Little things matter. Missing one ingredient in a cake can make all the difference between a mess and a masterpiece. One number off on a combination lock and it stays locked. Putting the decimal in the wrong spot on your 1040 for the IRS can be disastrous.
We notice when little things are missing and problems arise, don’t we? In marriage, we can too easily notice the little things that bug us as well. It can be as mundane as they way our spouse chews their food, the towel or underwear left on the floor (again!), or the dishes still in the sink. Perhaps their clothes don’t match, they sneeze across the room or talk with their mouth full (and you can see it!).
All too often we can become fixated on the little wrong things, and miss all of the little good things. What happens over time is that we:
- Get negative about our marriage
- Turn critical toward our spouse
- Become self-righteous about what we do right
- Start to carry an edge of contempt
- Lose the luster of attraction
- And above all, fail to show the grace Christ has shown to us
We’ve been married almost 39 years and we continue to express appreciation for the little things in life. The towel that is picked up for us, the initiative to sweep the kitchen, something purchased at the grocery out of thoughtfulness, a touch on the shoulder, or an encouraging word. They are the bricks and mortar that help build a strong marriage that lasts through the years…if we’ve paid attention to them.
What we have experienced as a result of noticing the little good things is we:
- Are more positive about one another
- Are more motivated to work on our marriage
- Recognize the partnership we have in our marriage
- Have hearts that are more tender toward each other
- Are more captivated by each other
- Show the love and grace that Christ has shown to us
Here are three keys you can apply today in your marriage:
1. Notice little good things
Retrain your eyes to see the good things your spouse does. Set your mind to look for 2-3 little good things your spouse does ever day. It could be the chore they’ve done faithfully around the house for years. Maybe a supportive statement about your parents that your appreciate. A word of wisdom or advice. Perhaps they did just a little something extra that made your day better.
2. Affirm little good things
Retrain your lips to speak good things. When you note the good things, say the good things. You might say, “Thank you for faithfully taking out the trash through the years.” Or, “I appreciate your insight in that, thank you.” Hearing ourselves talk about the little good things reinforces what our spouse has done in our hearts and minds as well. The result over time are the benefits listed above.
3. Treasure little good things
Retrain your mind to think good things. Through the day and the week remind yourself of the little good things you’ve seen your spouse do. Your reflection will endear your heart toward your spouse more and more.
As you retrain your eyes, lips and mind around little good things, you will fall deeper in love and reflect Christ to your spouse as you build your marriage!