5 Practices to Keep Throughout Your Marriage


Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. - Proverbs 3:3


One of the first virtues Dawn and I have noticed that tends to slip away (almost unnoticed) from many marriages is the simple act of kindness.  It’s not an intentional act on most couple’s parts.  Rather, the ruts of the daily routine of life coupled with the complacency that familiarity can breed often begins to erode the seemingly random acts of kindness that once came so naturally for us.


Solomon warns us of this predicament.  Through wisdom, he discerned that kindness required intentionality.  He knew kindness had to be fought for. Solomon understood that kindness, along with truth, was the bedrock of healthy relationships.


With this in mind, here’s 5 practices we have found beneficial to ensure that kindness remains at the forefront of your relationship. 


1. Say “Please” and “Thank You”


In the 90’s, we raised our three kids on Barney the Dinosaur.  He was known to say that “Please” and “Thank You” “are the magic words.”  I tend to agree with Barney.  There’s something about those two phrases that display kindness and gratitude.  When used, it’s as if “Please” and “Thank You” are ways of saying, “I don’t take your kindness for granted, thank you for doing that for me…”  “I appreciate you…”  “Thank you for thinking of me.  That means a lot…”


To some, “Please” and “Thank You” may be seen as simply good manners.  And, that may be true.  But, we also believe they convey mutual love and respect for your partner (Ephesians 5:33).  When partners feel mutually loved and/or respected, it raises the emotional temperature of the marital relationship.  And, that’s a good thing.


This week, be more intentional about catching your partner doing something kind for you.  And, when they do so, say “Thank You.”  If you request anything of your partner, try using “Please” at the end of your request.


2. Establish a Daily Point of Contact


For years now, Dawn and I have attempted to make it a daily practice of kissing each other first thing in the morning as we greet one another and the last thing we do at night before bedtime.

I tend to get up before Dawn.  I’m typically in our living room reading when she arises.  As she comes out of our bedroom, she’ll make her way next to my chair, bend down next to me, and I’ll kiss her.  And then usually, about 14 hours later in the day, we’ll repeat the same pattern as she prepares for bed.


We’ve found these twice daily loving gestures keeps us intimately connected and physically close to one another.  It helps us maintain a bond with one another that says, “I am yours and you are mine.”  Daily points of contact, be it a tender kiss, a hug, holding hands are simple ways to keep our affections focused solely on one another and not something or someone else.


If you are not already doing so, make it a practice of greeting each other with a tender kiss in the morning and saying good night with the same. Reach out and hold your partner’s hand in the parking lot. Give your partner a hug. You just may be surprised at how affection for one another increases.


3. Speak Positively to One Another


Whether you realize it or not, your spouse is in a daily mental battle to believe the truth about themselves, about God, and the various circumstances of life they encounter throughout the day.  In the midst of this daily battle, God has given you, as their help mate, the privilege to periodically remind them of what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and good (Philippians 4:8).


Solomon states, “Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances” (Proverbs 25:11).  A word aptly spoken by you, at the right time, with the right motive, for the right purpose, in the right circumstance has the potential to breathe life into your partner.


Proverbs 18:21 tells us that, “death and life are in the power of the tongue.”  With our words we can either build our spouse up or we can tear them down.  We have a daily choice to do either. As believers in Jesus Christ, we can choose to walk in the Spirit and be life-givers with our words to our spouse, or we can choose to walk in the flesh instead and be death-dealers.  The choice is literally ours on a daily basis.


Each day this week, why not try to find one or two positive things to say to your spouse?  “Your hair looks great!” “You did a great job putting away the laundry.” “The flowers you planted by the mailbox are a great addition.”  “You’re a great provider for our family.” “I appreciate your attention to detail.”


We’ve never seen a couple in our office whose chief complaint was their partner spent too much time building them up with their words and they were sick of it!  Trust us.  Words of praise and affirmation are life-giving to your partner and will enhance the kindness between the two of you.


4. Keep Short Accounts with Each Other


One of the kindest things we can do for our spouse is to overlook their faults and shortcomings.  We all mess up from time to time.  We say things we shouldn’t.  We make faux pas.  We’re imperfect.  We all are in the process of being perfected by Christ, but we’re not yet perfect (Philippians 1:6).  


1 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV) states that, “love keeps no record of wrongs.”  In other words, Paul encourages us to not badger one another when we mess up or fall short.

Peter tells us that “love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).  We’re not saying to turn a blind eye to blatant sin.  We’re simply encouraging you to extend grace to one another.  


Ephesians 4:32 is an important verse to consider. Paul writes, Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Notice the progression of kindness to forgiveness. Kindness cultivates a tender heart and a tender heart forgives. Ruth Bell Graham, wife of evangelist Billy Graham once said, “A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.” How do we become good forgivers? Practice kindness.


5. Look for the Good in One Another


A key to a healthy and thriving marriage is daily determining what you are going to set your mind on.  Throughout his epistles Paul cotinuously encourages us to “set our minds on” certain things.  By doing so, in essence he’s letting us know we get to decide what we’re going to focus on and what we’re going to look for in life.


In the NIV, Proverbs 11:27 states that, “He who seeks good finds goodwill, but evil comes to him who searches for it.”  So, when it comes to love and marriage, you will always find what you’re looking for.  If you’re looking for good in your partner, you will find it.  Conversely, if you’re looking for something bad in your partner you will find that as well.  You’re going to always find what you’re looking for.  So, why not choose to look for the good in one another?


We tell couples all the time, “A broken clock is right twice a day!”  You may struggle right now to find something good in your partner.  But, we promise you, it is there.  Look for it.  The more you look for it, the more you will find it.  The more you find it, the more the kindness between the two of you will increase.


These are the practices of kindness we embrace in our marriage.  They work for us.  They will most likely work for you.  Try them.  See what happens.  You just may find the kindness quotient between the two of you increasing.


Scott & Dawn Smith