Are You A Safe Place For Your Spouse?

For the first part of our marriage, I was not a safe place for my husband. Instead of responding to difficult situations with a heart seeking to listen and understand, I often went into “attack and control” mode.
To get to real intimacy in marriage, it is important to know and be known. But being fully transparent is not always easy, especially since we are sinners and imperfect mates. But, as my friend and marriage expert Joe Beam points out, if we desire intimacy and transparency, we must be a “safe place” for our spouse. If we attack or belittle him or her for being honest, the marriage will not grow stronger.
Ask yourself the following questions to see if your mate feels safe in his or her relationship with you.  ___________ probably feel(s)  :5 Often, 3 Sometimes, 1 Never
(For brevity’s sake, I will only use the pronoun “him” in the questions.)
  1. _____ I judge or criticize him.
  2. _____ I neglect to find him fascinating, and I’m not curious to understand him when he is different from me.
  3. _____ I blame him for how I feel when he offends me or hurts my feelings.
  4. _____ I expect him to be my main source of joy and fulfillment.
  5. _____ I’m nervous when we are together because he seems afraid to open up and share his deepest feelings, suggestions and needs with me.
  6. _____ When I think out loud with him, I criticize him.
  7. _____ I neglect to be concerned about every area of his life.
  8. _____ I underestimate his value to me and his priority in my life.
  9. _____ He seems to be tense spending time with me.
  10. _____ I neglect to value his opinions, ideas, concerns, expectations, feelings and needs.
  11. _____ I neglect to value his physical, mental, emotional and spiritual uniqueness (gender, body type and personality)
  12. _____ I hesitate to trust his words and actions daily.
  13. _____ I like to dominate how he feels about himself.
  14. _____ I neglect to praise him for what he does and says.
  15. _____ I neglect to repair relational damage quickly.
  16. _____ My anger is out of control with him.
  17. _____ I neglect to partner with him in finding win-win solutions to mutual problems or disagreements.
  18. _____ I resist the idea that we are on the same relational team and often view him as “the enemy.”
  19. _____ I slack at working hard to have a loving and fulfilling relationship.
  20. _____ I have a hard time forgiving him when he offends me.


20-40 Your spouse feels safe with you. (The GOAL is to hit 20)

41-70 You need improvement for your spouse to feel safe with you.

71-100 Your spouse feels very unsafe with you.

It is never too late to focus on growing a safer and healthier marriage. Invest in your marriage. Join a marriage small group that will give you tools to become the best spouse that you can be.

Learn more about the Dynamic Marriage class that Zane and I will lead beginning September 9th. We have done it ourselves and led it several times, and we can attest to the effectiveness of the material and the class dynamic. Let us hear from you if you are interested, as space is limited.

(Questionnaire from Gary Smalley)

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