Today’s guest post is from Rebecca Rice, Director of the LWCC Counseling Center. Here, Rebecca shares some practical tips for giving the best of ourselves in marriage.
We can all agree that marriage is complicated. Even though marriage can bring us great joy, it can also bring us disappointment. Too often spouses are preoccupied, annoyed, and/or distracted with the many demands of life. The very person who needs the best of us, gets the worst.
While we can also agree that we cannot change our spouse, we do have the ability to influence the emotional and relational tone of our marriage. Giving the BEST OF OURSELVES is a great place to start.
1. Make a plan: EVERY DAY set aside 5 minutes and consider how to give your spouse your BEST. Researchers tell us that the accumulation of small, daily changes can have a long-lasting positive impact. The investment of a little thought, a little time, and a little energy can make a difference.
2. Practice kindness: Find a way EVERY DAY to say a kind word and offer a kind act. Expressing a word of gratitude for the mundane tasks of life will go a long way.
- Making a cup of coffee or a favorite food for your spouse
- Thanking your spouse for attending to household tasks, for working hard, for parenting well
- Giving your spouse a hug
3. Practice generosity: Find a way EVERY DAY to give your spouse the benefit of the doubt, especially after a hard day, long day, and tiring day. These practices can make a dramatic shift in the marital dynamic:
- Going the extra mile
- Turning the other cheek
- Looking for the best in the other person
4. Wisely engage in disagreements: While some issues are worth arguing about, most issues are not. Determine whether or not the issue is one of preference or sin.
- Preferences: While we all have preferences (that is, wanting something in our own way), communicating the preference to find a win-win (that is, so we can both agree to the preference) will make for a happier marriage.
- Sin: While hurtful words and actions will be remembered for a long time, the processes of forgiveness (cancelling a debt that cannot be repaid) AND reconciliation (having a specific plan for change) can bring healing even in the most divided of relationships.
5. Evaluate your perspective: Think, Breathe, Pray, Say
- Think: Evaluate if this is a regular, ongoing pattern of hurtful behavior or if this was something out of character.
- Breathe (and Count): This will slow your automatic responses, giving you more time to think.
- Pray: Simply ask God for strength to say what needs to be said, in a way that it can be heard.
- Say: State your observation, how it made you feel, and how it influences your response.
I’d like to leave you with this verse from the first chapter of James:
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry (or hurtful or annoyed) because human anger (or hurtfulness or annoyance) does not produce the righteousness (goodness) that God desires.”
Let us all consider how to live well and love well in our marriages.
A Few Resources:
- Marriage365: Instagram
- HotHolyHumorous.com: podcast and website
- FierceMarriage.com: podcast and website