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Real Answers™
Copyright: ©2009 Jill Darling
650 words


By: Jill Darling


“What have you done for your marriage today?” The question popped up in a For Your Marriage radio ad and it piqued my interest. It’s uncommon to hear personal tips on marriage in the media.

The answers, which come from people interviewed on the street, were played in the ad:

·      One man said, “I organized a date tonight.”

·      A woman said, “I flirted with my husband like when we first got married.”

·      A husband said that he took care of the baby while his wife worked and she, in turn, got up with the baby at night while he slept. One man said that instead of sitting on the couch, he helped clean up.

·      A woman boasted, “I didn’t yell at him for anything—at all!”

The Catholic church-sponsored radio and TV ads are a simple but powerful reminder for couples to think about their marriages. And it made me think: What have I done for my marriage today?

Let’s see. I greeted my husband with a cheery “Good morning!” and gave him a hug. I got out the door on time so we could drive to work at our respective jobs together. He had previously loaded the car with my lunch and other items so I wouldn’t be late. I kept the conversation upbeat, and we had an enjoyable ride. Whenever my husband travels, I leave tiny folded notes hiding in his clothes throughout the suitcase.

“Don’t forget the small stuff,” the radio spot declares. It’s the small stuff that counts.  The For Your Marriage public service ad campaign is refreshing, uplifting and vital for today’s ailing marriages. The messages end with an invitation to visit for its practical resources for couples of all faiths and in all phases of marriage.

Too often, couples are overworked and overcommitted. The most important part of their lives—their relationship—is neglected. A spouse should be the number-one priority instead of all the other things that deflect one’s focus and consume one’s time. Couples need to remember the value they placed on each other at the beginning and keep that commitment in front of them.

Loving actions begin with thinking: “…Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise,” Paul admonished the Philippians in the Bible.

Treasuring a person’s good qualities fosters an atmosphere of love and appreciation. Jean Jenkins of Binghamton feels that kind of affirmation from her husband.” Dave compliments my cooking and thanks me after every dinner,” said Jenkins. “Not only do I appreciate the praise, but now my teenage son thanks me when a meal is particularly good.”

A caring attitude develops by looking beyond oneself and delving into the other person’s life. Mark Winheld of Endwell makes an effort to be genuinely interested in his wife Mary Lou. “I try to show an interest in gardening, though I don’t know squat about it—beyond knowing that flowers are pretty and the veggies taste good,” he said. “I try to ask her questions about whatever I think is on her mind, and then I listen.”

Starting the day off right was important to Jan BrookeHarte when she was married. The Greene resident used to read a devotional book to her husband while he ate breakfast, then they prayed together. “When he opened his lunch, he’d find a love note,” she said.

John Gottman, professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Washington, spent 20 years studying 2000 couples. In his book Why Marriages Succeed or Fail he writes, "... most couples I've worked with over the years, really wanted just two things from their marriage - love and respect" (p. 18).

Marriage is an investment. Enriching deposits reap rich benefits. Make a change for the better. What have you done for your marriage today? 

"Real Answers™" furnished courtesy of The Amy Foundation Internet Syndicate. To contact the author or The Amy Foundation, write or E-mail to: P. O. Box 16091, Lansing, MI 48901-6091;

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