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5 Questions to Refresh Your Relationship

It’s that time of year where you are flooded with reminders and suggestions on how to “refresh” your home, refrigerator contents, wardrobe and fitness routine (or maybe start one). We spend so much time trying to tidy, clean, refresh and begin again when it comes to food, fitness, how we manage our time, our faith even, but what about your relationship with your spouse?  


A blogger and business owner I admire wrote a post sharing that she and her husband go to counseling once a year to take inventory of where they are at. The idea of doing something seemingly so simple, yet with potential for such a profound impact stuck with me. (Also, the fact that she could get her husband to a counselor so voluntarily seemed impressive, but I digress.) Counseling can often have a bad rap with the military and first responder community. We can sometimes be nervous “we don’t really need the help” or that it will be used against us somehow later in life. Whether counseling is for you or not, the point is to regularly take account of your relationship. {I just read Nancy’s updated blog where she shared she and her husband go to counseling once a quarter now. She also has some great marriage advice if you want to read further}.


In our nearly eight years of marriage we’ve learned that you can’t just let things slide or go undiscussed in marriage. A foothold of anger, resentment, anxiety, disappointment and more can easily take root when your most important relationship is off. In our experience as both a Police Family and enlisted Army, which has included all the hard things-shift work, deployment, dual careers, solo holidays, financial ups and downs, welcoming two little ones to the world, moving across the US four times and more, my husband and I have learned the signs of when things are starting to run off the tracks. 


For us, we ideally like to make a “date” to sit down and talk. When we know we are planning to sit down, the conversation tends to go better-no one is “ambushed," you have time to think and you can (should) approach the talk knowing you are both committed and wanting to improve your relationship. While we haven’t always asked the following questions exactly, we do tend to focus on these areas.


5 Questions to Refresh Your Relationship


1) When do you feel the most loved and supported by me?


I tend to be the “fixer” in our relationship. My husband, while he doesn’t need lots of time spent talking over an issue, isn’t quite the “fixer” I am. He is ok with sharing and letting something sit for a while. We sometimes get into arguments, because he is trying to share something with me, but I am trying to fix it at the same time which frustrates us both :) We’ve learned this about each other, but it doesn’t mean we don’t get annoyed still. 


2) How can we make the most of where we are at right now?


Life isn’t always easy or “controllable” so if you’re in a hard spot think about the small things you can be thankful and imagine what positives could be around the corner.  Attempting to stay positive together can make a huge difference in attitude and perspective on life and your relationship. 



3) What do you need to be your best? 


Sometimes we need more space, regular time with friends together as a couple or individual. Perhaps joining a gym together, taking up a new hobby, monthly finance discussions, more shared parenting, reading once a week instead of zoning out with tv, monthly or weekly dates (so finding a sitter)! Everyone is different and things can change based on circumstances, but find what works for you each of you. And if one of you is going through a very challenging season, know that we can’t be “all things” to each other. There is no shame in reaching out for outside help. 


4) When are we at our best together? 


Of course, we can’t always replicate the same physical situations, but what about the good times made them so good. Were you going on more dates? Showing each other more grace and support? Laughing more? Enjoying a hobby together? Paying better attention to your finances? In a close community? Pinpointing areas that made life so good can provide good insight into your relationship. 


5) What will it take to head back in a positive direction?


It’s important to keep in mind that not all stages of marriage are fun, sexy or easy. Marriage, like anything worthwhile, takes work. There are times when one person does carry more of the load or takes on certain tasks they weren’t expecting (but it shouldn’t stay that way or be something that is taken for granted).



Do you take time to “refresh” your relationship? Would you add any questions to our five? 



Additional resources for Military and First Responder Relationships:

Proud Police Wife:  3 Common Problems Police Couples Face

Chris Kyle Frog Foundation’s Mastering Your Marriage (Military, Veteran and First Responders)

Operation We Are Here

Corie Weathers: Lifegiver Groups (Military and First Responders)

Military OneSource Non-Medical Counseling

Eliminate Never and Always

Lara Casey Free Marriage Guides



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