Are You A Teachable Spouse?

Author of 5 books, podcaster, parent trainer, husband and father.

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Marriage is hard. Anyone who has been married for any amount of time will testify to this. When you mix two individuals, from two different backgrounds, two different households, who have, at times, two very different perspectives, you’ll face conflict to some degree.

It’s to be expected. In fact, it’s normal. Marriage, like any other institution on planet earth, is far from perfect. In-spite of the imperfections of my marriage, and yours, there’s a big question I’ve been asking myself lately. It’s really a question for any married man (or woman) to ask themselves. Ready? Okay, here goes: Are you a teachable spouse? I know, not your typical marriage question. Those are usually along the lines of “Are you faithful?” “How committed are you?” or “Are you in-tuned to one another’s needs and wants as a couple?” Blah, blah, blah!

Certainly not teachability.

Think about it for a moment. Maybe even ask the question of yourself and your marriage: “How teachable am I as a husband or a wife?”

The question hit me several weeks ago. My wife and I were having it out. I’m talking knock down, drag out, having it out! I’m embarrassed to admit it but feel I need to in this context. Yes, after 16 years of marriage we still have those kinds of fights. After all, we’re human beings and we were both the first children in our families, growing up. Often it’s “my way or the highway!” We’ve had to work extremely hard through this over the years.

Not making excuses, just giving you context.

So, there we were, having it out, arguing over something that had started as a small misunderstanding, but turned into World War III. Again, if you’re married, you understand how this goes. Toward the end of our fight, when we were pulling ourselves together and coming to an understanding, my wife said something that resonated deeply with me. She said, gently, “I feel like you’re not open to understanding my perspective or feelings toward this.”

And that’s when it hit me. The question. It bounced around in my mind like a pinball zinging through the alleys of a pinball machine. “How teachable am I as a spouse?” I spent the next several hours thinking about this. I did more than that actually. I evaluated my heart, my mind, and my own spirit, asking myself this question, over and over- “Am I a teachable spouse?” Am I open to really hearing what my wife is saying to me? Can I take on a position of humility in order to understand her perspective or how something makes her feel? How good am I at closing my mouth, opening my mind, shutting down my commentary, and learning how my faults make someone else feel?

What I’m learning is that I have a lot of learning still to do, even after 16 years. To be honest, I will never stop growing or learning. You never do, until the day you breathe your last. It’s the cold hard facts about human life. The moment you believe you’ve arrived, figured it all out, and there’s nothing more to learn, is the moment you stop growing and start failing.

So I’ll ask the question again: “How teachable are you?” A bigger question than that is, how willing are you to humble yourself and listen, learn, and grow? Doing so will help you succeed as a spouse more than you realize. I’m learning this as well. Personally speaking, when I take on a position of humility and teachability, my wife feels honored and cherished. You may argue that marriage is a two-way street, and that she needs to do this for me as well, and you would be right!

But I’m not talking about her, I’m talking about me. And I’m posing this question for any reader who has logged on and is seeking to better their marriage. Are you a teachable spouse? If not, what’s preventing you from becoming one? Why are you holding back from opening up and learning about yourself from the one human being who knows you best?

You and and I will never find perfection in marriage because we’re imperfect creatures and marriage is an imperfect institution. But we can find peace if we’re willing to stop, listen, and learn. So, what are you waiting for?

How teachable are you? What has prevented you from being this way? Share your story with us.


This post, by Mike Berry, originally appeared on The Good Men Project on June 12, 2015.

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Mike and Kristin Berry are the Co-Founders of The Honestly Adoption Company and have been parents for nearly two decades. They are the authors of six books, and the host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is the executive assistant to Mike and Kristin Berry. And she is the best in the land. In addition to providing a warm and friendly response to the many emails our company receives on a weekly basis, she also manages Mike and Kristin’s speaking and meeting schedules, and makes sure that team events go off without a hitch.

Nicole Goerges

Nicole Goerges is a Content Contributor & Special Consultant for The Honestly Adoption Company. She works with Mike and Kristin as a recurring co-host for the Honestly Adoption Podcast, and co-host of Kitchen Table Talks, exclusive video content for Oasis Community, along with Kristin. She is a fellow adoptive mom, and former foster parent.

Matt McCarrick

Matt McCarrick is the Content Production Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. If you’ve loved listening to our podcast, or enjoyed any of the videos trainings we’ve published, you have Matt to thank. He oversees all of our content production, from video edits, to making sure the tags are correct on YouTube, to uploading new videos to Oasis, to hitting publish on a podcast episode, he’s a content wonder!

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is the Community Engagement Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends the bulk of her time interacting with, and helping, people through our various social media channels, as well as providing support for Oasis Community members through chat support or Zoom calls. In the same spirit as Beaver, Karen is also passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and supported. Karen is also an FASD trainer and travels often, equipping and encouraging parents.

Beaver Trumble

Beaver Trumble is the Customer Care Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. Chances are, if you have been in need of technical support, or forgotten your password to one of our courses, you have interacted with Beaver. He is an absolute pro at customer care. In fact, he single-handedly revolutionized our customer care department last year. Beaver is passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and encouraged.

Kristin Berry

Kristin Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Content Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends most of her time researching and connecting with guests for our podcast, as well as direction, designing and publishing a lot of the content for our social media channels, blog and podcast. She loves to connect with fellow parents around the world, and share the message of hope with them.

Mike Berry

Mike Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Marketing Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. He spends the bulk of his time and energy designing and building many of the resources you see within our company, as well as social media and email campaigns. His goal is to use media as a means to encourage and equip parents around the world. He is also the co-host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.