Archive for March 2008
I’m collecting good date questions for my wife and me. I’d be happy to receive more questions if anyone has some to recommend.
General date questions
- As you were growing up, what was unique about your family as compared to other families in your neighborhood, or families of your friends?
- What do you remember about learning to drive?
- Can you recall visiting your parents’ workplace and if so, describe it and how you felt when you went there?
- Complete the sentence: “I’m sure my mom and dad wished I would have…”
- What is perhaps the worst movie you’ve ever seen? (variation – favorite movie in high school, as a kid, in college, as adult, worst in each category, etc.)
- Describe your favorite elementary or high school teacher.
- Tell me your most serious physical injury as a child.
- Do you daydream? What do you daydream about?
- What is the thing you like best about being a parent? The thing you like the least?
- What is your favorite memory of the two of us together before we were married? Second favorite?
- Name three things I do for you that helps brighten your day and make you feel rested.
- What is the best compliment I could give you?
- What do I do or say that really bugs you?
- When are you the happiest that you married me?
- Do I respect and honor you around the children? How about around our friends/coworkers?
- Do we show our love and affection to one another enough around our kids?
- Do you consider me an optimist or a pessimist? How do you feel about that?
- Do I tell you that I love you often enough? Too much?
- Do I ever joke about things you wish I wouldn’t? Do I ever joke at times you think are inappropriate?
- What do you think we argue about most, big stuff or little stuff?
- Is my way of doing things too structured? Too spontaneous? How?
- Of all you’ve done in your life, what has made you feel the most proud?
- What kind of small gifts can I give you to let you know how much I’m thinking of you?
- If money and time weren’t an issue, what would you most like to do?
- Let’s come up with 15 minutes a day for the two of us to talk without being interrupted. How can we achieve that?
- What things can you always count on me for? (try to name 5)
- Do you feel like our marriage is a good example to the kids? In what ways? Are there things we could improve?
- Is there anything that you feel like we have a hard time discussing? Why do you think they’re so difficult for us to talk about them?
- When did you first notice me? What was the attraction? Is attraction still important?
- Have I ever done anything to ‘take the wind out your sails’?
- What have you experienced in life that helps you to believe there is a loving God? Has anything ever happened that caused you to doubt that?
- Are you ever frightened about the future? If so, what frightens you?
- What positive things have our kids added to our lives?
- Can you remember the way we felt when our children were born (thankful, in awe)? Do you still feel that way? If not, what would it take for us to feel that way about them more often?
- When I get angry with you and you ask for forgiveness, do you feel that I forgive you by my actions as well as by my words?
- Do you feel like you’re harder on yourself when you make a mistake than you need to be? How?
- Am I harder on you when you make a mistake than I should be? How?
- Do you sometimes get the impression that I put conditions on my affection and love for you?
- Do you ever feel insecure about my love?
- Do you feel like we share the responsibility in our marriage or does one of us shoulder the burden of some areas more than they should (finances, sex, parenting, spiritual matters, household chores)? Are you comfortable with the way things are?
- What is your greatest motivation for getting up every day and going to work?
- Think of all our married friends. What are some of the positive things you see in their marriages that you’d like to see us do in ours?
Getting to know one another
- What part of the Bible do you read most often? Why?
- What is your favorite childhood memory?
- What is your strongest area of leadership? Weakest?
- What has been the toughest experience of your life?
- What in your life has been characteristic of your life when you have been “on fire” for God (or passionate)?
- As you look at your life this past 6 months, what area of growth are you most encouraged about?
- What was your most fulfilling moment this year?
- What one thing have you learned about God (or yourself) this past year?
- What has helped you grow in your walk with God this past year?
- Characterize your spiritual life this past year.
- What is one thing you’ve learned about God this past year?
- What is one thing you’ve learned about yourself this past year?
- In what ways have you matured in the past year?
- In the past 6 months what has been your most encouraging experience? Discouraging?
- What has helped you grow in your walk with God in the last 12 months?
- What one aspect or thing in your life are you most encouraged about or thankful for right now?
- What is your most difficult pressure or challenge at present?
- What is the most recent word for you concerning: your relationship with God, development of character, family life, and ministry?
- What is a current source of stress?
- What have you been asking God for in prayer recently?
- What things are likely to cause you to cry? What has caused you to cry most recently?
- In what way would you like to grow in your walk with God this year?
- In what way would you like to grow in this coming year?
Honoring one another
- One incident I remember what made me appreciate you more was…
- Some qualities I most admire in you are…
- Some ways I have seen you grow in the past months/year are…
- Some qualities I see in you that I would like to cultivate in my own life are…
- You have helped me to love God more, grow in character, and worship God more in these specific ways…
- What evidences of grace do you see in others at church that have been encouraging to you?
- What area of sin has God brought to your attention recently that you are currently seeking to put to death? How are you attacking this sin? What is your strategy against it?
- How have you sinned recently? How have I sinned recently?
- Are we working from a platform of grace?
- As you look at my life right now, what area most concerns you? What concern do you carry for yourself?
- Lately, what has preoccupied your thoughts?
- What sins in my life do I commonly rationalize away?
- Where is it very difficult for you to discipline yourself?
- What are my strongest areas of submission/leadership? Weakest?
- How are you doing at pursuing accountability and correction?
- In the last seven days, how many times have you spent 45 minutes or more in the Word and prayer?
- What is your greatest source of frustration right now? How have you achieved victory in your attitude?
- When was the last time you confessed your sin specifically?
- How am I doing at confession and repentance to you and our children?
- Martin Luther said, “I feel as though Jesus died only yesterday.” How would you rate your affections for the cross in the past few days, weeks?
- What one thing could you do (that you aren’t doing now) that if you did on a regular basis, would make a tremendous positive difference in your life?
Marriage and family life
- In what ways can I more consistently humble myself before you and others?
- Let’s discuss how we sinned in a recent conflict. Are we still lacking in confession, repentance, and forgiveness?
- How would our children say we are doing in modeling biblical leadership/submission before them?
- How am I doing in the area of romance? (1-10)
- What do you see as the area of greatest strength in your marriage? Weakness?
- A quality I most admire in you is . . .
- A quality I most admire in your relationship with God is . . .
- How am I doing in communicating with you? (1-10)
- As a demonstration of my love for you, I would like to improve in the area of . . .
- As a matter of special importance to me, I would like to see you improve in the area of . . .
- A situation where I was especially proud of you was . . .
- Am I pursuing the closest relationship possible with you? How can I grow in that?
- What is your most difficult pressure or challenge at present?
- What is the area we most need to grow in, in our relationship?
- How are we doing at building family identity and memories?
- What is your persistent concern about how each of our children is developing?
- What is one specific concern you carry for each of our children?
- Where am I strongest in raising our children? Weakest?
- Fathers, what are you currently doing with your children in the way of devotions or relationship building with you?
- What is the area I/you most need to grow in, in our relationship with our children?
- What are our goals for individual family members right now as we disciple them? What are we doing to achieve those goals?
- How can I support you as you work so diligently as an educator of our children? Where are you defining education in a way that brings undue hardship on yourself?
- In our own assessment, how are we doing at raising God-fearers?
- Are we aware that the whole-life education we are giving is as valuable as the various subjects of our curriculum?
- Do we see the education of our children as a way to accomplish those four goals of: the glory of God, dominion over creation, evangelism, and loving our neighbors?
- Do we see higher education as a way to position a God-fearer for greater impact in a culture? I.e., not just more money for his family, which is another and significant consideration.
- Do we have in your family a Daniel — one able to be a God-fearer in an unbelieving environment? Are we thinking strategically about this child?
- What would you say my priorities are right now? What Biblical priorities am I not giving sufficient attention?
- [For husbands] How am I doing in the area of godly leadership?
- [For wives] How am I doing in the area of godly submission?
From Don Whitney
We regularly use some questions that we haven’t directly copied from anyone, though they were all inspired elsewhere.
- What has God been teaching you lately?
- How have the gospel and the cross made a difference in your life lately?
- In what areas of life do you need to live more in light of the gospel? In what areas do you see me forgetting the gospel?
- What idols has God identified to you recently?
- Where do you most struggle with unbelief right now? (Alternatively, fear, rebellion, self-sufficiency, etc.)
- What are some tangible ways that I can serve you now (this week, this season in life)?
- What sacrifices is God calling you to presently? Which is the most difficult? Why?
- What gifts is God giving us now (whether to be enjoyed for ourselves or given away) that we are not receiving with appropriate gratefulness?
From Gideon Strauss
What do you love? This is a wonderfully open-ended question that can easily fill an entire evening!
From Paul Tripp
Paul Tripp has some excellent marriage questions on pp. 175-176 of Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands. They are cast in terms of a Biblical counseling scenario, but most are generally useful for any marriage. Some of his questions are as follows:
- What things did you see in [me] that made you want to marry [me]?
- What were your goals for [our] marriage when [we] were engaged?
- What things in [our] marriage make you sad?
- What things in [our] marriage make you happy?
- If you could press a button and change [our] marriage, how would it change?
- In what ways do you think God is honored by [our] marriage?
- How would you characterize [our communication]?
- Describe how [we] arrive at decisions.
- Describe how [we] resolve conflicts.
- How would you describe [our] spiritual life as a couple?
- Are there couples you look up to? What do you respect about their marriages?
- [In what ways have we] have struggled as a couple? Why?
- What do you see as the strengths of [our] marriage?
- What do you see as the weaknesses of [our] marriage?
- What do you think [we] need to do as a couple to get from where [we] are to where [we] need to be?
- Describe the marriage of your dreams.
- What could [I] do to greatly change [our] marriage?
- What problems in [our] marriage do you see as your responsibility?
- What do you think God is doing in [our] marriage right now?
- [What are some obstacles that may keep us] from solving . . . problems?
- Describe how [our] marriage has changed over the years.
- When you are hurt or angry with [me], what do you do?
- How do you communicate dissatisfaction to [me]?
From Linda Dillow
Lisa found some good questions on p. 109 of Linda Dillow’s Creative Counterpart:
- What is the happiest thing that has ever happened to [you]?
- What has been the hardest experience of [your] life?
- What are [your] secret ambitions, [your] goals for life?
- What are [your] deep fears?
- What about [me do you] appreciate the most?
- What traits of [mine] would [you] like to see changed?
- What [people do you] most admire?
From David Powlison
David Powlison has an excellent set of “X-ray questions” for the heart. You can find these in his book, Seeing With New Eyes. Ken Sande of Peacemaker Ministries has listed some of these; they are good questions to ask yourself or your spouse, regardless of whether you have some obvious ongoing struggle with an idol.
- What am I preoccupied with? What is the first thing on my mind in the morning and the last thing on my mind at night?
- How would I complete this statement: “If only _____________, then I would be happy, fulfilled, and secure”?
- What do I want to preserve or avoid?
- Where do I put my trust?
- What do I fear?
- When a certain desire is not met, do I feel frustration, anxiety, resentment, bitterness, anger, or depression?
- Is there something I desire so much that I am willing to disappoint or hurt others in order to have it?
Chapter summaries in 1 Samuel.
1 Samuel 1 – Hannah prays for a son; Eli blesses her; Hannah presents Samuel to the LORD.
1 Samuel 2 – Hannah prays in praise to God; Samuel ministers to the LORD. Eli’s sons are evil; Eli rebukes them and is himself rebuked by God.
1 Samuel 3 – God calls Samuel in the night and prophesies of Eli’s punishment for not restraining his sons; Samuel grows and is established as a prophet.
1 Samuel 4 – Eli’s sons die in battle with the Philistines and the ark of the covenant is captured; Eli dies upon hearing the news.
1 Samuel 5 – God wreaks havoc on every Philistine city that keeps the ark of the covenant.
1 Samuel 6 – The Philistines return the ark of the covenant.
1 Samuel 7 – The ark remains at the house of Abinadab and his son Eleazar. Samuel judges Israel; God defeats the Philistines for Israel.
1 Samuel 8 – Samuel’s sons pervert justice; the people reject God as king and seek a king; Samuel warns Israel of the consequences of a king.
1 Samuel 9 – Saul seeks Samuel’s counsel; God chooses Saul as king.
1 Samuel 10 – Saul is anointed, prophesies, and is proclaimed as king.
1 Samuel 11 – Saul delivers Jabesh-Gilead from the Ammonites; Israel confirms Saul as king.
1 Samuel 12 – Samuel reminds Israel of God’s goodness to them in spite of their faithlessness; he warns Israel of the consequences of rebelling against God instead of fearing and serving him.
1 Samuel 13 – Saul impatiently offers an unlawful sacrifice; Israel faces the Philistines in battle.
1 Samuel 14 – Jonathan kills 20 Philistines; the LORD confuses the Philistines, and Israel rises up and defeats them. Saul curses anyone who eats food, but Jonathan is spared. Saul battles Israel’s enemies.
1 Samuel 15 – Saul disobeys the LORD by not devoting spoil to destruction. The LORD rejects Saul as king of Israel.
1 Samuel 16 – God chooses David as king; Samuel anoints David and the Spirit of the LORD rested on him; David serves Saul as armor-bearer and musician.
1 Samuel 17 – Goliath taunts Israel; David kills Goliath “that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and . . . the LORD saves not with sword and spear.” Israel plunders the Philistines.
1 Samuel 18 – Jonathan loves David; David has great success in battle; Saul tries to kill David, and is in fearful awe of him; David marries Michal for a bride-price of 200 Philistine foreskins.
1 Samuel 19 – Saul seeks to kill David; David flees; Saul’s messengers, and Saul himself, seek David but prophesy before Samuel instead.
1 Samuel 20 – Jonathan warns David that Saul intends to kill him.
1 Samuel 21 – Ahimelech the priest gives David and his men holy bread; David and his men flee to Gath and David pretends to be mad.
1 Samuel 22 – David gathers 400 men to himself; Saul kills the priests at Nob for giving aid to David.
1 Samuel 23 – David saves the city of Keliah from the Philistines, and escapes Saul; Saul continues to pursue David.
1 Samuel 24 – David spares Saul when he enters a cave; Saul returns home.
1 Samuel 25 – Samuel dies; Nabal spurns David, but Abigail blesses David and averts his vengeance. God puts Nabal to death, and David takes Abigail and Ahinoam as wives.
1 Samuel 26 – David enters Saul’s camp and takes his spear and jar, sparing Saul; Saul returns home.
1 Samuel 27 – David lives among the Philistines in Ziklag, secretly making raids against other nations but pretending to have raided Israel.
1 Samuel 28 – Philistia goes to war against Israel; Saul visits a medium, who summons Samuel, who predicts Saul’s defeat and the death of Saul and his sons.
1 Samuel 29 – The lords of the Philistines send David home; the Philistine army goes up to Jezreel.
1 Samuel 30 – The Amalekites take David’s wives and property; David pursues and defeats them, restoring all his men’s family and property, even to those who were too exhausted to help. David sends gifts to the leaders in Judah.
1 Samuel 31 – The Philistines kill Saul’s sons; Saul is wounded and kills himself.
When you read a hexadecimal number out loud, how do you pronounce the letters?
At my workplace, I’ve grown used to our custom of pronouncing the letters using the Joint Army/Navy Phonetic Alphabet standardized in 1941. The letter digits are pronounced Able, Baker, Charlie, Dog, Easy and Fox. Under this scheme, the hexadecimal number 0x7F8D3BC0 would be pronounced “Seven Fox Eight Dog Three Baker Charlie Zero.” This was disorienting to me at first, but after eight years this is now so natural that this is how I pronounce the digits in my mind even if I’m not speaking them.
We’ve started collecting Richard Scarry’s children’s books. Richard Scarry writes with a degree of detail and whimsy that holds an adult’s interest — much like old-school Sesame Street. (How far it has fallen — modern-day Sesame Street is much too postmodern, pluralistic, saccharine and juvenile for my taste. I console myself by searching for old Sesame Street clips on Youtube.) Recently I was amused and pleased to discover that one of Richard Scarry’s characters is named Able Baker Charlie! What a strange juxtaposition of worlds for me — programming and children’s books.
Able Baker Charlie is a mouse. He is a baker, and assists Baker Humperdink, a pig. Despite his small size, Able Baker Charlie is capable assisting with any step of the baking process, from stoking the oven, to mixing the dough, to putting loaves in the oven, and even delivering bread around Busytown. Below you may see a picture of Able Baker Charlie ably distributing French baguettes to Louie’s Restaurant.
Richard Scarry served in the U. S. Army during World War II. No doubt this is the source of the Able Baker Charlie aptonym. It still gives me a chuckle every time we read it.