Two Words That Will Make Your Marriage Thrive

There are many things that can make a marriage thrive: enjoying similar activities, having a similar sense of humor, agreeing on priorities, finding common friends, enjoying worship together, serving similar causes, etc. These are all the light and wonderful “positive” things that truly can make any marriage relationship sing. This post would stop here if it were really that easy. But….it’s not.

There is a whole other side of a marriage relationship, the not so positive side, that can make your marriage sink as fast as the Titanic. The culprit? Selfishness. Defensiveness. Anger. Annoyance. Pride. Insecurity. Unmet expectations. These are the things no one can anticipate in marriage, but as imperfect human beings they inevitably creep up and weasel their way into any marriage, no matter how good or great it is. So, what are the two words that will make your marriage thrive – in light of not just the good – but the bad and the ugly?

“I’m sorry.”

These two words have this odd paradoxical element to them. They are the most simple and yet the most difficult to eek out sometimes.

“I’m sorry.”

When was the last time you sincerely said those two little words to the person you love? Not the “I’m sorry…BUT…” combo that let’s you get in your explanation on the back-end of it (which is my classic go-to tendency). But the simple, pure, swallow your pride two word version, “I’m sorry.” Full stop. Be warned: this is NOT the easy way. Or the comfortable way. Or the “agree to disagree” kind of meet in the middle way. It is the truly difficult, gut wrenching, heart humbling, teeth gritting, pride swallowing, self interest killing way. BUT. Thankfully there is a “but” here that is both appropriate and rewarding. These two words,

“I’m sorry.”

When used in generous amounts, in the most heated moments, against your own strong will….WORK. They somehow have the power to:

  • Knock down walls of pride.
  • Melt the ice of resentment.
  • Lift the weight of tension.
  • Smooth the rough edges of cruelty.
  • Burst through the barriers of self-preservation.
  • And pave the way for fresh encounters with your spouse or loved one once again.

It really is the most mysterious phenomenon. But. It. Works.

I can’t tell you how many times in my young marriage these words have saved us from spiraling into days of funk and fury. And I can’t tell you how many times I WISH I would have just had the courage, the humility, the wisdom to eek out these two tiny words much sooner than I did. We’re all learning. We’re all growing. We’re all on our own journey to wholeness and holiness. But by golly these two little words can make your marriage thrive in ways you’d never expect.

One verse I return to over and over again that challenges me to the core and motivates me in using these two words more often, especially when it comes to my marriage, is Philippines 2:3 (NASB):

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves…”

I am convinced that when we allow this verse to seep into the depths of our hearts, minds and souls, saying the two little words, “I’m sorry” become a regular and ever-present part of our vocabulary. It’s not about being a perfect person, or a perfect spouse who never messes up. Our relationships WILL be messy. That’s a given. But I think it is the ability to admit when we’ve messed up that is the difference between a marriage that sings and a marriage that sinks.

Which will you choose?

What other tips do you have for making a marriage or any relationship thrive? Leave a comment and share your thoughts!



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