A Generous Grace

ideas on practical spirituality and loving each other

Tag: discussion questions (page 1 of 2)

Know Thy [Stressed] Self, Part II: The Stressed Version of Your Marriage

Missed Part I? Grab it here.

One of the unexpected delights of our final couple of months in Africa was the arrival of a college friend who’s known my husband and I since the beginning. She watched us meet, cautiously date, giddily become engaged. She played the piano when the two of us spring chickens said “I do” forever. Later, I stood with her as she spoke her own vows beneath a spreading tree. And when she visited us in Africa and we stayed up entirely too late, she gave us this gift: I told my husband, “I love that she reminds us how good we are together. That you and I together are a really good thing.”

I wrote before that this time of leaving Africa, of setting a foot on two highly divergent continents, has delivered unavoidable stress to our relationship. Both of us are strained, so it makes sense that our most intimate relationships would bear that weight. So it was kind of God to remind us that despite the ways we occasionally feel like the losers in a three-legged-race right now—“us” is still a really good thing.

Part I of this post outlined some essential reasons we need to identify when we’re stressed. If you’re convinced, let’s get down to it. What are the signs your marriage is under stress?

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Interview-your-Child Fridays: The Christmas Interview

For ideas on how to make the most of these questions, see the first interview.

interview your child fridays

  1. In the Christmas story from the Bible, what character would it be the coolest to be?
  2. What’s one of your favorite activities to do around Christmas time?
  3. What’s one of your best Christmas memories? What did you love about that time?
  4. What is your all-time favorite Christmastime snack?
  5. What do you think the world would be like if God never sent Jesus?
  6. What do you think God would want for Christmas this year? Parents, this is a cool time to talk with kids about God wanting our hearts. My kids also repeatedly ask to use What God Wants for Christmas, a book with surprise gift boxes to open that tell the nativity story. You could use Micah 6:8 to guide you: He has shown you, O man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you: To do justly, to love mercy, and walk humbly with your God. Rather than just pushing “good behavior”, this is a chance to show that Jesus is the One who creates this in us!
  7. If you could have one Christmas wish, what would it be?
  8. What one gift would be the most meaningful to you this year?
  9. What’s one of the top gifts you’ve ever received for Christmas?
  10. What gifts has God given you this year?

 

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You might also enjoy my free ebook, Discussion Questions to Better Understand Your Family’s Subculture!

 

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Ten Discussion Questions to Take Your Relationships Deeper in 2016—Set #6

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New to these questions? See these notes first, along with Set #1 .

 

  1. Talk about a realization (or more than one) that changed your perspective and understanding of a past event. (i.e. I found out the parents of that bully in school were getting a divorce. I discovered I’d totally misunderstood my sister’s perspective, and she hadn’t been malicious at all.)
  2. When you get to heaven, what are some questions you hope to ask God?
  3. When is one time in life when you felt most alone?
  4. What’s one regret you have of your past? (Have you sought forgiveness from God and the people you affected?)
  5. What are some of your greatest strengths as a spouse?
  6. What is one of your greatest weaknesses as a spouse?
  7. What are some of your greatest strengths as a parent?
  8. What is one of your greatest weaknesses as a parent?
  9. What are your dreams for your kids?
  10. For what do you pray most often?

Like these? Consider subscribing to A Generous Grace and receive a FREE E-BOOK of Discussion Questions to Better Understand Your Family’s Subculture. They’re great to process with a friend, spouse, or small group.

 

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Ten Discussion Questions to Take Your Relationships Deeper in 2016—Set #5

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New to these questions? See these notes first, along with Set #1 .

 

  1. When you are looking back at your parenting, what is one thing do you suspect you’ll wish you did differently?
  2. What specific action makes you feel most loved? (i.e. If someone listens to me. If someone touches me. If someone asks me good questions and draws me out. For more ideas on this, see these posts on 20 practical ideas for each love language.)
  3. A previous question asked about one of the highest compliments you’ve ever received. Talk about meaningful things people have said to you (not necessarily compliments). (i.e. I felt validated when someone with whom I’d had a conflict for a long time came and apologized. Or, My dad said he was proud of the man I’d become.)
  4. If you could take a class or learn a skill, what would that class or skill be?
  5. What do you daydream about?
  6. A previous question mentioned what made you feel immediately connected or disconnected to a person. What qualities do you immediately find magnetic about a person—and what qualities are immediately off-putting?
  7. At what times in your life have you felt closest to God, or when do you feel closest to God now?
  8. When Jesus was tempted in the Bible (Matthew 4), he was tempted by three key lies. What lies about yourself or reality or God are you most likely to believe—in the “tapes” that play over and over in your head? (Talk together about God’s truth that would counter those lies, like Jesus did.)
  9. Talk about a realization (or more than one) that changed your perspective and understanding of your parents. (i.e. I had no idea my dad had experienced that. I was clueless to the pressures my mom was facing. I see now that my expectations were largely unrealistic.
  10. What are symptoms that tell you that you’re weary and/or not doing well? (i.e. I snap at my kids. When I wake up in the morning, my jaw is sore. I daydream about being alone and doing whatever I want.)

 

Like these? Consider subscribing to A Generous Grace and receive a FREE E-BOOK of Discussion Questions to Better Understand Your Family’s Subculture. They’re great to process with a friend, spouse, or small group.

 

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Ten Discussion Questions to Take Your Relationships Deeper in 2016—Set #4

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New to these questions? See these notes first, along with Set #1 .

1.       What times/circumstances can you remember that made you feel particularly loved by God, as an individual?

2.       As you look back over the timeline of your faith, what have been the darkest times? What did God show you in those times, and how did they resolve—if they have?

3.       How’s your marriage?

4.       How’s parenting going?

5.       How’s your relationship with your folks?

6.       What immediately makes you feel connected with a person? What about disconnected?

7.       What are your spiritual gifts?

8.       Where, when, and with whom do you feel most at home? What represents “home” to you, and why?

9.       What’s a dark time you experienced that most people don’t know about?

10.   What kind of friend do you need? What could I do, practically-speaking to be a true friend to you?

 

Like these? Consider subscribing to A Generous Grace and receive a FREE E-BOOK of Discussion Questions to Better Understand Your Family’s Subculture. They’re great to process with a friend.

 

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Ten Discussion Questions to Take Your Relationships Deeper in 2016—Set #3

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New to these questions? See these notes first, along with Set #1 .

1.       What was one of the hardest experiences you endured or overcame growing up?

2.       What is something that consistently frustrates you?

3.       When do you feel most alive?

4.       What five qualities do you consider most important in a spouse?

5.       What are the top five values you believe parents should pass on to their children?

6.       What’s on your bucket list (your list of things you want to do before you kick the bucket)?

7.     By what act of love in your life have you been most humbled?

8.       Name three to five of the most influential people in your life—and explain why.

9.    How are you most like your dad, and most like your mom–or whoever was your guardian? How are you different from him or here?

10.   Name one person who probably doesn’t know how much they’ve influenced you, and explain why.

 

Like these? Consider subscribing to A Generous Grace and receive a FREE E-BOOK of Discussion Questions to Better Understand Your Family’s Subculture. They’re great to process with a friend.

 

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FREE E-BOOK: Questions to better understand your family’s subculture

free ebookAt last, I’ve released a free ebook, Where Have I Come From, and Where am I Going?: Discussion Questions to Better Understand Your Family’s Subculture.  You can download it simply by subscribing to A Generous Grace, using the sign-up form in the upper right hand corner of the sidebar–or right here:

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It’s my hope that this will offer practical ideas and insights as you seek to love well.
I’m grateful for you, followers!
Because of a generous grace,

Janel

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Ten Discussion Questions to Take Your Relationships Deeper in 2016—Set #2

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New to these questions? See these notes first, along with Set #1.

  1. With a friend, I’ll be going through these excellent questions to help steward all of your life for God’s glory. Check ‘em out!
  2. If you could have a cup of coffee with yourself ___ weeks/months/years ago, what advice would you have given yourself?
  3. What are the “tapes” that play in your head—and who put them there? Which ones do you find truly motivating, and which do you have a sneaking suspicion have some lies mixed in?
  4. What job(s) could you do that wouldn’t feel like work?
  5. Eric Liddel is known for his acknowledgment that “When I run, I feel God’s pleasure.” In doing what do you feel God’s pleasure in you?
  6. How and when did you know what you wanted to do with your life—or are you there yet?
  7. As a child, what did you think that you would become? Why did that appeal to you, do you think?
  8. What weaknesses most frustrate you about yourself?
  9. For what are you most grateful about the way God made you?
  10. At the times when you are most worshipful, what are you usually doing?

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Ten Discussion Questions to Take Your Relationships Deeper in 2016—Set #1

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A note from the author: These differ from some other lists of questions in that they are not all necessarily conversation starters. In fact, some of them could really make people feel uncomfortable if they’re not asked in the context of a relationship that really seeks to understand them and make them feel welcomed, received, and heard! Think of a beach on a cool morning: to acclimate, wade in first.

Remember: genuine conversation…

  • builds on our own authenticity and vulnerability
  • sets aside our own agendas
  • seeks real understanding
  • listens more than it responds
  • is patiently comfortable with others being “in process”, with silence, with deep emotion; it does not always seek to fix, advise, or solve
  • seeks to love the other person well—not meet our own needs to be known as a counselor or confidante, or to “win the other person over” divorced from compassion and concern
  • practices reflective listening
  • makes “charitable judgments”—assuming the best about someone until able to gather more information.  When tempted to pass judgment or criticize, instead presents (non-pointed) questions to understand

Now—let’s get to it!

  1. What are the top five things you’re most passionate about? Which ones are you able to give time and attention to in your current stage of life—and which ones are on the sidelines for now?
  2. Tell me the main events in your “story” that anyone who wanted to understand you—including where you came from and what makes you tick—would need to know.
  3. If you could describe yourself in five adjectives, what would they be? What are three adjectives that you sometimes wish you were, but you’re not?
  4. What’s the highest compliment you’ve ever received?
  5. When you’re at the end of your life, what would “success” look like for you?
  6. What do you most want or wish for that you haven’t (yet) seen realized? How do you deal with these “not yet’s” or “no’s” in your life—or what does it look like to still be wrestling through them?
  7. What’s God been doing in you lately?
  8. What would you say to ___ (person you’re in conflict with, or feeling misunderstood by) if you knew they would listen?
  9. How have you been seeing God around you lately?
  10. So it sounds like you’re saying ___. Do you feel like I’m getting you? Is that what you’re trying to say?

Like this post? Don’t miss 6 Ways to Take Your Relationships Deeper in 2016.

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6 ways to take your relationships deeper in 2016, Part II

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Click here for Part I!

 

  1. Tell the whole truth. Vulnerability takes so much security—first, in our vertical relationship with God. I find a direct correlation between my ability to be transparent with other people and my own humility. Honestly, I used to wait for others to pursue me as a display of their concern for me—and sometimes still do. But I need to acknowledge my own need for others to shoulder what I’m carrying (Galatians 6:1); that it’s not good for me to be alone (Genesis 2:18); that I can’t say, “I don’t need you!” to people of my choosing (1 Corinthians 12:21).  Now, Jesus had his own concentric circles of friendship–his intimate three, then twelve disciples, then 72, then the crowds. I’m not saying we trust anyone with our most intimate, painful areas. But friendship is rewarding proportional to the courage and intimacy we’re willing to extend; and the bar that Jesus set–love one another as I have loved you–is one that will take the rest of my life to pursue.

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