Marriage Monday: Encouraging Words

My thoughts on marriage today are prompted by Trey's post making the amazing claim: "How to Drop the Divorce Rate to 7% in Your Marriage."

Well, I was all about that. I have mentioned about a time or 50 that Troy and I have stared divorce in the face and by the grace of God and prayers of others we came out on the other side. And we are wiser and gentler with each other for it (did you know that most marriages -- like 80%-ish -- that are unhappy report that 5 years later are happier than ever? Because they have found the value in sticking it out).

However, that doesn't mean that we are immune to common pitfalls in marriage. Hyper-aware that they are taking place, maybe, but they still crop up from time-to-time.

Take now, for instance. Let's push aside the fact that the kids and I have only lived in this area for 3 months, so aren't super familiar with neighbors and friends, and certainly don't have a carpool support system. Fall has defaulted to being our crazy-busy season since that includes activities of both of our kids. Marching band practice has one going until late day while football practice gets one up in the wee hours of the morning, football games (for both) are on 2 nights a week, then the schools want us to meet the teacher, party with the band, and do all kinds of other things that take up evenings and time and gasoline.

It is a fun season of life watching our kids do what God has gifted them to do, but it does coincide with a busy season at Troy's work, when they also happen to be short-handed. Today is a fairly typical 13-hour day for him to launch a busy week that concludes with an out-of-town business trip over the weekend. It's our season of life and where God has us now.

So communication is brief. Emails and texts fly about schedules, finances, errands, and home maintenance. By the end of the day, it's "I'm starving," "What's for dinner," and "Who's turn is it to clean up?" That's about all we have left.

When Trey's blog post mentioned to compliment our spouse 5 times for every negative thing we say, I confess I was at a loss.
"Your car looks so shiny as you drive away in the mornings..."
"You spell everything right in your texts to tell me how late you're going to be..."

Once I started paying attention -- that if I wasn't going to compliment, I had to quit being negative, for starters -- I found places to compliment. When you've been married ... as long as we have (a number that we actually disagree on -- we have no idea how long it will be this November ... but I'm pretty sure I'm right... :-) you forget that someone still likes to hear compliments on their appearance.

But of course I lOVE to get compliments -- and Troy is good at that. I'll have to compliment him on  his complimenting me.

If it's really that easy, will you do it? Compliment your spouse 5 times for every negative thing you say? I found myself biting my tongue about ridiculous criticisms (where the soy sauce goes in the pantry, for example) just so I wouldn't have to dream up compliments about someone I'm barely spending any time around currently. Yes, I am being bare bones honest right now.

I married an amazing, godly man and it has been good for me to remember all the reasons why! What about you?


Anonymous said...

Yep, the marriage thing takes tons of work, daily. Glad you two are still actively working on it after however many years it's been. ;-) mstirman

Donna said...

Thank you for this reminder. After almost 32 years together and weeks of running after two teenagers and a new health challenge for our family, it's easy to forget that those kind words make the journey not only easier, but reminds us of why we travel together in the first place.

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