What are you feeding your marriage? To actively build your marriage requires making intentional choices about what kinds of “food” you feeding your marriage. Far too many couples are lazy in their diet choices as a couple—feeding on unforgiveness, anger, pride, and selfishness. A bad diet in marriage will lead to a weakened immune system, lethargy, obesity, and an early death of the relationship.
Thankfully, couples are increasingly choosing to build their marriages by bringing nutritional “foods” into their relationship. Here are three foods your marriage needs on a regular basis to be strong, lean, and fit for the long run!
In the nutritious marriage meal, grace is the appetizer. It’s grace that sets the palate of one’s spouse to desire more of what you have!
In his book, Grace Filled Marriage, Dr. Tim Kimmel writes that surveys show only 10% of marriages are truly happy. The foundational reason for the holes in their marriages is the lack of grace. As Kimmel defines it, “Grace is desiring the best for your spouse, even when they may not deserve it.”
In our 30+ years of marriage we are still learning new ways to show grace to each other. We bring our faults, failures, and idiosyncrasies into the marriage. Grace communicates in word, tone of voice, and action, “I love you unconditionally.” It forgives without being asked. It chuckles instead of getting ticked.
We all want and expect grace to be shown to us. The irony is that to experience grace, we have to initiate grace. And bringing grace—and graciousness—into the diet of a marriage lays the foundation for health and growth.
Love is the main course for the marriage meal. We’re all about romantic love, but that isn’t the marriage food we’re talking about here. This kind of love is the love that sacrifices one’s self for the well-being of their spouse. It’s not “self-serving” but “spouse-serving” love.
This kind of love is expressed best through situations where you don’t “feel” loving, nor like sacrificing yourself. Remember that just before Jesus went to the cross he asked His Father to “take this cup (of suffering/death) from me” but he showed self-sacrificing love by following through.
When you consistently love your spouse in a self-sacrificing manner, you are providing the staple meal for your marriage!
Respect in marriage is the rice pilaf and veggies that accompany the main meal. Dr. Emerson Eggrichs of Love and Respect Ministries has paved the way for a greater understanding and appreciation how vital respect is in a relationship. As he writes, “we all need love and respect equally” but our felt needs differ during conflict.
Both men and women have to experience respect in their marriage. Choose words that are uplifting vs. sarcastic. Choose to only speak well of your spouse to your friends—especially when your spouse can hear you! Give them your full attention when they are talking without interrupting. Show common courtesies saying, “please,” thank-you,” to each other. Open the door to the car for your wife, or let her walk through a doorway first.
Next week we’ll write about dessert :), but for now, make it your practice to feed your marriage nutritionally with grace, love, and respect as you build your marriage!