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Marriage: A Powerful Question to Ask Your Spouse

A Powerful Question in Marriage: How Are You Doing?

Talking to a newlywed the other day, I was asked; “What advice do you have for me?

I figured the best option was to consider something relevant in my own relationship.

A few days earlier I had noticed that my wife was extra tense and seemed to be lacking her usual amount of patience for the kids. As she was walking by in the kitchen I gently touched her shoulder and asked How are you doing?

It’s a simple question I know, but for some reason over the years in our relationship we have come to a level of understanding when it comes to this question. We listen when it’s asked and respond honestly. The intent behind the question goes far beyond the words themselves.

When she asks me the same question its my opportunity to take stock of how I am actually doing. It’s so easy to go through our days reacting and not even realize how we might be coming across to others.

Sometimes we may not even be aware that there is anything bothering us at all.

Or maybe we do know that something is wrong but think we’re doing a good job of hiding it.

Either way, that simple question gives me a chance to stop and ask myself a few questions.

  1. What is going on in me?
  2. What is bothering me, if anything?
  3. Am I responding to the world around me like I want to?
  4. Do I need a break? Is it my spouse’s turn to fill in for me so that I can take a few minutes to sort things out?
  5. How am I doing-Really?

We often hear that question and brush it off or respond with a quick “fine thanks” and even get upset because their asking must mean they are accusing us of some strange behavior.

For me, my wife sees things in me and in my reactions to the world that tell her something is wrong. She asks how I am doing both for the benefit of others, and for my benefit. I learn to self regulate and see when things are off in my inner world. She helps me protect my kids from my impatience in rough moments. Essentially she is protecting me from myself.

She asks because she loves me and loves the people I love- so I listen, stop and think, and adjust where necessary.

So in the end my advice for that newlywed was this, “Ask each other how you are doing. Take the questions seriously and answer honestly. Your spouse sees things in you that you can’t always see, trust them and listen.”

Remember, you’re on the same team and have each others’ backs and are in this thing called marriage to compliment each others’ weaknesses, that’s the beauty of marriage.

© David McVety –


This article was originally posted on David’s blog. For more of his thoughts and to get to know him better, you can visit him here:

Image used with permission by David McVety: AdobeStock/image#487228342