I just want to take a quick minute to introduce you to my friend and colleague, Dr. Corey Carlisle. He agreed to write this guest blog post about using curiosity to increase your marital intimacy. Read below to see how being curious can help and then say hi to him through a comment or by going to his blog (info below).
Do you remember when you were dating and first getting to know your spouse? Chances are good you were intensely curious and found great joy in discovering all the fascinating details about his or her life.
Getting to know each other was a large part of the excitement when dating. We asked questions like:
What are your favorite hobbies? Restaurants? Books? Styles of music? Tell me about your favorite memories. Who has influenced you the most? What makes you smile?
However, some time after the honeymoon, this curiosity tends to be curbed quite a bit. And when we stop growing and discovering new things about each other, desire, passion, and intimacy will also begin to cool.
Many couples conclude they’ve simply have “fallen out of love” with each other, but the challenge at this point is to actually take love deeper. This requires us to become curious again and to go deeper into each other’s lives.
Counselor and author Dr. Larry Crabb reminds us, we must “be sincerely curious about another if we’re to know how to speak into their souls.”
In marriage this means we must become curious if we are to know how to truly love our spouse.
Here are four questions to jump start the conversations, help you to know your spouse better, and to enhance the intimacy of your marriage.
#1: What was the best part of your day?
Be curious about the things that bring joy to your spouse, even those little joys that are so easily overlooked. It may be the joy of a hot shower, a cup of coffee, a text message from a friend, a favorite song on the radio, or even the fact that you cared enough to ask about their day.
All too often we allow our attention to be robbed by negative and destructive thoughts, while our child-like sense of wonder and beauty are choked out. Take just a few momentsvto check-in here daily. This not only helps you cultivate an atmosphere of joy, it lets you know how you can be a servant of joy to your spouse.
#2: How are things going with your friends? Anyone you would like to know better?
Anyone you much rather avoid? Be curious about the cast of characters in your spouse’s life. Who makes up their social network? Who brings them life? Who has become a drain on their emotional energy?
Knowing these important people helps you to discover what makes your spouse “tick” and how to love them well. For example, would they benefit from spending more time with their current friends? Do they need help finding new friends? Is there a difficult relationship you can help out with, maybe by just providing a safe place for them to be heard?
Relationships are dynamic. Stay curious about the ups and downs of your spouse’s social network.
#3: What gives your life meaning?
Be curious about how your spouse finds purpose and meaning in life. We all want to know our lives matter somehow.
Meaning may come through our work and other creative outlets in which we offer our gifts to the world. It may come through significant relationships such as friendship, marriage, parenthood, or community membership. Meaning may also be discovered in the Larger Story God is telling through us, knowing that somehow our life fits into His larger purpose.
#4: What do you believe God is up to in this season of your life?
Be curious about your spouse’s relationship with God. When you have a glimpse of how God is working in your spouse’s life you can then partner with God on their behalf. Consistently asking this question also helps you to eagerly expect and look for the hand of God in your life and marriage.
As we become sincerely curious, we can elevate our conversations beyond the routine and above the mundane, deepen our intimacy, strengthen our commitment, and increase our opportunities to express love.
Many of these questions can be answered with just a few moments of intentionality. Others will require longer and ongoing conversations. Either way, take the time to make this investment. It is worth the effort.
So for those looking for a key to lasting love I say,
Stay curious and live passionately!
Corey Carlisle is a deeply curious observer and investigator of human relationships and sexuality. His passion is to help others experience the good and the beautiful in these areas. Corey works as an ordained Christian minister, licensed marriage and family therapist, and certified sex therapist. Connect with him online at www.CoreyCarlisle.org.