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Be Nice! - The Battle Cry of the Beleaguered Spouse

I think I had mentioned that Hubbs and I are in the process of renewal in our marriage. We are celebrating a decade of matrimony this summer. A decade!! And while we did receive feedback just a few years ago that we still looked like honeymooners (really?), the reality is that the journey was not, and is not, easy all the time. Sometimes it is hard and miserable, full of sin and selfishness and resentment and hurt. Sometimes one of us would rather sleep on the roof (Prov. 21:9).

One of my faves, from the wedding reception

Our first trip to Maui, a few years before Little L

But God, in His faithfulness, has held us together through those ugly moments. And might I add that when you have a baby who hates to sleep, those moments are more frequent than anyone cares to admit. The stress of caring for new life, coupled with days and weeks of accumulated sleep deprivation, really brings out the worst in us.

One of the first famjam pics we have together.

Three years later, we have finally found some breathing space in our parenting, and the neglected and back-burner parts of our lives can be tended to once again. Our relationship is one such area.

As Hubbs and I reflected on what we could mutually work on to improve "us" this year, we came to the conclusion that we both needed to be nicer. Specifically, we noted that I have a tendency to take out my frustrations with life on Hubbs, making him the target of my unkindness while simultaneously taking his kindness towards me for granted. He, however, prefers to take out his frustrations on other people, making them the target of his wrath even when they are completely undeserving of it. While we both have struggles with being nice and loving others, we manifest it in very opposite ways, creating little cracks in our marriage foundation and negatively impacting how we perceive one another.

We have resolved to do better, and one way that we can is by being nice: to others, and to each other. We are both highly committed to this goal, making "Be nice!" our daily, hourly, moment-by-moment intention and mantra. We check in with one another and offer gentle feedback when the other is showing signs of unkindness, and we take a few deep breaths and try again. Grace extended, grace received; isn't that what marriage is all about?

Goofs. We took this oh-so-flattering shot a few months ago.
Anyway, we have been working on this for a little while now, and it has really made a difference! We are connecting more, and falling in love with each other all over again. Granted, the realist in me recognizes that there are probably several other areas in our relationship that need a makeover, and being nice likely won't address all of them. It is, however, a start, and a good way to reconnect and reinforce the foundations of our relationship before we try to address other things.

What do you and your significant other do to restore and reinforce your relationship?


Goat Gal said…
I can so relate to this... I'm trying to be kinder... Meanness sneaks up on me from time to time though... Ugh... Sleep us a big factor in my mood and niceness level.
Jono said…
A very nice little post. Thanks for sharing!

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