Building a Marriage That Lasts, One Day at a Time














Zig Ziglar, the coveted motivational speaker and top salesman was speaking about marriage yesterday on a radio program.

“Me and the Red-head (as he affectionately calls his wife) court each other every day.”  He said.  “The other day we were having a cup of coffee in the bedroom, and the Redhead said to me, ‘Honey, I wish I was younger’.  ‘What on earth for?’ I asked her.  ‘So I could be married to you even longer’, she said.”

He explained that their marriage was such a sweet one because they worked on it DAILY.  He said,

“It’s not the big things, not the big gifts, not the major moments in life that make a great marriage…it’s the little acts of kindness, the small things every day that knit the hearts together.”

Marriage becomes an increasingly interesting phenomenon to me.  I see so many falling apart around me and I’m constantly studying to try to uncover the reasons.

Yes, they’re often very complicated.  But what if most cases involve a slow erosion of feelings, affection and motivation?  (I remember the song “Slow Fade”…”Families never crumble in a day”.)

Zig left the simple advice with us:  “Ask yourself each day how you can benefit your mate.”

And God gave us the same advice a long time ago….“Love your neighbor as yourself.”

I don’t mean to oversimplify things, but how many marriages would be healed by believing God’s Word as it applies to our treatment of one another, and actually living it out?  Do I really treat my spouse “as myself?”  (How many of us hold a grudge very long against ourselves?  Or refuse to forgive ourselves?)

“How many times shall my brother offend and I forgive him?  Seven times?”  “Not seven times, but seventy times seven.” And remember the consequences if we don’t?  “But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

I’ve seen it happen in my own marriage…a careless word or thoughtless gesture can enshroud the entire day with an air of coldness and indifference. But similarly, a careful word, a small attention to show gratitude and appreciation can turn the day into a sweet place of friendship.

Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads, which sew people together through the years.
–Simone Signore


10 Responses to “Building a Marriage That Lasts, One Day at a Time”

  1. Jennifer says:

    Beautiful! I like how the Scripture describes it as “knit together in love”. The only way to separate true believers–especially married ones–is to tear and leave a gaping hole.

    Thanks for this post!

  2. Kim M says:

    I do think it *is* those little things that make a huge difference in our marriages. And yes, I have to wonder… how hard is it to just be kind or spend a few extra minutes just talking? But like you said it is a slow fade and that is when it becomes “too hard”.
    I do think a lot of it has to do with the high level of stress people add to their lives. Simple kindness becomes too hard when you are rushing around….

  3. Kelly L says:

    I agree, the little things make up the big things. It is important to be thoughtful and look for ways to touch your spouse. Just as a cute side note, my husband loves candy and I rarely buy it because it is so bad for us. But last night I came home from Sam’s with a bag for us. It told him I valued what he wants more than I value my psycho health stuff. My daughter was swept up in in and made him a lunch, out of the blue, just so she could throw some candy in the bag for him. I seldom make him a lunch, but he appreciates it when I do. He was overjoyed when our daughter did. It rubs off and teaches her how to love her spouse. Bad news for her future spouse? My husband is the most thoughtful and loving man I know or have heard of. Her future husband has a high standard set before him.

  4. Alison says:

    OK, my 2 cents – I have a woman who is close to me and divorced. It was very uncomfortable to be around her and her husband because they were always cutting on each other. Words are so powerful! She claims to be a beliver, but is now living with her boyfriend to “check it out” since she had a “bad experience” the first time.

    I heard a prayer years ago that I still pray sometimes, “Lord, give us eyes only for each other.” Thanks for the encouragement, Kelly.

    I appreciate your friendship and your example of living out what you “preach.” 🙂

  5. Mandy Mom says:

    I think the key to a healthy marriage IS simple. God has given us all the instruction we need, but, we’re stubborn because we’re selfish. If we all lived with a loving, servants attitude, we’d see our marriages thrive!

  6. Becky says:

    It is a slow fade AND it is a daily choice. Two months ago on April 9th, I had made the decision to file for divorce after 24+ years of marriage. The previous 10 months had been a nightmare and even our 16 year old daughter, the only one left full time at home, begged me to just take her and leave. This past Saturday, June 9th, we renewed our vows in front of the handful of people who walked with us during some VERY difficult times and prayed for us continually. We were on the brink of divorce–an attorney had been talked to and my husband had found an apartment–and God worked a miracle through some amazing and some very painful circumstances. Our counseling pastor, who continues to meet weekly with us, said he has been doing this a long time and has never seen anything like what he has witnessed in our marriage. We now tell our kids that we are a testament to what God can and will do when you are open to His working in your life. God changed my husband almost overnight from an angry, abusive man to a loving and caring one. He now lives for me and that makes it easy for me to live for and love him in return. This morning our 16 year old and her older brother (19 and home from college for the summer) commented on how we now tag each other in facebook posts and our son said, “I know. It’s so darn cute!” I am thankful for what God has done and I am excited to see His continued work in our lives, our marriage and our kids (who have some healing to do from all they have seen).

  7. Thank you for a beautiful post. Building up our spouse and being friends. Friendly. And I love how Jennifer commented “knit together with love” – Colossians 2:2

  8. Lisa says:

    Thank you for this post. My H and I will have been married 22 years on June 23rd. I agree with the comments about it being a gradual decline that causes problems. I have a great deal of difficulty catching my thoughts at times …. and have only begun to realize how a stray thought based on nothing more than that constant running monologue in my head about my own lack of self worth, can set a course for disconnect between my H and myself. I have to remember the phrase: “don’t believe everything you think” ! It takes real effort to pay attention to these self (and H) defeating messages, as they have worn grooves into my brain over the years and I default to them far too easily. I am trying to think logically at these times (very hard!) and list the ways in which my H is great, and to realize that I often create my own problems this way.

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