Written by Bethany Bartholomew
Ever feel like you’re doing everything wrong? You put on your shirt inside out. You burned the chicken while making dinner. You forgot to fill the car with gas so you were late to your appointment because you had to stop at the nearest station.
And suddenly you start extending that feeling of today-is-just-not-my-day to your marriage too.
Stop right there.
There’s no need to agonize over every single little thing that could be going wrong. But it’s even more important to avoid focusing on those little bumps in your marriage. Of course it’s important to recognize things that you can improve and to talk about them together with your spouse. But focusing only on the negatives without acknowledging what you have accomplished can be just as damaging as not recognizing what needs to be worked out between the two of you.
So take a second and take note of the things you are doing right in your marriage. Here are some things you’re probably doing right already.
Step 1: You got married.
Okay, if you’re reading this article, more than likely you have been joined to your significant other in matrimony—you got married. Congratulations! You’ve done the most important thing right so far. It may seem like a very basic thing to recognize, but every so often it might help to take a step back and say, “Oh yeah. I did marry that incredible person. And they said ‘I do’ too.” Obviously something went wonderfully right there.
Step 2: You are still married.
If this has been a struggle for you, or if circumstances outside of your control have prevented you from completing step 2 up through this point, don’t let that discourage you. Take a look at step 3. You’re probably still doing a lot right in your relationships.
READ: LIVING THE LOVE LANGUAGE OF QUALITY TIME
If you have made it through step 2, think of that as a very big accomplishment. This one seems harder when you look at divorce rates around the world today. But if you’re still married, you’re beating those numbers. You’re one of the couples who has stuck through it even when life has thrown every possible curveball your way. Take another second to recognize that accomplishment. You’ve made it this far. You’re doing great.
Step 3: You are continuing to work on your marriage.
Anyone reading this article and browsing nurturingmarriage.org is at least thinking about their marriage (past, present, or future) and how to nurture it. Step 3 complete! Obviously there is a lot more to do to keep working on your marriage, but you’re at least starting on that path. You’ve made the conscious choice to think about and work on your marriage. That’s great! That is a huge step! Congratulate yourself on your accomplishment.
With all the different things you can do to continue working on step 3, you are more than likely at least accomplishing one or two great things in your marriage. In fact, you’re probably accomplishing more than that. Take a minute once again to think about all the things you’ve done right recently. Here’s a quiz to help spark some ideas for you.
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions or thought of something you did that was similar to the examples in those questions, congratulations! You showed love to your spouse. And you helped nurture your marriage!
See? You’re doing better than you thought.
“But those were such little things!” you might say. “I didn’t even remember doing some of them until I really thought about it.”
That’s because they’re meant to be little things. Often it’s these little moments that mean the most.
And these little moments are meant to be repeated. Little things really add up. You might decide to get breakfast ready for your spouse one morning, or you might bring home your spouse’s favorite candy bar, or you might randomly put on your spouse’s favorite song the next time you get in the car together. And the next time you do something little, you’ll show love again. Then again. And again! There’s no limit to the amount of love you can give to your spouse, and so there’s no maximum number of right things you can do.
READ: 10 WAYS OF SHOWING COMPLETE FIDELITY IN MARRIAGE
You can also talk about the little things together. Figure out what little things are most right for you and your spouse specifically. Ask questions like, “When I make you breakfast, I want to show that I love you. Is that a good way to show it to you? Is there something else I can do to show you that I love you?”
Those kinds of conversations are good to have anyway. Each person in a marriage will express and accept love differently. (TAKE THE 5 LOVE LANGUAGES QUIZ!) So talk about it! Ask your spouse what you’re doing right in showing love to them. You might be surprised by their answers. And even if they don’t ask, feel free to share with your spouse what you think they are doing right too. A figurative pat on the back is always nice. And another way to show love!
You’re racking up the love moments already.
So keep doing what you’re doing. Of course, keep working on the things that need improving. Everyone has those. But take a second every so often to think, “You know what? I did something right today. And I nailed it!”
Photo Credit: Crooze Photography
“Marriage is a mosaic you build with your spouse. Millions of tiny moments that create your love story.”
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