When writing our new book, 10 Best Decisions a Couple Can Make, we interviewed couples who had been happily married for over 20 years. We personally know many of the couples (so we know they enjoy happy relationships), and yet we were still struck with the way they talked to each other and about each other. They were simply kind.
Unfortunately, acting kindly and saying kind things are foreign behaviors to many couples. Often times, our lack of kindness in marriage stems from whether or not our parents trained us in assertive, attentive kindness. Some of us have well-meaning parents that got busy and forgot to affirm us regularly. Others were raised in stabile homes, but with little affirmation -- “Of course I love you” was the underlying assumption, but it was never spoken or demonstrated through physical affirmation. And still others were raised by mean, hostile, critical parents so being unkind and uncaring feels normal.
Think about your marriage – is it defined by kindness? If not, try using some of these affirming, encouraging terms to bring a little more kindness into your home:
- It is so nice to have you around.
- I am a better person with you in my life.
- I can’t imagine my life without you.
- Just being with you makes me smile.
- I love you.
- I value you.
- I appreciate you.
- I adore you.
- I think you are one of the most (loving, caring, affirming, etc) people I have ever known.
- You make me, me!
- We’re a good team.
- There’s not enough time in the day to love you.
- I wish I was independently wealthy; I’d stay home and love you all day long.
- You are beautiful (gorgeous, handsome, strong, etc).
- I feel beautiful (handsome) when I am with you.
- I thank God for you.
- I am not the same with out you.
- Life is sweeter with you in my world.
One couple’s advice to newlyweds sums this concept up: “BE NICE! If it is not nice to say or do — don’t do it. You should be the nicest person to your spouse, not just to strangers or friends.” My sister-in-law advises, “Treat your spouse like company!”
God confirms this good advice with the simple, “Love one another.” In kindergarten we all learned the Golden Rule (which comes from the Bible), “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
We are convinced the divorce rate would plummet if people were just kinder to one another in marriage. It seems like a simple concept, but even simple concepts need conscious effort and commitment to execute. Today, make it your goal to be as kind as you possibly can be to everyone in your path, especially your mate.
Pam and Bill Farrel are relationship specialists, international speakers and best selling authors of Men are like Waffles, Women are like Spaghetti, Red Hot Monogamy and The First Five Years: Make the Love Investment To check out the Farrels other books and DVDs, or to attend one of their many speaking events, visit www.farrelcommunications.com.