“Great” isn’t the default setting for marriages.
A successful, lasting marriage is a crop harvested by a hard-working partnership, not a surprise discovered by passive participants. Marriage begins with separate lives, separate goals, separate ways of thinking; yet it’s about that separate, distinct, two, choosing to merge into a new, one. The irony is that such intentional decision-making is incredibly beautiful on the wedding day, and then afterward, consistently challenging on days that end with the letter “y”.
Perhaps I speak for myself only (although I kinda doubt it), but I’m convinced that we guys tend to struggle the most with this. At the altar we exchanged vows quite easily, but day-to-day we’re challenged to remember that the woman we pledged our life to, has needs, needs that are in many ways very different from ours, needs that we play a pivotal part in meeting.
Withdrawals in marriages are great, but more important are the deposits that back them up.
And all of this often begins with words; what we say, out loud, to our spouse. Among the discussion of the day, kids, and work, let’s work on including these ten things. They’re things my wife and your wife need to hear, expressed with conviction and love.
So guys, let’s open our mouths and say them. Often.
10 words to say: “You’re the most important person in the world to me.”
9 words to say: “Here’s what I’m hearing you say. Is that right?”
8 words to say: “I’m sorry. I was wrong. Please forgive me.”
7 words to say: “I thought of you several times today.”
6 words to say: “Relax. I’ll watch the kids tonight.”
5 words to say: “Thanks for doing the laundry.” (or dishes, or cooking, or cleaning, etc.)
4 words to say: “You can do it.”
3 words to say: “I love you.”
2 words to say: “You’re beautiful.”
1 word to say: “Babe” (or another pet name)
0 words to say: (Nothing. Just listen.)
I appreciate how Scripture refers to marriage as a yolk. A team of animals, when pulling together, can accomplish much more than the sum of their efforts when apart. However, they can also more easily hurt themselves (and the other) than when there is distance between them.
Indeed. Great reminder, Hans! Thanks for the note.