember and help our confession settle into our spirit. What parts of that scripture are a struggle for me today?
8. Sit quietly and ask God, “Why do I struggle with this?”
When we fail at one of God’s requirements for loving someone, it’s always the result of past brokenness. Something in our past has taught us how to respond negatively. It could be trauma or a lie we’ve come to believe about ourselves, other people, or even God.
If my response to something my wife did was rude (1 Corinthians 13:4), it’s not because she made me mad (no one can MAKE you mad. They don’t have that much power). My response results from how I’ve trained myself to respond. I’m responsible for how I react in every situation, and the only way to overcome ongoing negative responses is to ask God to show me the root cause of that behavior, then allow God to heal that wound. That requires us to be honest about the next question.
9. Am I willing to let God address the root issue?
It’s a huge step to explore why you respond the way you do, but that doesn’t always lead to change. Once we’ve identified the deep-rooted reason we respond negatively, we need to replace our false belief with God’s truth. Are you willing to ask God to speak into the struggle your experiencing and ask Him to show you the truth through His eyes instead of your own?
10. What steps will I take in my spiritual growth today?
The only way to strengthen our marriage is to strengthen our own relationship with God. He can only heal the wounds we discussed in the last question if we let Him. The best investment in your marriage relationship is actually your relationship with Christ. If you want a stronger marriage, you need a stronger faith. What steps will you take toward the healing power of Christ today?
 This list of questions assumes that you are in a safe relationship. Growing our marriage requires examining our own behavior rather than the behavior of our spouse. However, if a man or woman is being physically, emotionally, or sexually abused, that changes things. If you feel you or your children are in danger, please seek support through a church or an abuse hotline.
 Visit Joshua’s website to learn more.
Written by Joshua J. Masters
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on http://joshuajmasters.com/