Taking small steps one at a time is often the surest way to get where you need to be. It is better than racing forward and falling flat on your face. It is at that point that you can feel defeated and overwhelmed. So, lets look at three small steps we can take to improve our marriages. These small changes make a big difference in the life of our marriages. And then eventually, we can take on other small steps in the future. They all add up.
Small Steps Can Lead to Big Changes
Some of the tips we’re giving may just be friendly reminders. Or they may be ones that you hadn’t thought of making previously. But try these small steps, applying prayer and love, and see where God takes your marriage as you apply His principles. It is like the concept we discussed in a previous Marriage Insight titled, Taking Daily Vitamins for Your Marriage. Pro-actively taking wise, small steps can lead to growing a healthy, loving marriage. So, in taking these small steps, first:
1. Soften Your Approach When Discussing Serious Subjects.
“There are two words that contribute a great amount toward safety in marriage. If spouses engage one another from the postures that these words represent, there is a strong likelihood the marriage will move in a direction that feels good. The two words are SOFT and SLOW. Slowing down and softening your tone of voice, your words, your body language and expressions, your pace, your heart, etc. can have dramatic effects. Try it on for size the next time you interact with your spouse and see what happens over time.” (From The National Institute of Marriage)
Also try the following:
“Ask God to teach you about staying calm, even when conversations turn tough.” (Lori Byerly)
Remember, that we’re told in the Bible:
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32) “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.” (Colossians 3:12)
Remember, as you take small steps to soften your approach:
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful…” (See: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
2. Be Mindful that You are Marital Partners, Not Adversaries.
“When you complain about your spouse to your friends, remember that their feedback is based upon distorted info.” (Linda and Charlie Bloom)
We can forget that. Many times we run to receive sympathy from our “friends.” But are these YOUR friends, or are they friends to your marriage? There is a difference. Always keep in mind that you are marriage partners. Your main interest should be to try to resolve areas of contention that are separating you as a married couple.
“Many marriages would be better if the husband and the wife clearly understood that they’re on the same side.” (Zig Ziglar) “Love is what is left in a marriage relationship when selfishness is taken out.” (Nick Richardson)
So don’t be so quick to dump your marital problems upon those who are not “marriage-friendly.” You may be tempted to do so, but remember that we’re told in the Bible to:
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or empty pride, but in humility consider others more important than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)
In Philippians 2:5-9, we’re told to “have this mind” among ourselves that “was also in Christ Jesus.” In humility, Jesus shows us to “empty” ourselves of our ambitions, and serve one another in partnership with God. Consequently, as God’s children, we are called to do the same… especially within marriage.
3. Show Your Spouse Godly Love.
Keep in mind:
“At prime moments, God will use marriage to show you how to love the unlovely.” (Dennis Rainey)
This goes with advice from Dave Willis:
“Real love is when you’re completely committed to someone even when they’re being completely unlovable.”
Here’s a suggestion given by Gary Chapman that can help you to show love to your spouse:
“I suggest taking baby steps. Don’t look at the whole and think about how bad your marriage is. Rather, focus on one step you might take to make it better. Break through the silence with one act of kindness. Give her a flower, and say, ’I was thinking about you today.’ Look for something he does well, and tell him you appreciate it. Give him a passionate kiss, and say, ‘I just wanted to remind you of what it was like when we first married. I’m willing to start over if you are.’” (From “The One Love Language Minute Devotional”)
Here’s a short article to read that backs up that concept:
Even when there is conflict while you’re taking these small steps, don’t be discouraged.
“Conflicts are not a sign you’ve married the wrong person. They simply affirm you are human.” (Gary Chapman)
And your spouse is too. Make sure that you give him or her the grace that you expect God to give to you. As you do so,
“May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” (2 Peter 1:2)
Cindy and Steve Wright
We’re excited to announce that our book 7 ESSENTIALS to Grow Your Marriage is now available for you to read and apply to your own relationship! This book is somewhat unique. In each chapter/TIP we both write from our own perspective on the topic. This way you can relate and be able to take away from the subject whether you’re the husband or the wife.
This book is available in an electronic format compatible for electron devices (iPad, SmartPhone, Laptop, etc.). For this reason, you can read it anytime or anywhere it’s convenient for you. It is our mission to try to help your marriage grow to be as healthy and loving as possible. Just click on the photo to find the platform you can use to obtain it.
May God bless as we strive to make our marriages ones that reveal and reflect the Heart of Christ!
Steve and Cindy Wright
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