One positive step almost everyone should take in their marriage.

Originally published Thursday, 01 March 2012.


(photo credit: Photostock)

A recent piece in The New York Times “Modern Love” column featured a marriage story by Elizabeth Weil titled, “Plunging Ahead To  Poke The Bear.”

Weil describes what she did to improve her marriage -a fave topic of mine!  At the age of 40, she took stock of her marriage and felt she had been too passive about it. After all, she reasoned, she is a high achiever in many other areas of life.

So, husband agreeable, they embarked on two years of “…thinking about marriage, reading about marriage, trying forms of couples’ therapy, … consulting clergy members and financial planners.”

At the end I thought Weil hit on a key point.  Of all the things she learned, this emerged at the top of the heap:

She learned to become more appreciative and generous towards her husband.

She began to look for ways to accept her husband .  The more she did this, the more she found herself wanting to join in with the things he enjoyed. And it appears that for her, these two things went hand in hand.

A positive, upward spiral was created.

*  This included accepting his quirks more and trying to nag less.

*  It involved joining him on a messy hiking trip, and agreeing to him butchering a pig for them in the middle of her kitchen.

*  It took practice and intentionality on her part

(Note:  I would personally have to draw the line at pig butchering, though.  At least inside the house!)

What about you?

Are you generous in your marriage?  Do you look out for your spouse’s agendas, hopes, and dreams?  Do you try to meet him or her there?

Over the years, I’ve built up my muscles of generosity  - but it has not come automatically!  I’ve still got a long way to go. My fuel is knowing that Christ has accepted me, warts and all.  As I work on acceptance in my marriage, appreciation grows.  As appreciation grows, so does my generosity. At least I think so!  And a positive, upward spiral is created.

This is the labor of love we’re called to in our marriages.

A labor that builds new people, new lives.

Question:  How are you generous in your marriage? How else could you add to that list? 




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I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas.  You can share in the comment box! (just below or above left)

Dr. Ann is a Christian M.D., wife to a fantastic husband, and mom to a lively gang of three.  At The Marriage Checklist Ann blogs about marriage, motherhood, and more!  She helps women build better life balance and grow great marriages.  Ann blogs at, and has been featured on BlogHer, Fox news, and Good Morning America.  She loves that every day we can choose to take our best steps forward – for God, for the people in our lives, and for ourselves.  Are you ready then?  Let’s go!

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