When we first got married, my husband used to tease me. Whether I was loading the dishwasher or making a sandwich, he’d giggle and say, “You do that just like your parents.”
I would respond, “Well, that’s how they taught me how to do it.”
If you ever wonder what makes your spouse or yourself tick, it’s important to look back and examine the past and the people who shaped each of your lives.
Whether it’s something simple like how you tie your shoes, or something deeper like how you respond to conflict, it’s important to understand ourselves and our spouses better so that our marriages can thrive.
There’s a term in Christian theology called spiritual formation. Many seminaries offer degree programs for this discipline. It’s all about understanding the spiritual growth and beliefs of people: how spirituality forms, what is aids its development, and the understanding of essential Christian doctrine.
Not only is it important for us to talk to our spouse about our spiritual development and formative experiences, but other areas of life as well. It’s helpful to understand the answers to these questions and analyze how they relate to our lives now:
- What formative experiences did you have that affect why you do what you do?
- Who influenced you? How can you see their impact on your life today?
Consider these different areas and talk about what or who formed your opinions, principles, values, and methods surrounding them:
- Religious beliefs
- Political beliefs
- Family dynamics
Even if we’ve been married for a long time, there is still always more to learn about our spouse. Even familiar stories we’ve shared bring opportunity for us to know each other—and ourselves—better when we look deeper than surface level. Understanding why we each do what we do is key to our own growth and that of our marriages.