Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The secret of a good marriage

Do you know the secret of a good marriage?

You might have a few ideas.

If I had to throw out a few ideas of my own, I might include things such as prayer, commitment, love and respect.

A few years ago I heard Dr. Laura Schlessinger (author and radio talk show host) give her definition of a good marriage. She says the secret of a good marriage can be summed up in 4 words:

"Choose Wisely...Treat Kindly."


That's not what I would have expected from this highly-opinionated, straight-forward woman. I would have anticipated something deeper. More complicated. More difficult.

And yet in contemplating this 'secret', I realized it was indeed, quite difficult.

Choose wisely. Treat kindly.

I made my choice in 2001.

Therefore, I need to focus on part two: treat kindly.

For those who know me well, and who might be among my friends with whom I share prayer requests, you know that I have asked for prayer regarding the same issue for a couple years.

It's incredibly humbling to admit that I need prayer for and continue struggle in the area of treating my husband kindly.

I am often impatient, short, and rude with him. My words are disrespectful and my tone is offensive.

When Samuel does something that he knows is not OK, he will often hear me say, "Absolutely not."

And yet, someone could say the same to me about how I treat my husband. I did choose wisely. He is a wonderful, funny, giving, loving man. And I have struggled with treating him kindly for years.

Last month I read this comment on another blog and it hit me deeply: "After 19 years together, Russ and I have concluded that the key [to a good marriage] is plain old kindness. We treat each other better than we treat anyone else."

Plain. Old. Kindness.

One definition of kindness is: Goodness in action, sweetness of disposition, gentleness in dealing with others.

What's my deal? Why do I struggle so greatly with treating the love of my life....kindly?

My one hope, my one piece of encouragement is that kindness is a fruit of the Spirit and therefore the more I seek the Lord the more he can mold me, shape me and transform me from the inside out. I need Him to replace my ugliness with kindness. I need Him to help my conversation be full of grace.

We're 10 years in and it's not a secret anymore. I know what it takes to make my marriage good.

And I know the choice is up to me.


JellyBelly said...

That's some wise advice!!!!

WoRds/WoNDer said...

Isn't it funny that the "simplest" words are the hardest?!

cybil said...

Yes, and I think that the basis for this is mutual respect.

Anonymous said...

I struggle with this, too. Far from treating my hubby better than anyone else, I'm ashamed to say I treat him worse. My critical side seems to emerge when I'm not taking care of myself (feeling overwhelmed, stressed), or when I allow myself to ruminate on judgmental thoughts about my husband (he should be / do more x or y). When I focus on thinking loving thoughts and appreciating him, and remind myself as often as necessary that he's an autonomous adult, then I don't nag or snap at him. And during those times we're closer, and he actually helps out more, etc. Try taking kindness one day at a time. :)