May 092017 2 Responses

What If Your Marriage Improved by 12%?

My first semester of graduate school, I had a C in one of my classes. While I was not a straight-A student, getting a C was not something I desired. I could have accepted it if the class was very difficult and all my friends were struggling as well. However, many of my classmates had As and I did not.

As an important test approached, I asked one of the best students in the class if I could study with him. He agreed. I aced the test. A few weeks later I did the same to the final and my grade went from a 79 to a 91. My C became an A.

What was the secret? I was studying wrong. My friend studied in a group. When he let me in the group, I realized I had been going about studying for the class in the wrong way. While I had put in the appropriate effort and while I had enough knowledge, my energies had been directed in the wrong place and that is why I had a C. My grade improved, not when I put in more effort, but when I directed my effort in the right way. (To read the early reviews of my new book, click HERE.)

A 12% Better Marriage

12% isn’t much. If there were 33 questions on a test, moving from a 78% to a 90% would mean getting four more questions right. Just four. It’s not much, but a little improvement can have a lot of impact. It can create margin which greatly improves every area of life.

Consider what a 12% increase in retirement savings would do over a lifetime. What cutting your expenses by 12% could do to your budget. What losing 12% of your body weight could do for your health. Small changes can have dramatic results.

What could 12% do for your marriage? If your marriage improved by a marginal amount, what would be the impact on the rest of your life? What if every disagreement was a little less tense, every frustration less disillusioning, every tension lasted for a shorter period of time and wasn’t as emotionally trying?

Small improvements in your relationship can greatly change your life. Most couples are not failing. They are successful in some areas and struggling in others. But the struggles drag the whole relationship down. What they need is not a dramatic overhaul, but small improvements in a few key areas.

Not Every Issue Is Equal

While any improvement will help, not every area is equal in a marriage. There is a fast-track when it comes to change in marriage. Small improvements in key areas can dramatically change your interaction, attitude, and appreciation.

Here are three areas to give the most attention:

1. Trust. A decline in trust taints everything. When distrust is present, a couple must spend more time worrying about their spouse than caring for their spouse. Distrust becomes a cancer within the relationship eroding every positive element. Trust changes everything. Conflict is diminished when spouses are convinced they each have the other’s best interest at heart. When trust is present, motives don’t have to be questioned, disagreements aren’t personal, and differences become strengths which empower the relationship. Any increase in trust between spouses has an exponential result in the relationship.

2. Respect. When respect is absent, a couple works against one another rather than with each other. Everything becomes more stressful, time-consuming, and frustrating. When respect is present, couples communicate well in order to maximize their effort for the best results. Respect empowers a couple. Because they value their spouse’s ability, heart, and mind, they are open to being influenced by one another. Respect creates productivity–not only from the couple but between them as well. When respect is increased, a couple’s ability to work through issues increases as well.

3. Intimacy. Notice, this isn’t just sex. Physical intimacy is important, but it’s not the only thing which defines the connection of a couple. At the heart of intimacy is being seen. Spouses are intimate when they see one another. If you raise your awareness of your spouse’s presence, heart, stress, and contribution, you will greatly improve your relationship. Many relationships struggle because one or both spouses loses sight of their husband or wife. They simply aren’t aware of what is going on in their lives. The more we see one another, the more likely we are to feel compassion, empathy, and appreciation.

12% Starts Here

I wrote Friends, Partners & Lovers, not with the idea of dramatically transforming marriages, but with the idea of marginally improving a good number of relationship. I know that if couples will honestly read the book with an open mind and heart, their relationships will be improved. They will discover strengths they did know they have. Those strengths will encourage them and assist them in growing together. They will learn about habits which are hurting their relationship. This knowledge will allow them to make better decisions.

More than anything, reading a marriage book will empower a couple to look at their relationship. Too often, husbands and wives drift into bad behaviors. They don’t intentionally cause the decay of their relationship; they apathetically allow it to happen. Nearly ANY intentional effort in a relationship will improve a marriage.

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