I was thinking the other day about a small discipline that Bea and I have adopted into our relationship and daily routine that is hugely valuable.
- Maybe you do this already, and it’s a “no-brainer” for you. If so, keep it up!
- Maybe you are aware of this habit/routine, but you’ve slowly let it “slip” from your regular rhythm of life. If so, I encourage you to pick this back up!
- It’s possible that you’ve never really thought about this. If so, I encourage to begin doing this, TODAY!
- This is so simple, it’s so easy, the impact/value is so rewarding, I’m convinced that you’ll agree, “This is something that we need in our marriage”.
Here’s the simple idea…
Here’s the simple idea.
Every time you enter the same room (or come home at the end of the day) after being apart for some time, your FIRST priority is to warmly greet your spouse and let them know that you’re genuinely glad to see them.
- This doesn’t mean ignoring other people in the room or being rude to others.
- And, it doesn’t mean you make a big deal of this by running fiercely to your spouse and making a production out of it.
- It’s a habit to be developed so it becomes “second nature”.
- Incidentally, for Bea and me, when we return home at the end of the day, it’s the person who “comes in the door” who goes directly toward the other spouse, rather than expecting them to “get up” from where they are or to “interrupt” what they’re doing.
Several years ago, our extended family gathered for a wedding at another part of the country. The transportation issues were rather complex, which created quite an adventure for all of us.
- I remember vividly walking into the room where some of our extended family had already arrived, and these people continued whatever they were doing at a table in silence…did not look up or even acknowledge that we had entered the room!
- I realize that I’m more of a “people person”, but I genuinely chuckled at being ignored in that manner. Honestly, I wasn’t hurt or offended in any way, just amused. I mentioned this incident to Bea today and she doesn’t even remember it, but she also chuckles a bit at this incident.
- But this incident does remind me of the value of being celebrated and the subsequent loss if this is missing from a marriage.
On a side note (this is a bonus, by the way), the same principle applies if you work on a team in your job. When you have a staff meeting, planning meeting, and so on… why not be intentional about “adding value” to as many people as possible as they enter the meeting room. Maybe greeting by name, maybe simply with eye-contact and a warm smile, but acknowledging as many people as possible as they enter the room. You’ll notice that many people are so “task oriented” that they enter with a terse greeting (if anything) and want to “get down to business”. Don’t ignore the value of the “pre-meeting meeting”, the casual interaction between folks. It makes us better people…better employees…and better teams. I’ve even begun opening virtual meetings (like ZOOM) with a 10-15 minute “pre-meeting meeting” with optional chit-chat for this very reason.
Let me be honest with you, as I’ve interacted with couples in distress, none of them have set out, or planned to have a troubled marriage. It slowly happens over a period of time, very often beginning with taking each other for granted.
- Maybe one spouse tries to “punish” the other spouse by holding an unresolved issue over their head by “withholding affection”. Please keep “short accounts” and work to resolve issues quickly.
- Maybe one spouse is too wounded by the other spouse. Please work toward healing! Get help! Don’t let anything stay between you that prohibits this type of warm greeting.
- You have the power to prevent small things from eroding into “marital dissatisfaction”.
Talk to me: What do you think? Let me know your thoughts in the comments or email me anytime.
On the Marriage Matters USA Blog, we talk about all things marriage. I’ll definitely explore helpful and fun ideas to strengthen your marriage. As we explore these things, let me ask you to do a few things:
- Give me your feedback. Is this idea helpful? Are there other ways you’ve seen this principle or idea at work in your life? Do you have suggestions for topics? Feel free to email me and let me know what you’re struggling with—or what you see couples struggling with—the most in your circles at home, at schools, at your church and in the community.
- Give to Marriage Matters USA. We have expenses we wish to cover and some exciting things we’re hoping to release to help strengthen your marriage and lead your church to do this same. But we can’t do it without your help. Visit here to learn more and give.
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At Marriage Matters USA, our vision is cultivating Christ-centered marriages that glorify God. I’d love to hear from you. You can connect here to get started. As we learn how to serve you, your marriage and build churches that champion strong marriages, ask me how to build a solid marriage ministry for your local church and community? I’m always delighted to help you and talk about how we can make marriages stronger at home, at church and in your community.
This post is from David Sheets. David is founder of Marriage Matters USA. David has been married to Bea for 41 years and they have 2 children and 6 grandchildren. He has served in church ministry for 41+ years in music, worship and marriage ministry. David is a certified facilitator of Prepare|Enrich and SYMBIS (Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts) assessments. After leading a thriving marriage ministry at McLean Bible Church in Washington DC, David and the board of directors developed a strategy to make this powerful, agile ministry available to church planters, churches and other target groups. Email David here.
Marriage Matters USA facilitates the development and growth of marriage ministries by delivering Christ-centered leadership training and providing partnership opportunities among churches to enable them to more effectively enrich marriages in their community.