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Heartwork: A Relationship Inquiry

Men, Let’s Talk

The following Heartwork Inquiry Worksheet  is designed to promote insight into how one spouse feels about another. While many of the statements  have a nuance, they are useful to see how one person views  another person, in as far as an honest response is given. Please select from the following statements those thoughts which you feel are true, and something you would like to discuss. Ladies, evaluate your man. Men, let’s talk.

1. He does not engage in a conversation with me as much as he interrogates me.

Biblical Concept. “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones” (Prov. 16:24)

Principle. People do not like to be put on the defense and have to explain themselves.

2.  He is quick to imagine the worse about me and will make frequent accusations.

Biblical Concept. “[Love] …is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil” (1 Cor. 13:5)

Principle. Nothing is an issue until we make it one

3. He is a very jealous person.

Biblical Concept. “… jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.” (Song of Solomon 8:6)

Principle. Jealousy is a self-destructive and other destructive emotion

4. H e will often make snide and cutting remarks.

Biblical Concept. “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” (Col. 4:6)

Principle. Never build your happiness on someone else’s unhappiness.

5. He is quick to make a “mountain out of a molehill” by provoking an argument over almost any given issue.

Biblical Concept. “A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.” (Prov. 15:18)

Principle. Many people give others a “piece of their mind” they cannot afford to lose.

6. He is a very competitive person and tends to make a competition out of a conversation regarding any point I try to make or position I hold.

Biblical Concept. “As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.” (Prov. 26:21)

Principle. Some competition is healthy but eventually grows wearisome and offensive.

7. He often tries to change me by pressing me in his view of what I should be.

Biblical Concept. “With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.” (Eph. 3:21)

Principle. We cannot change others, only ourselves.

8. He makes me angry more often than happy.

Biblical Concept. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Phil. 3:8)

Principle. Happiness is a choice that is not ultimately dependent upon people, places or circumstances but upon the thoughts that are entertained.

9. I  wish that he were kinder, more considerate, more thoughtful, and more loving.

Biblical Concept. “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Eph. 4:32)

Principle. Kindness produces kindness and love begets love.

10. In  private conversations I let people know how I really feel about him.

Biblical Concept. “The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.” (Prov. 19:11)

Principle. Venting is inappropriate and self-serving.

11. I often make myself the basis of comparison for many events in life with growing resentment because I do not feel he treats me as well as others.

Biblical Concept. “[Love] doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own.” (1 Cor. 13:5)

Principle. Followers of Christ learn to deny themselves knowing that others are more important than self.

12. He does not keep the house as clean as I like to.

Biblical Concept. “Then I commanded, and they cleansed the chambers: and thither brought I again the vessels of the house of God, with the meat offering and the frankincense.” (Neh. 13:9)

Principle. Cleanliness is next to godliness (origin, Francis Bacon).

13. I  am more romantic than he is.

Biblical Concept. Study the Song of Solomon. “My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand.” (Song of Sol. 5:10)

Principle. Romance involves doing something for someone by expressing thoughtfulness and affection in a meaningful yet unexpected way.

14.  I  take more pride in my personal appearance than he does.

Biblical Concept. “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. 3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel.” (1 Peter 3:1-3)

Principle. Beauty is only skin deep (but ugly goes all the way to the bone).

15. He will not apologize when he has been wrong.

Biblical Concept. “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16)

Principle. Some of the hardest words to say in any language are, “I am sorry”, but they are also the most life transforming.

16. He sees himself as “always right”.

Biblical Concept. “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Prov. 16:18)

Principle. “They that know God will be humble,” John Flavel has said, ‘ and they that know themselves cannot be proud.”

17. He is a very suspicious person and is prone to think and say the worse before all the facts are known.

Biblical Concept. “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” (Prov. 18:13)

Principle. “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes” (Mark Twain).

18. He is not a very affectionate person and does not like to show affection.

Biblical Concept. “The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.” (Jer. 31:3)

Principle. “What the world needs now is love, sweet love, it’s the only thing there is too little of.” (Hal David)

19. He does not seem to want to listen to what I have to say.

Biblical Concept. “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” (James 1:19-20)

Principle. Everyone needs someone who will listen to them because they care. Two psychiatrists meet at their 20th college reunion. One is vibrant, while the other looks withered and worried. “So what’s your secret?” the older looking psychiatrist asks. “Listening to other people’s problems every day, all day long, for years on end, has made an old man of me.” “So,” replies the younger looking one, “who listens?”

20. He promises to change but does not substantially change.

Biblical Concept. “But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work today in my vineyard. 29 He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. 30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. 31 Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first.” (Matt. 21:28-31)

Principle. “Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be” (Thomas a’ Kempis).

21. If I could I would rather be married to someone else, or be single.

Biblical Concept. “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” (Phil. 4:11)

Principle. Contentment in life is a blessing. “He that is down needs fear no fall; He that is humble, ever shall Little be it, or much; Because Thou savest such”. John Bunyan

22. He will punish me with silence.

Biblical Concept. “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. 5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.” (Prov. 26:4-5)

Principle. Sometimes silence is the better part of valor; sometimes silence is an effective weapon to hurt someone; and sometimes silence is a useful tool. When Calvin Coolidge was President and known as “Silent Cal”, he saw dozens of people every day. Most had complaints of one kind or another. A visiting Governor once told Coolidge he didn’t understand how he could see so many people. “Why, you finish with them by dinner time,” the Governor remarked, “while I’m often at my desk till midnight.” “Yes,” said Coolidge, “But you talk back.”

23. He likes to control.

Biblical Concept. “Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.” (1 Peter 5:3)

Principle. Christians are not to act as lords or controlling, manipulative people but are to be examples of grace and humility while serving others.

24. He is not honest with me.

Biblical Concept. “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another.” (Eph. 4:25)Principle. “No man has a good enough memory to make a successful liar” (Abraham Lincoln).

25. He is abusive.

Biblical Concept. “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go:” (Prov. 22:24)“An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.” (Prov. 29:22)

Biblical Concept. “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. 4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” (1 Cor. 13:1-13)

Principle. “Whoever loves much, does much” (Thomas a’ Kempis).

26. He is unwilling to engage in self-reflection.

Biblical Concept. “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; 2 While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain: 3 In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened, 4 And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low; 5 Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets: 6 Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. 7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” (Ecc. 12:1-7)

Principle. The unexamined life is not worth living. “Know thyself” (Socrates).

Rabbi Zusya said, “In the world to come I will not be asked, ‘Why were you not Moses?’ I will be asked, ‘Why were you not Zusya?'” The problem is how to be the person we were meant to be.

27. H e does not keep the promises he makes.

Biblical Concept. “Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.” (Ecc. 5:5)

Principle. Keep your word and keep it on time for there in is the joy for self and others, and therein is the building of gratitude.

28. His parenting skills are inadequate, ineffective and often cruel.

Biblical Concept. “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Eph. 6:4)

Principle. People need help being a good parent and the best help is found in the Word of God which provides principles to instill and guidance on how to instill godly principles.

29. His world view is that of a post-modernist which means he does not believe there is ultimate truth. Truth is relative. What is true for one person might not be true for another person.

Biblical Concept. Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” (Matt. 24:35)

Principle. Two people holding opposing views may both be wrong but they cannot both be right. There is ultimate truth.

Two men had an argument. To settle the matter, they went to a Sufi judge for arbitration. The plaintiff made his case. He was very eloquent and persuasive in his reasoning. When he finished, the judge nodded in approval and said, “That’s right, that’s right.”

On hearing this, the defendant jumped up and said, “Wait a second, judge, you haven’t even heard my side of the case yet.” So the judge told the defendant to state his case. And he, too, was very persuasive and eloquent. When he finished, the judge said, “That’s right, that’s right.”

When the clerk of court heard this, he jumped up and said, “Judge, they both can’t be right.” The judge looked at the clerk of court and said, “That’s right, that’s right.”

Roger von Oech, Ph.D., A Whack on the Side of the Head, Warner Books, 1983, p. 23.

30. His life style is that of an existentialist which means that one moment has no connection to another moment with the result being that the mind can be changed “on a dime” regardless of promises made or commitments given.

Biblical Concept. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.” (Psalms 37:32)

Principle. The soul of a person should be integrated so that life can be lived consistently and with integrity.

During his time as a rancher, Theodore Roosevelt and one of his cowpunchers lassoed a maverick steer, lit a fire, and prepared the branding irons. The part of the range they were on was claimed by Gregor Lang, one of Roosevelt’s neighbors. According to the cattleman’s rule, the steer therefore belonged to Lang. As his cowboy applied the brand, Roosevelt said,

“Wait, it should be Lang’s brand.” “That’s all right, boss,” said the cowboy. “But you’re putting on my brand,” Roosevelt said. “That’s right,” said the man. “Drop that iron,” Roosevelt demanded, “and get back to the ranch and get out. I don’t need you anymore. A man who will steal for me will steal from me.” (Today in the Word, March 28, 1993)

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