1. Share Your Faith
When I was a young teen and often bullied or shunned, I’d often go home and read the Bible. I found solace and even enlightenment in those readings. If you are familiar with my story, you know that it was a reading in the Bible that ended my thoughts of suicide and put me on course for the ridiculously good life I’m enjoying. The Bible, then, gave me my life’s purpose, so you can understand why I enjoy reading it so much.
Reading Bible stories has also brought peace to our marriage in ways that are nothing short of a miracle. Even before we married, Kanae and I would read the Word and pray together, and it was awesome. We’d even read scriptures over the phone and then talk about them and what they meant to us. Once we were married, we were swept up in life and the demands of work and travel, but then we realized that we needed to read the Bible together more than ever before. We were like people starving for spiritual nourishment. It helps us start the day with a thankful heart, because we’re reminded that we don’t have anything without Him.
2. Practice Gratitude
Getting married is the easy part. Becoming one in your moment-to-moment, daily life is what’s difficult. Before every decision you make, big or small, you have to consider the input from and the impact on the other person. Kanae has had to deal with my many weaknesses. We all go through seasons of maturity and self-knowledge. As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize the need to express my gratitude more often. One of my realizations is that I never learned to say please and thank you as a child. As a disabled child, I became a little too comfortable with having people do things for me. Maybe I thought the world owed me whatever I wanted since I’d been born without arms and legs. I tended to ask for things in a straightforward manner: “Give me a glass of water.” I realized that my courtesy was lacking when I visited with the family of Daniel, a child born without arms and legs whom I’ve been mentoring. Daniel’s parents have worked with him to teach him to say please and thank you. I was impressed with that. Now I’m much more aware of thanking people and expressing gratitude, especially to those closest to me, because I never want to take them or their love for granted.
3. Take a Team Approach
Marriage and family are team sports. You need each other to survive and to keep the love alive. Team members take care of each other and look out for the welfare of everyone involved. They also divvy up responsibilities according to skill sets and capabilities. Everyone makes a contribution and everyone puts the needs of the team ahead of their own needs. Like many men, being married has taught me much about being on a team and accepting that the best way to get things done is to use the approach “We are all in this together.”
4. Communicate to Connect
There have been times when I’ve just tossed out an invitation to someone and then I’d remember to tell Kanae, usually at the last minute. When I’d invite people to our home without telling my wife, I wasn’t just cutting her out of the communication loop, I was forcing her to scramble. I was being inconsiderate. I could hardly blame her when she said it seemed like I was treating her more like an employee than someone I loved and respected. I wasn’t thinking about the extra work she had to do, and I wasn’t being empathetic.
I am a professional speaker. I communicate for a living. But I wasn’t communicating very well with my wife when it came to my spontaneous socializations. My wife has also had to remind me from time to time that while I am an accomplished speaker, my listening skills are still in need of some work. Our premarital counselor made mention of this, telling us that couples should think in terms of connecting even more than communicating.
5. Resolve Problems and Misunderstandings When They Occur
Your tongue can do damage or it can heal. That is a choice we all have. I’m sure I’m not the first husband and new father who wishes he had an Undo button for things he’s said to his wife or children. Unfortunately, you can’t erase things that have already been said, but you can apologize and air your feelings rather than let them fester. Instead of striking back or seeking revenge for a slight or perceived slight, I recommend resisting the urge to push your spouse away and instead draw closer by using healing and comforting words and touch. Issues that go unresolved often surface again, and they become like a wedge in a log: every time you strike it, the split goes deeper and becomes more difficult to repair.
Following the directive to never go to bed angry does wonders for our sleep, not to mention our intimacy. It’s really not fun lying in bed when one of you is spewing steam from the ears and nostrils. You don’t have to come to complete agreement. You can even agree to disagree—or to talk it through the next day—as long as you do your best to understand your spouse’s side of the issue.
Actually, one of the most empowering things I’ve learned to do is to give up the need to be right. I don’t know about you, but at the end of the day, I’d much rather be snuggled than be right.
Excerpted from Love Without Limits by Nick Vujicic Copyright © 2014 by Nick Vujicic. Excerpted by permission of WaterBrook Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Nick Vujicic is an evangelist, motivational speaker, author, and the director of Life Without Limbs, a nonprofit organization that advances the gospel of Jesus Christ and helps alleviate suffering worldwide. Nick regularly speaks to large crowds on overcoming obstacles and achieving dreams. He is a popular guest on programs such as CBS Sunday Morning, LIFE Today, and Oprah’s Lifeclass. Abroad, he was featured twice on 60 Minutes Australia. Nick also hosts his own daily inspirational radio program. A native of Australia, he now lives in Southern California with his wife and co-author of this book, Kanae, and their son Kiyoshi.
Publication date: December 3, 2014
Read more about what the Bible says about marriage in our Marriage Guide that walks through many hot topics surrounding marriage today in light of God's Word.