“Suppose that one night, while you were asleep, a miracle happened and the problem you have was solved. How would you know? What would be different? How would others know without your saying a word to them about it?”
I asked this question of “Betty,” and tears began to run down her face as she admitted, “it would be a miracle, for sure, if my husband still loved me. It would definitely be a miracle if we’re still married this time next year!”
As we continued to discuss the “morning after miracle,” Betty stated she would wake up happy, she’d start smiling and wouldn’t quit all day long! In addition, she would happily make her husband a cup of coffee, something she used to do and he loved, but that ritual hadn’t happened for a long time.
She recounted things he’d do too – like call or text her during the day just to say he loved her and they would have a pleasant dinner, talking about the kids and there wouldn’t be any fighting.
With some prompting, she continued to describe specifics and left, feeling hopeful because SHE had determined to be different. SHE was going to make that cup of coffee, and keep smiling, and refuse to argue.
Betty had just embarked on a journey to have a long-lasting marriage and by following the few principles listed below, you too can have success in love and happiness!
PRINCIPLE #1: Have a Positive Focus
Philippians 4:8 reminds us: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” I think Paul knew what he was talking about, married or not!
Research in the field of marriage has shown there’s a 90:10 ratio which applies again and again. That simply means, 90% of the time people like the person they married and they have a good life together. That’s a pretty high percentage!
HOWEVER, 10% of the time spouses do things that irritate, frustrate and get on the other’s last nerve! As the marriage continues, couples find themselves focusing on – you guessed it – the 10%. Then the labels start appearing – “He’s just lazy.” “She’s such a nag.” All too quickly, the 10% receiving all the attention begins to seem more and more true until one day, someone says, “I don’t love him or her any more.”
Let me tell you a secret I shared with Betty. Couples who enjoy long, satisfying relationships regularly make decisions to look for the good in the other person. “He may not pick up his dirty socks, but I do love his sense of humor.” “She can be impatient, but she’s a great cook!” How different to say each morning, “What can I do today to make my spouse glad they married me?” Let me assure you, if each day you look for something positive about your significant other, you’ll be too busy to wallow in self-pity, dissatisfaction and unhappiness.
PRINCIPLE #2: If a Miracle Happened…… How would YOU change?
When we give up wanting, wishing and waiting for the other person to change and instead, go after what we want and make ourselves happy, it turns out we really will BE happy! Too many people get stuck in “if only they….. if I had more money….. if I wasn’t stuck in this dead-end job……” Decide the miracle happened last night and start acting differently!
“Let US throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for US.” Hebrews 12:1
We don’t wait around for the world and the people in it to change; WE do the changing.
PRINCIPLE #3: Measure Your Progress
People have a tendency to think in “all or nothing” – or very general – terms. If it’s not all good, then it must be bad. No, let’s look at specific progress along the way.
Once Betty described her “miracle day,” I asked her to rate her relationship on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being very bad, and 10 being very good. As she contemplated the state of her marriage, she rated it as a 3 or 4.
“Hey!” I responded, “at least it’s not a 1 – that’s great! What would be your next small step if you rated things at a 4 or 5 next week?” She decided if she made her husband that cup of coffee at least 3 times a week and smiled at him and wished him a good day before he left for work those mornings, she would rate that a 4 or 5.
“Is that realistic?” I inquired.
“Yes,” she declared emphatically, “I can do that!”
With those small and specific steps, Betty began her quest for the miracle to happen in her relationship and, she may not have realized it then, but I know she’s on the way to feeling happier, experiencing more joy and satisfaction, not only in her marriage but in her life in general.
Betty and I are going to explore other principles, such as “Actions Speak Louder Than Words,” and “Look For Exceptions.” I hope you’ll come along for the ride and experience “miracle mornings” as well. Such “miracle mornings” can grow into renewed passion for life, for each other, and reasons to celebrate!