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Dear Ali,
What if a Christian indulged in sexual activity for sometime but regrets it?
Does God not love the Christian anymore and won't be happy with them?

Elizabeth

Hi Elizabeth,

Thank you for the question! God’s Word gives us a wonderful promise as an answer.

For the Christian, God’s Son, Jesus Christ, satisfied the wrath of the Father by dying on the Cross. This atonement for our sin allows us to come before the Lord in repentance, seek forgiveness, and be covered with Jesus’ perfect righteousness.

“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:8–9)

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7)

God’s forgiveness and love are unconditional. He loved us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8) and we cannot earn His love by our good works. We are forgiven based on the perfect work of Jesus Christ. God does, however, require repentance in order to grant forgiveness.

Receiving God's forgiveness involves us recognizing that we have sinned and asking for the Lord's mercy. Repentance causes us to see the depth of our depravity. It includes a change of heart and a change of behavior. David’s example in Psalm 51 gives a clear picture of what repentance looks like. Here are the first few verses, and I encourage you to prayerfully read the whole psalm.

“Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;
According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity
And cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
And my sin is ever before me.”
(Psalm 51:1-3)

We come before our Heavenly Father with confidence that He is faithful and just to forgive our sins, but we come in humility knowing that we are not owed, nor deserve, the forgiveness we are so freely granted.

Through sincere repentance, and the forgiveness of sins, we can grow in our usefulness for the Kingdom of God!

I hope this has helped.

Yours in accountability,
Ali

“Ask Ali” is an op-ed column answering common questions about accountability and related topics. Do you have a question for Ali? Send your question to [email protected]. Please note that the views and opinions expressed may not represent those of Accountable2You.

Dear Ali,
I'm currently in a 3 year relationship with my boyfriend. Our relationship didn't start off sexual . . . but it's getting deeper every time we meet. After engaging in it, I often end up feeling emotionally down. I wish things could go back to the way it was. I want a Godly relationship like we both had earlier. I have offended God. I hope I still have a place in his heart. I hope He is still there for me. . . . I need some good advice.

Feeling Guilty

Dear Feeling Guilty,

No sexual sin is beyond God’s forgiveness. 1 John 1:19 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, so that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This doesn’t dismiss the consequences of our sin, but recognizing wrong choices and confessing them to God can now fuel you toward more godly choices and a lifestyle that is pleasing to the Lord.

God Designed Sex for Marriage

God created sex to be enjoyed and cherished between a husband and wife. Sadly, our culture is moving farther and farther away from God’s design and believing the lies that the Bible is outdated on the matter.

No sexual sin is beyond God’s forgiveness.

Sex is not just a physical act. Genesis 2:24 says, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” When a husband and wife become one flesh, they experience a deep physical and emotional oneness that binds them together. Sex bonds two people together.

Your experience of emptiness and “feeling emotionally down” comes partially from the absence of commitment that the marriage relationship brings. Marriage is self-sacrificing love based on a promise of exclusive loyalty that unites a man and woman until death. It is a beautiful reflection of Christ and his bride, the church. He promises to never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

When you give yourself away to someone outside the commitment and protection of marriage, it breaks down an important part of who you are and affects future relationships. You have given precious pieces of yourself away to someone who is not your spouse. In the absence of marriage, sex is simply a union of two bodies for the sake of pleasure (or someone else’s pleasure) that creates an unhealthy view of what physical and emotional intimacy should look like. It can confuse the relationship and shift the focus from emotional stimulation (building a strong friendship and communication) to physical stimulation.

Healing from Sexual Sin

What can you do now? Recommit yourself to purity. Part of confession and repentance is the desire to not repeat the same sin. Commit your relationship to be God-honoring, and require the same commitment from anyone you date. Make purity and obedience to God a priority.

If your boyfriend does not feel the same way, it shows a lack of respect for you and towards God’s design. That is not setting a good precedent for your future together. The character you expect from a future husband should begin during the dating relationship—someone who desires to protect your purity, honor and safety!

Recommit yourself to purity.

I encourage you to seek out accountability with a trusted Christian friend, family member, or leader to help you maintain self-control. If you find that being alone with your boyfriend presents too much of a temptation, make sure to stay in group settings and avoid environments that allow for too much alone time. Consider asking someone to randomly check in with you throughout the day, especially when you have a date planned.

Lastly, you should seriously think about ending any dating relationship where you feel pressured to go outside of your boundaries and convictions. You don’t have to continue an unhealthy dating relationship.

Sex is worth waiting for in marriage. It should be treasured and not taken lightly. It is never too late to commit to purity. Focus on Christ.

Sincerely,
Ali

“Ask Ali” is an op-ed column answering common questions about accountability and related topics. Do you have a question for Ali? Send your question to [email protected]. Please note that the views and opinions expressed may not represent those of Accountable2You.

Dear Ali,
My husband has been struggling with pornography for nearly 20 years and gets angry when I challenge him on it. I have responded each time in forgiveness and willingness to help him through it but he shows no repentance for it. He doesn’t talk openly about his struggles. I feel totally broken and am losing trust in him. He won’t let me talk to anyone about it and he is unwilling to get help. I question my self worth as a wife and person. How long do I keep fighting this losing battle?

Broken

Dear Broken,

You are valuable.

You were fearfully and wonderfully made according to the Bible.

Your worth is never based on the choices and actions of others.

I hear and understand the hurt, pain, and mistrust you are feeling because of your husband’s pornography use. Nothing is more painful for a wife than the breaking of intimacy and the betrayal of trust through infidelity. But his choice to pursue fantasy over a real connection with you as his wife is not a reflection of your worth as a woman.

His choice to pursue fantasy over a real connection with you as his wife is not a reflection of your worth as a woman.

The hardest part about wanting to help a spouse through an issue, especially one like pornography, is that he has to want your help. He has to see the need for change. He has to want to change. With no evidence of repentance on his part, he may not appreciate how problematic his actions have been and how devastating this is to you.

I would really encourage conversation between you both. Regular dialogue about how his day was at work, and so on, can help him become more comfortable opening up with you. Often times men use pornography because of stress, tension, and the sense of losing control in another area of their lives. By asking about his day on a regular basis, you may discover that he is under a lot of pressure at work or stressed about finances at home.

I would really encourage conversation between you both.

When you have the opportunity to talk to him again about this subject, it may be time for some tough love. Do not personally attack him, which will only cause him to put up a guard and be defensive, but focus on how his pornography use affects you. Communicate your wants and needs. Put pressure on him to realize that he cannot have you and other women.

Your marriage vows to each other included commitment to your spouse and no one else. He cannot expect you to continue as if nothing is wrong while his sexual attentions and intentions are focused on others outside your marriage. You entrusted your heart to your husband, and he is violating your trust and your marriage vows.

If he continues to shut down the conversation with no regard to hear you out, then it is appropriate for you to bring in a third party to the situation. Seek someone who can offer wisdom and guidance, such as a pastor or religious leader. Showing him just how damaging this is to your relationship may urge him to take notice and start listening.

Marriage needs to have mutual respect between a husband and a wife, and he needs to see the lack of respect he is continuing to show you.

Seek someone who can offer wisdom and guidance, such as a pastor or religious leader.

See if he would be open to having an accountability partner other than you. Many times a husband is not interested in accountability if he knows that his wife will see his failures and poor choices. Perhaps if you suggest someone close to him that he trusts, he may be more willing to seek help. If he is still unwilling to address this issue, find someone who will help you and give you encouragement and counsel.

I want to encourage you to hold on to hope. Being willing to invest in rebuilding intimacy and trust in your marriage will lead to a happier relationship. Hopefully, he will appreciate and open his eyes to your efforts and love for him.

Yours in accountability,
Ali

“Ask Ali” is an op-ed column answering common questions about accountability and related topics. Do you have a question for Ali? Send your question to [email protected]. Please note that the views and opinions expressed may not represent those of Accountable2You.

Dear Ali,
I know too much screen time and social media can be bad for children, but what about adults?

Alex

Dear Alex,

As you’re aware, more and more studies are showing the harmful effects that excessive screen time has on children as their brains are still forming. But we adults also need to be just as concerned about how electronic devices are affecting our mental and physical health.

Prolonged device use and excessive time on social media are linked to increased rates of depression—not only in youth but in adults too.

Loss of Gratitude

Gratitude and contentment keep us on a happy path throughout life. When we are less thankful, we become discontent with what we have, which leads to more depression.

Social media skews our perception of reality as people post the “polished version” of their life.

Social media has a large impact on how content we feel in life. It skews our perception of reality as people post the “polished version” of their life. We begin to compare ourselves and our lives against others, making us feel inadequate or wanting what others have. For those already prone to depression, this type of browsing can cause more harm.

Distraction

Hearing a notification come through causes us to impulsively check to see what’s going on. It takes us away from the conversation we may be having or the activity we are involved in. Our ability to focus on tasks can be constantly disrupted with the need to know the latest updates. The result is an inability to complete tasks and a feeling of not being productive.

Turning off notifications and scheduling specific times of the day to check email, updates, and so on can help limit how often we are on our devices.

Sleep Disruption

When we don’t get enough sleep, it affects our mood and can increase feelings of depression and anxiety. Most electronic devices emit a blue light that stimulates sensors in our eyes and sends signals to the brain’s internal clock. This has an effect on our body’s rhythm and production of melatonin.

Looking at a screen late at night affects the way melatonin is made, disrupting our sleep patterns.

Your brain creates melatonin to help you fall asleep. So looking at a screen late at night affects the way melatonin is made, disrupting our sleep patterns. Using a phone or computer also stimulates the brain when we need it to start relaxing before bed. It is wise to put away devices at least two hours before going to bed, or use amber-tinted glasses or a night filter in the evening.

Relationship Stress

People with the most personal contact are less likely to be depressed. Weak social connections increase depression, anxiety, and loneliness. Quality social interaction is a key component of mental health.

With the increased use of social media, people are spending less time with each other. Even when we are in the same room, devices distract us from enjoying quality conversation face to face. We can begin to feel isolated despite the fact that we are “interacting” with people constantly.

According to one study, the more social media platforms people are involved in also increased the rate of depression. If you want to be on social media, pick one platform and focus on using it to supplement your relationships rather than replace personal contact.

The Need for Accountability

We have a real need for accountability when using our phones, tablets, and computers. Not having any measures in place to monitor our actions can lead to compulsive and addictive behavior. Many adults see the need for children to have accountability, but they often glaze over the benefits it can have for themselves.

Managing your time wisely and being deliberate on your device can help you avoid many potential pitfalls.

Yours in accountability,
Ali

“Ask Ali” is an op-ed column answering common questions about accountability and related topics. Do you have a question for Ali? Send your question to [email protected]. Please note that the views and opinions expressed may not represent those of Accountable2You.

Dear Ali,
I don’t want to have to fight for my family’s attention this Thanksgiving. I’d like to have a screen-free holiday. . . . How can I get everyone excited about the idea?

Preparing for the Best

Dear Preparing,

Holidays are a great time to practice being screen-free for the day! Cell phones tend to divert attention from what’s happening around us. The mere presence of a phone suggests the potential for a new post, text, or email which affects the quality of the conversation around us.

Cell phones tend to divert attention from what’s happening around us.

Some of the most meaningful conversations can happen around the dinner table. But sadly, studies suggest that one in three Americans can’t get through an entire meal without being on their phone! Technology keeps us connected with those outside our home, but it often comes at the cost of being disconnected from people within the same room.

As you send out invites to those who will be joining you, or if you’re planning the day with just your family, promote the idea of putting away phones so it doesn’t come as a surprise. This way you can avoid unhappy and resentful attitudes by preparing people ahead of time. You want your day to be fun, so it’s best to keep the tone of your request light-hearted.

Plan an activity that everyone can be involved in.

Designate a photographer for the day, or buy disposable cameras to pass around. By pulling out your phone to take a picture, the temptation to check email, posts, or updates can draw you away from the conversation and happenings around you. Pictures can then be shared at a later date, or create mini scrapbooks or photo albums as gifts for your guests to enjoy.

Plan an activity that everyone can be involved in. If the weather is nice, have a football or basketball game in the backyard with chairs set up so everyone can participate by playing or cheerleading from the sidelines. For indoor fun, set up tables with games, crafts, and coloring areas for the smaller kids.

Focus on each other and remove the distractions!

If you have football fans who are looking forward to the big game, suggest the idea of a day without hand-held devices, which will still allow people to enjoy football or parades that may be broadcast.

Just putting away your phones will really help everyone to enjoy one another’s presence and engage in meaningful conversation. Focus on each other and remove the distractions! There is so much to be thankful for. Make each moment matter!

Happy Thanksgiving,
Ali

“Ask Ali” is an op-ed column answering common questions about accountability and related topics. Do you have a question for Ali? Send your question to [email protected]. Please note that the views and opinions expressed may not represent those of Accountable2You.

Dear Ali,
I’ve heard that depression can be connected with too much screen time. Should I be concerned about how much time my kids are on their phones?

Digital Dad

Dear Digital,

That’s a good question, and the simple answer is yes. Many parents are aware of the dangers that harmful images and content can cause for their kids, but few realize that screen time itself can be just as harmful.

Studies show that kids who consume more than three hours of screen time a day have increased rates of depression, regardless of the content viewed. Kids who consume more than 5 hours a day are 71% more likely to have one risk factor for suicide. With 95% of teens owning or having access to a smartphone, this should be a concern for parents.

Comparison

Social media has created an environment to develop and maintain relationships. The fear of missing out and the need to feel included keeps kids connected to each other through technology. The danger these types of relationships present is the perception that everyone else’s life is more exciting than their own. They question how they are stacking up to others.

Kids question how they are stacking up to others.

People naturally like to present the best parts of their life over media, which can make kids compare their own lives to those of others. This causes discontentment and puts pressure on them to find exciting things to post about to seek out approval and “likes” from friends.

Bullying

Another real concern is bullying. This has become such a problem that kids can be scrutinized by their peers 24/7 without parents knowing it is happening. Studies have shown that kids who are victims of cyberbullying are more than twice as likely to harm themselves or display suicidal behavior.

And sadly, bullying is not a topic kids bring up to their parents. They can feel embarrassed and ashamed and fear their parents’ involvement may make things worse. Kids want to fit it and being labeled a “snitch” would not help them to fit in with their peers. Parents need to be aware of who their kids are talking to.

Social Anxiety

Kids are also becoming less likely to interact with others in person, preferring online relationships. Life skills and communication skills in children today are underdeveloped, which causes a struggle when they face real-world situations.

Bullying is not a topic kids bring up to their parents.

Many modern teens are replacing real relationships with online interaction instead of using social media to supplement existing relationships. But physical connections with people are essential in the development of good psychological health. As kids become less able to interact on a physical level with people, social anxiety increases. This leads to feelings of isolation, which directly affects depression.

Be Involved

I would encourage you to really be involved in your kids’ device usage through accountability software such as Accountable2You, and teach appropriate boundaries and limits with how much and how often technology is used.

There are so many opportunities and activities you can get your kids involved in that can directly benefit their growth and development. Put down those devices and reduce the risk of depression and anxiety!

Yours in accountability,
Ali

“Ask Ali” is an op-ed column answering common questions about accountability and related topics. Do you have a question for Ali? Send your question to [email protected]. Please note that the views and opinions expressed may not represent those of Accountable2You.

Dear Ali,
How do I keep my kids safe online? There’s so much bad stuff just a click away, and I don’t know if I can trust an Internet filter to protect them. What do you recommend?

Watchful in Texas

Dear Watchful,

I’m glad to hear that you’re paying attention to your kids’ online safety and not trusting too much in a web filter!

Many companies have done a great job of convincing parents that their software will keep our families and children “safe” and “protected” online. While blocking, filters, and monitoring can help children by keeping them accountable for their actions and decisions, no software will ever keep them safe and protected. Such statements are over-promising what they simply cannot deliver. This type of advertising has prompted many parents to forgo active involvement in how their children use technology and place their trust in a software as their children’s guardian.

It is vital that parents understand the limitations and shortcomings these programs have. A study was done using four popular filtering programs to test the claim that filtering is the best way to keep children safe from dangerous content online. The conclusion of this study reported that

...filters are not a particularly effective technology for protecting children from objectionable Internet content. Further, such programs also block a substantial percentage of web pages with no objectionable material. Overall, filters failed to block objectionable content 25 percent of the time, while on the other hand, they improperly blocked 21 percent of benign content. Given these problematic results, parents and legislators should rethink their current support for the use of Internet filtering technology.

Content-filtering software solutions work in different ways. Some approaches work by blocking content based on keywords that have been flagged as objectionable. Other applications block content based on the URL or by the category the website is classified under (e.g., gambling, pornography, or business).

Consider the following questions to determine how reliable these types of software are for the protection and safety of your family:

  • How often does the software update its list of objectionable sites or words? With thousands of new pornographic websites added daily, there are bound to be some missed through blocking software. Objectionable words also continually change as new abbreviations and substitutes replace common words and phrases.
  • How do you know which websites or words are blocked or considered objectionable? Providers protect the process for categorizing websites and their list of objectionable words and sites very closely. The only way to discover if a website or word has not been included in the list is by your child stumbling upon it.
  • Does your filter accommodate different age groups? What is objectionable for a 7-year-old may not be objectionable for a 17-year-old or a parent in the home. How well tailored is the software for each individual in your home?
  • Who determines what is considered harmful content? Determining what is objectionable is a very subjective matter. Parents have different convictions regarding what is acceptable for their children to view. Filters represent the opinions of the people interpreting and judging the content as objectionable or offensive. Relying on filtering or blocking software gives this determination to the provider and not to the user.
  • How easy is it to disable or circumvent the software? Putting barriers and restrictions in place tends to have a negative effect on kids as curiosity can entice them to find ways around the software and “beat” the system. Filters are relatively easy to break and children are very adept at outsmarting and overcoming restrictions.
  • How does the filters or blocking software address internet searches involving harmful behavior? Bullying online is a common activity that cannot be addressed through filtering content. Without triggering an alert to parents, searches involving destructive behavior such as suicide and eating disorders can go on without being addressed. How-to videos that educate or encourage children to participate in harmful activity can go unnoticed.
  • How does the software protect against interaction with strangers online? The statistics are scary concerning vulnerable youth who fall prey to predators online! New apps are constantly being developed that allow online interaction with strangers. Many are free, appear harmless enough, and require little information to set up a profile.

Training your children how to use technology properly will serve them far into adulthood.

Filtering and blocking tend to give parents a false sense of security. They can mask the need for parents to be on guard and train their children how to use technology properly. Handing over this type of responsibility to software will not benefit children in the long run.

The solution is to nurture your children’s hearts. Parents need to cultivate a desire within their children to make the right choices and hold themselves accountable for their actions. There are several ways to introduce this concept at a young age, but it needs to be a purposeful, deliberate, and consistent part of their growing up.

Training your children how to use technology properly while they are in your home will serve them far into adulthood. Temptation will only increase, accessibility to content becomes easier, and advertising and media continue to push the limits on what is acceptable and “normal” behavior.

Teach your children to understand why certain behaviors are destructive. Make them aware of the dangers that can be found on the internet and what they need to avoid. Instead of using barriers to prohibit destructive behavior, use accountability to nurture appropriate, healthy behavior.

Accountability will help children develop self-control while building a trusting relationship with parents.

Accountability tools like Accountable2You provide a solution that can equip parents to monitor their children’s device and internet activity. This promotes transparent conversation to direct future behavior for their personal growth. Accountability will help children develop self-control while building a trusting relationship with parents. As they learn the benefits accountability offers, it will become a lifestyle that they can apply to all areas of life, even when you are not around.

There may come a time when content-filtering software is useful in your home, but filters can never be a substitute for the parental involvement required to train children toward an attitude of accountability.

You have much influence on your children’s behavior. Help mold their hearts to desire integrity online. Use these precious years wisely to raise responsible individuals who regard accountability as a necessary and valuable quality.

Yours in accountability,
Ali

“Ask Ali” is an op-ed column answering common questions about accountability and related topics. Do you have a question for Ali? Send your question to [email protected]. Please note that the views and opinions expressed may not represent those of Accountable2You.

Dear Ali,
How do I teach my kids to watch out for online predators?

Wary Mom

Dear Wary,

I highly encourage parents to wait until their kids are prepared to make responsible decisions about situations they could encounter with strangers before allowing access to chat rooms, online multiplayer games, or social media accounts. Online predators are tricky and persuasive, especially to vulnerable youth. Without the ability to use good judgment, this type of interaction should be off-limits.

Online predators are tricky and persuasive, especially to vulnerable youth.

Currently, many of the social media apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat prohibit users under 13 years old. But this does not stop kids from setting up accounts. By simply entering a false birth date, kids could have access to strangers and outside influences without your knowledge.

It is crucial for parents to talk with their kids about the dangers that come with interacting online. While interaction with friends and family can be positive and entertaining, kids risk meeting people who could cause them harm.

Your children need to be aware that people they meet online may not be who they portray themselves to be. Predators can impersonate other children or misrepresent themselves to draw information out of your kids. They will use fake pictures and encourage friendship by talking about real life. Children are naive and can have a false sense of protection behind a screen.

Kids must understand the importance of not sharing personal information online.

Kids must understand the importance of not sharing personal information online. Things such as their full name, address, phone number, and the school they attend should never be shared with people they have not met or that you have not approved. Personal pictures need to be monitored closely and clear expectations set as to what is appropriate and not appropriate to be sending or posting on social media. Always stress the importance of never meeting in person with anyone they have met online.

You need to define what is expected of them. Put rules in place for who they are allowed to “friend” on social media or interact with in chat rooms. Be clear about what is appropriate to discuss with friends or strangers. Have boundaries concerning where and when devices can be used. You are better able to monitor screen usage if you limit devices to only common areas of the house, rather than behind closed bedroom doors.

Cultivate a relationship with your children so they can talk to you about any topic.

Parental approval should be considered before any apps are downloaded on their device, especially ones that allow interaction with strangers. You should also have access to any email accounts or social media presence they maintain. If rules are broken at any time, consequences need to be enforced, and devices should be taken away.

Your kids need to feel safe to bring to your attention any conversation or interaction that makes them nervous or uncomfortable. Cultivate a relationship with your children so they can talk to you about any topic. A close connection with your kids is one of the best safeguards against online predators.

It is really up to us as parents to know what our children are doing on their devices. Accountability software like Accountable2You allows you to monitor their device and internet activity and stay involved with their actions and decisions. Being aware of how they use technology will open up communication and give you an opportunity to talk about their choices, so you can train them to use their devices responsibly.

Yours in accountability,
Ali

“Ask Ali” is an op-ed column answering common questions about accountability and related topics. Do you have a question for Ali? Send your question to [email protected]. Please note that the views and opinions expressed may not represent those of Accountable2You.

Dear Ali,
Communication can be so hard sometimes with my spouse. Do you have any tips for maintaining good communication in marriage?

Lost for Words

Dear Lost,

Good communication is an essential part of a successful marriage. The lack of this crucial factor is a leading factor in infidelity and divorce. So here are four ways to encourage continual, healthy conversation with your spouse.

1. Address Issues

Discuss issues when they occur. Don’t let problems fester. When bitterness and resentment have opportunity to grow, communication in marriage breaks down as well as your bond and friendship.

Focus on the issue itself and avoid attacking one another. Identify the root of what is causing the pain, frustration, or anger. Don’t make your spouse guess what is wrong by being vague or expecting them to know how you are feeling. Choose your words wisely and lovingly because you can build up or tear down a person with the smallest phrase.

Listening is just as important to convey to your spouse that you are genuinely interested in what they have to say. Agree upon appropriate solutions that will help you both grow as individuals and together as a couple.

2. Dream Together

Dreaming together is powerful. It reaffirms your commitment to one another. Supporting each other toward individual dreams is fine, but be sure to set goals and have a unified vision of your future plans as a couple. When you dream together, you grow together!

Conversations about all the possibilities life can hold is exciting, but be sure to put a detailed plan in place to see these possibilities become a reality. Dreams become possible by taking action and moving forward. Explore what you value most in life as a couple, then reach for the stars!

3. Keep Learning

Learning about your spouse needs to be intentional. During the initial phase of our relationship, we spend a lot of time getting to know our future spouse. But once we are married, we tend to stop asking questions and get on with living life. It is essential to keep learning about each other and their interests because we are continually maturing and changing as people. The person you married will not be the same person years later.

Having a genuine interest in each other will require you to take time to sit down with your spouse and ask questions. Schedule date nights for the purpose of learning more about your spouse. The benefits will be endless!

4. Show Appreciation

Every day provides another opportunity to bless your spouse with words of affirmation, love, and encouragement. Good communication in marriage often means saying the things that “go without saying.” Life is full of trials, frustration, hurt, and disappointment. But hearing a simple phrase like “You’re such a wonderful wife/husband” or “I love how you ...” can re-energize and motivate a discouraged heart.

Be sure to also speak well of your spouse to friends and family. Praising your spouse in public provides encouragement and positive reinforcement. Having qualities and characteristics recognized in front of others is great motivation to continue that same behavior! Affirming words will communicate to your spouse that they are treasured and valued.

Good communication in marriage is one of the most important investments you can make in building a strong relationship with your spouse. Invest in one another!

Yours in accountability,
Ali

“Ask Ali” is an op-ed column answering common questions about accountability and related topics. Do you have a question for Ali? Send your question to [email protected]. Please note that the views and opinions expressed may not represent those of Accountable2You.

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