I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and writing about marriage lately (partly because it’s a growing passion and partly to prepare for our Refreshing Your Marriage Seminar Feb. 17-18).
Through some informal, conversational research, the couples I’ve talked to seem to be looking for that one “big-idea”… the one “silver bullet”… the big “game-changer” for marriage… the next idea that will become the next “must read” marriage book.
I’ve been thinking… could it be that the pursuit of the one big marriage-saving/improving idea, that we’re overlooking the many small actions that will make a difference?
Last week I had lunch with a buddy who wanted to talk about a previous post I had on marriage. This discussion led me to challenging him to come up with a list of the little things he could do that would make a difference/impact on his wife. I called him today to follow up for his list (I told him it would be in my blog). He said, “Doug, you made me mad last week because I was too dumb to notice the simple things I wasn’t doing. After I left you I made a list of 20 doable things that I would pursue this week.”
Here’s his list:
1. Clean up my dishes
2. Not leave clothes on the side of my bed
3. Put the toothpaste in the drawer (I usually leave it out)
4. To hug/kiss her right when I come in the house
5. Fill-up the gas in her car
6. Not watch TV in bed when she’s trying to sleep
7. Write her a short note and put in her briefcase
8. Don’t read the mail and leave the envelopes out
9. Put stuff back in the refrigerator
10. Walk the dog at night so she doesn’t have to
11. Be more affectionate
12. Listen to music instead of sports’ radio while we’re getting ready
13. Turn the lights off when I leave a room
14. Offer to help the kids with their homework
15. Comment and affirm her more often
16. Ask her if I could do the shopping this week
17. Don’t bring my phone to the dinner table
18. Care more deeply about her day
19. Make the bed
20. Bring home flowers/dessert/gift one night a week
My friend confessed that he wasn’t able to do all these during the week, but he’s definitely more conscious of what could be done… and could be easily done.
He’s not ready to admit that the “little things” will change his marriage, but he did admit that thinking about them has changed him.
Maybe that’s all it will take—a changed “him.”
Some marriages need surgery… some may need simple Band-Aid ideas. Some will need both.
I think my buddy just needs a few, consistent Band-Aid actions. He agrees, but he’s still mad at me.
Question: What are the little things that you would add to this list? Let’s get to 100! Share them here.