1 Marriage (& Friendship) Tip
Hair fades, brows crease, and it is all grace that our marriage has endured to year 25.
But even with 24 years under my belt, I’m no marriage expert.
I do have one quick tip, though. I call it the THAT’S WHY I MARRIED YOU game; AKA: CALL OUT THE GOOD, or I LOVE THAT ABOUT YOU.
Single? No worries. It works with friends, too. Just call it, THAT’S WHY YOU’RE MY FRIEND.
In fact, I advise my single friends, Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, then half-closed after the wedding. This, I think, is an active way of keeping our eyes half-closed—closed to negatives we can’t change in others—and wide open to their praiseworthy ways.
To clarify, calling out the good does not mean we don’t see the bad. It only means we choose to dwell on the good, à la Philippians 4:8,
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Not Blind, Just Focused
So playing this “game” doesn’t imply you’re smitten down to the pinky toes. It just means you’re choosing to see the good in them. It’s not blind devotion. It’s proper focus.
But maybe you feel like you made a mistake in choosing your marriage partner. I hope this surprising quote from lessons for incompatible soul-mates encourages you.
Nearly all marriages, even happy ones, are mistakes: in the sense that almost certainly (in a more perfect world, or even with a little more care in this very imperfect one) both partners might have found more suitable mates…But the ‘real soul-mate’ is the one you are actually married to.Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, pp. 51-52
And you’re real soul-mate will thank you and feel more like your soul-mate if you practice this one tip.
Do Not Withhold Good
Directions for use: Simply call out the good when you think it. You notice when a friend keeps her word when it hurts, call it out. Your husband unloads the dishes, acknowledge it.
Don’t save you loving speeches. Praise the praiseworthy. Don’t be stingy with it. If you think a complimentary, affectionate, kind-hearted thought about your husband (or friend) share it.
Bonus Points: Call out the good in front of others. I try to play “that’s why I married you” in front of the boys. It sounds like, “He gives great hugs. That’s why I married your dad.” Or when you’re having coffee with Meg and some mutual friends you casually ask, “Doesn’t Meg give the most thoughtful gifts?”
And without any more ado, here’s why 24 years after the wedding, I’m glad Jim’s my man.
In no particular order, here are 10 reasons I’m glad I married Jim:
1. He makes me laugh. Refer to the infamous Stanley Park incident and ask him Inspector Clouseau at Walgreens.
2. He is a handyman of handymen. Look what he installed for forest-dwelling, sun-loving me.
3. He fears God. He greatly delights in his commands.
4. He is kind. And—shhh— I don’t even think he even knows about the 30-Day Challenge.
5. He is a tidy. He puts dirty clothes in the bin, though I still struggle to put the clean away.
6. He forgives me. Yes, to #7 of those 8 marriage quotes: A good marriage is the union of two good forgivers.
7. He gives the best back rubs. ‘Nuff said.
8. He plays games. With the boys and with me, he plays to win (and usually does) and for that I’m glad.
9. He reads to me. It was Churchill’s Trial in bed last week.
10. He keeps his word. Jim’s word is golden; never have I ever doubted that.
That’s how CALL IT OUT looks around here on our 24th anniversary night. But remember, it also works wonders with friends.
Before I close, I’ll let you in on a little secret about this “game.” Playing it is a gift. But the gift of gladness is as much to yourself as it is to your spouse or your friends.
So do not withhold. Call out the good.
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.