One’s relationship with God is better able to grow and thrive when one is praying a daily examen — a practice that allows one to reflect on the day and see God’s movements within her life and her own response to these movements. In the same way, one’s marriage can flourish more when one is daily taking time to consider how (and how well) she is loving and serving her husband. Of course, that will naturally be a part of a married woman’s examen, but this short checklist can be used as an add-on to help you go deeper into that aspect of your life. It can challenge you to love your spouse in a greater way and become the holy and devoted wife that the Lord has called you to be. Prayerfully consider each question, ask the Lord to shed light on both your failures and successes, and, with hope and thanksgiving, pray for the grace to do his will more faithfully tomorrow.
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Also check out “A daily checklist for joy-filled single years.”
1. Did I go out of my way to perform a charitable act for my husband?
This can be something as simple and routine as folding his laundry or something a bit more extravagant like baking him his favorite dessert or organizing his tool shed.
2. Did I communicate well — conveying my own thoughts, questions, and requests with love and listening kindly and attentively to his?
The Letter of James reminds us of the power of the tongue. It can be easy to allow annoyances and frustrations to creep into our speech, but, if we speak from hearts overflowing with love, we can avoid much conflict and sin.
3. Did I nag or criticize my husband?
The last thing we want to do is belittle our husbands or treat them as if they are children. It is okay to ask for help with a chore but continuing to ask in a way that suggests he is doing something wrong or not on the right timeline does not give him the respect and dignity he’s due.
4. Did I give my husband time for himself, even if it meant sacrificing something on my part?
In marriage, two become one. However, both spouses still need time to be and become the individuals that God created them to be. Allow your husband to spend an hour in the adoration chapel, meet up with a friend, or go for a solo run.
5. Did I greet my husband lovingly and enthusiastically?
This one is simple but makes a world of difference. Making your husband feel that his presence is joyfully anticipated and appreciated not only reminds him of your love for him, but also reminds you to not take his presence for granted.
6. Did I praise my husband?
Even if your husband’s primary way of receiving love is not through words of affirmation, he still appreciates when you compliment him and acknowledge all of the good that he does for you and your family.
7. Did I challenge my husband’s authority in any way?
St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians tells us of the beauty and complementarity of marriage, in which the husband is the head just as Christ is head of the Church. By acknowledging and respecting your husband’s authority, you show that you trust in his loving leadership for your family.
8. Did I place my own desires or needs above my husband’s?
The temptation to act selfishly is a universal one. Giving in to selfish whims in marriage directly hurts one’s spouse. Making an act of the will to deny even the smallest desire of yours in order to better love your husband can be one of the greatest acts of love.
9. Did I pray for my husband today? Did I thank God for him?
Sometimes, it’s easy to feel lost in a sea of prayer intentions. We have many people and things to pray for. However, your husband should always be at the top of the list, because he is your vocation. What a gift it is to be able to pray for him in intentional ways and, of course, to praise God for the gift of him!
10. Did I tell him “I love you”?
It can never be said enough.