It’s the sure repetition of small, beneficial acts in a marriage that creates value for the relationship.
Significance is often discovered in the small things. Fortunately, because taking care of the small stuff in a marriage often requires the least effort while offering the greatest return, it makes sense to do the easy stuff.
Remember the part about “sure repetition”, though. To do a small thing once may be incredibly significant … especially if you’ve never done it before … but the true value accumulates through faithful repetition.
Here’s a simple example. My wife and I hold hands during prayers. Always. At weddings. During church services. Before meals. At building dedications. Before ballgames. At family gatherings. We started doing it before we were married and because it feels good, we’ve continued.
Some may say, “Well, Rick, I don’t want to hold my wife’s hand during prayers. That sounds like a gimmick.” If that’s the case, then maybe it would be for you. I’m merely sharing an example of how the repetition of a simple, beneficial act works for me and my wife.
What I do know is this: if we didn’t both perceive that holding hands during prayers was of great value, the practice would have ended at some time during the last twenty years. The sure repetition of this small, beneficial act has created value for both of us.
So what do I get from the simple act of holding hands during prayers?
It’s all personal. I love holding my wife’s hand because it makes me feel good. I love being connected to her. I love the reminder that we stand together before God as a couple, as parents, as friends. I love the sense of tradition and the notion that “this is our thing, we do this because we enjoy it.” I love being reminded at the beginning of each prayer that this is a way we give attention to each other. (Maybe God smiles.) And here’s an odd one: over the years I’ve enjoyed an occasional peek around a room (sorry God) during prayers and I’ve noticed how few couples hold hands anymore. I enjoy being reminded that she still loves to hold my hand. It makes what we do feel special.
If you’ve not done it in a while, you might surprise your partner by taking her hand during a prayer. To avoid a startle (if it’s been a while), maybe slip your pinky finger around hers. I can’t suggest you’ll immediately get as much from it as we do because we’ve done it for twenty years. It’s part of our marriage DNA. I merely offer it as an example.
Whether you hold hands during prayers or not, I do think every couple can find small, beneficial acts of attention that are easy to do. And I know from my own experience, these acts will accumulate value for for the couple as they do them consistently over the years. When repeated over time, it’s these small, beneficial acts in a marriage that have huge potential to add great value to a marriage.