What if a better marriage didn’t demand a major over-haul? What if you could have a better marriage by making small changes?
I believe that small changes can have a big impact in marriage. Think about it this way…if a plane leaving L.A. for N.Y changes it’s course by just a degree or two, it will end up in a completely different part of the world! Small changes can be very powerful.
And it doesn’t matter who makes the small change. Many of us think: “If my spouse would just change what they’re doing, then I could change what I’m doing.” Or, “I could make a change, but why bother if my spouse is not going to change?” So, it becomes a big game of “Who Goes First?” But it doesn’t matter who goes first. No matter who makes the small change, it will change the whole thing in some way.
You see, marriage is like a dance between two partners. Both partners dance steps that (good or bad) are in sync with one another. If one dance partner changes even one step, it will lead to the other partner changing their step in some way. Thus, changing one small step will change the entire dance.
So what are some of the small changes that will have a big impact on your marriage? The list can be as different as people and as long as your imagination, but here are just a few to get you started…
Talk more than text. I’m not trying to sound like a dinosaur here. (I’m really a geek at heart.) I know texting is a quick and easy way to communicate. But there’s so much more that can happen in conversation than can happen in texts. You can add side notes that you might not take the time to do in text. You can avoid a lot of miscommunication and misunderstanding, because it’s easier to hear voice tones and ask for clarification. I’m not saying don’t text. Just make sure you’re talking more than texting.
Compliment more than complain. It’s so easy for us to talk more about what we don’t like than what we do like…especially when talking to our spouse. Can you imagine what would have happened when we were dating if we complained more than complimented? We probably wouldn’t have been very successful in dating. If that’s true, what makes us think that complaining more than complimenting is going to make our marriage successful?
Listen more than talk. When you really listen to your spouse…not just to what they’re saying but to everything behind what they’re saying…you create an atmosphere of care that make you someone they trust and feel safe with. This is gold to a marriage. One disclaimer though…I didn’t say don’t talk. Just listen more than you talk.
Spend more time than money. That’s not to say you should not buy things for your spouse. Your spouse may really appreciate getting gifts from you. But in the end, your time is more precious and will be more remembered and appreciated than anything you could buy. When you and I are on our death beds, we will not say, “I wish we had bought each other more stuff.” We will say, “I wish we had spent more time together.”
Ask for help more than independence. There’s something about acknowledging you need your spouse’s help that will draw you together. It has a way of bringing you together. It may be as simple as asking your spouse to help you get something down from a shelf, or asking them to hold something while you put it together. Whatever it may be, ask for help. Besides, your independence has a way of saying, “I don’t really need you.”
Laugh more than not. I can almost guarantee you laughed more when you were dating. I seriously doubt you would have married one another if there was no laughter. If that’s true, it stands to reason that laughter will make it easier to stay married. I know you were more carefree and less stressed when you were dating, but look around. There’s lot’s to laugh at in marriage, especially if you have kids. Yes, there are seasons of difficulty and grief, but those are seasons, not the rule. For the most part, we need to laugh more together. And just so we’re clear here…I’m talking about laughing with your spouse. Not at them.
As I said, there are many other small changes you could add to this list, but these small changes can have a big impact. These small changes can make big changes in the feel and flow of your marriage. Don’t believe me? Try one (or more) of these for a month and pay attention. You’ll see the difference.
Can you think of other small changes that have big impact on marriage? If so, leave a comment and share the wealth.
Copyright © 2015 Bret Legg