10 Simple Christian Ways to Build Up Your Marriage
It’s the 3rd Saturday of the month, and as usual Rose and I have to attend the Couples For Christ Family Assembly. It’s February and the snow was still fresh on the ground. The weather was very cold, but the teaching for the day was warm enough to melt the couple’s one heart to cultivate their marriage with love and fidelity as promised on the wedding day until death do they part.
The teaching was more than a reminder that our words can either edify or tear down, and simple words can totally spice up and build our marriage. Why not try to incorporate them in your daily walk with your spouse right now!
1. “I LOVE YOU.” The temptation is even in the best of couples to say interiorly: “Well she already knows that, why be boring and redundant?” True, she may know it but every time it is expressed the love in her heart grows. It is like a plant unwater, it wilts and dies; watered, the plant grows and flourishes.
2. “THANK YOU!” “Thank you” should be constant, heartfelt, and concrete. In other words, “Honey, thank you for a wonderful meal!” Shakespeare condemns ingratitude with these biting words: “More painful than a serpent’s tooth is that of an ungrateful child.” Season your daily vocabulary with “Thank you!”
3. “I AM SORRY…FORGIVE ME!” When we fail we should have the humility to say “I am sorry!” This demands sincerity and humility, two key virtues indispensable in the spiritual life. Avoid “I am sorry…you feel that way” or “I am sorry” (only because I got caught). “I am sorry…period” also means I will do my very best, with God’s grace not to commit the same offense that caused the hurt. The sequel of “I am sorry” of course is “Forgive me!” The best marriages are not those who never have disagreements or conflicts, but rather they are the ones that are resilient. Christian teachings remind us: “Never allow the sun to go down on your anger.”
4. “I FORGIVE YOU”. The Lord’s Prayer taught us to ask for forgiveness and to forgive --- “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” One of the best parts of being forgiven is the freedom it brings. Reconciliation is the most critical work of the first years of marriage, and if a couple does it well, it becomes the work and the gift of a lifetime. (The teaching covered the story about Healing the Hurts of Marriage by Kathy Heskin which really needs a separate post by itself. I will try to share later here and FB.)
5. WHAT CAN I DO TO PLEASE MY SPOUSE TODAY? Every day husband or wife should plan to carry out some concrete action that will result in making his/her spouse happy. Not what is in it for me, but how can I please my spouse today!
6. COMPLIMENT: ONCE, TWICE, THREE TIMES. In baseball three strikes means you are out. In marriage and family, spouses should get into the habit of complimenting each other not once, nor twice, but rather three times a day. This is not a spiritual strike out, but a grand slam!
7. LISTEN, PRAY, THINK, THEN SPEAK! Easier said than done! Communication fails all too often because of a lack of proper order in communication. We should be slow to speak and quick to listen. What would happen if starting now, I strive to improve my communication skills by following these four words in this proper order: first listen attentively, pray, think and ponder, then speak for the purpose of edifying and sanctifying my spouse. Of course this is a tall order and not easy to accomplish overnight. However, let us aim high!
8. “GOD WILL PROVIDE”. In the midst of tensions, uncertainties, struggles, trials and tribulations, one of the key phrases that should ascend from our hearts and be expressed by our speech should be “God will provide.” These three words express a great trust and confidence in Divine Providence. Many couples suffer due to the simple but key issue of TRUST of God in their lives. How about follow it up with “Jesus we trust in you!”
9. “I WILL PRAY FOR YOU”. This might sound like a pious platitude or a mere cliché, but it is not! The greatest gift somebody can give to another is to pray for them. A short and fervent prayer goes beyond the value of all the money in the world. Could it be that many marriages and families crumble and disintegrate for the simple reason that husbands and wives forget the most simple and obvious: they forget to pray for each other!
10. “LET US PRAY TOGETHER!” Whatever denomination you belong, the saying always applies when the family that prays together stays together. If you are a Catholic, the recitation of the Rosary is a good practice.
In conclusion, if married couples can embrace these words, sentiments and attitude of heart, they are establishing a solid foundation on which to build their family and a secure foundation for the future of their children.
Reference: CFC teaching on “LOVE MORE … YOUR GOD’S GIFT OR SPOUSE”