Thoughts By Natalie

3 Things for Your Marriage


I read this Facebook status from author Lysa TerKeurst the other day and I loved it so much I copied it and pasted it into an email to Brian in hopes that we could implement it in our own marriage:

Early in my marriage, I was determined to be a “good” wife, but I wasn’t really sure what that meant!

Desperate to get it right, I tried to figure out exactly what it is good wives do. Do they cook meatloaf, vacuum every day, and watch football? This list in my head of what a good wife does grew until it completely overwhelmed me.

Finally, I told my husband, “I just can’t do everything good wives do. Tell me three things you’d like me to focus on and I’ll try to do those well.”

His 3 things were simple… Be emotionally and spiritually invested in our kids, take good care of your body and soul, and keep the house tidy. (Notice he said tidy – not perfectly clean.)

Of course I don’t limit myself to these three but understanding what matters most to my husband has certainly freed me to enjoy my marriage so much more.

Three things to focus on. That idea appeals to a rule-follower and list-maker like me oh-so-much. As I read Lysa’s words, I realized there were so many things in my life and my marriage that I let slide and as a result I carried around a hint of guilt with me at all times. Guilt. All the time. Not really a great thing to being living with, am I right?

Thankfully Brian found this exercise equally appealing and when he got home from work we had one of the most fascinating and enlightening conversations we’ve had in our marriage. It’s honestly crazy that we never thought to ask each other the question in the first place: What 3 things are most important for me to focus on in our marriage so that you feel loved by, supported by and connected to me?

At a time when we have so much transitioning happening (ahem: a tiny human to care for), I’m so glad we’ve been able to nail down the key things we need to better love each other. It not only is already making us feel so much more connected and loved, it also is freeing us from unnecessary guilt for the things (like cleaning the floors, for example) we simply don’t have the time or energy to take care of regularly.

What do you think? Have you ever done this exercise with your spouse or significant other? What would your three things would be?

Photo by Brett and Emily Photographers

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  • Jessaca
    October 23, 2014 at 8:26 am

    I love this idea. Gonna try it. As a working mother (with another one on the way who finally turned head down…hooray!), there are a lot of emotions riding on what we get done each day. And when that doesn’t happen, look out! I think this is a good way to refocus our energies on what truly matters…even if I do think washing dishes every night should be one of the three. Ha!

    • Natalie Lynn Borton
      October 23, 2014 at 8:49 am

      Yes, I feel like this exercise is especially valuable when kids are in the picture—priorities can get so mixed up, and there are also just way too many things to get done in one day! (P.S. Yay for your baby turning!!)

  • Madison
    October 23, 2014 at 9:27 am

    What a great idea! I agree with you that it’s crazy that I never even thought to ASK Joe what is most important vs. just assuming that the things I’ve put on the priority list also matter to him. I’ll be asking him those questions sometime soon, for sure! And I guess I haven’t really given thought myself to what matters to me for him. It’s good to think about!

    • Natalie Borton
      October 23, 2014 at 10:12 am

      Girl, I was right there with you—I felt silly when I read the post and realized it hadn’t crossed my mind to figure that out. Hope you guys have as fruitful of a discussion as we did! It’s such a good idea to do before baby H comes into the picture, too!

  • Ali Grace
    October 23, 2014 at 9:48 am

    I love this, Natalie! I definitely struggle with feeling guilty about the long list of things I feel I should be doing. Even though my husband probably doesn’t care about half of them! Hoping we can implelement this in our marriage too. :)

    • Natalie Borton
      October 23, 2014 at 10:12 am

      Yes, I hope so!! I feel like everyone is happier when the guilt is off the table and you can feel confident that you know how to love the other person well :)

  • Urban Wife
    October 23, 2014 at 10:19 am

    I so appreciate you sharing this because I honestly (and we’ve been married 6 years!) never thought about it that way! I’m intrigued to see how this looks especially as we start preparing ourselves for having two kids under two, come March.

    • Natalie Borton
      October 23, 2014 at 10:35 am

      I’m so glad you like the idea, too! It’s such a great conversation to have with your spouse. I’m excited for you guys to figure out your three things before baby number two arrives!

  • Lauren
    October 23, 2014 at 11:10 am

    love this! what a great idea- thanks for sharing!

  • Leslie
    October 23, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    Thanks for sharing this! Such a great idea! Sometimes it is so easy for us to get consumed by everyday life and assume that our spouse has the same priorities as we do. I also think this would be good to reevaluate every year (or few months!) as priorities change depending on how life changes. Love this! Thanks!

  • Paige Hilken
    October 24, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    I love this! My husband and I always ask one another how we can love each other better but to have 3 things to focus on is a great idea. I think so many frustrations can arise in a marriage because we spend so much time running around doing things that don’t even really matter to one another. I can’t wait to have this conversation with my husband.

  • Jenna
    November 3, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    I love this idea…and now I can’t stop thinking about it! If it’s not too personal to share, I’d love to know what 3 things other women have asked their husbands to focus on. Do you tend to make it very specific, or more general (like Lysa’s)?