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For Your Marriage

Dennis and Mary Jo Weiss have been married for more than 30 years. They write about a shared love of nature, prayer, and their children and grandchildren from their home in Hamburg, New York.

Three Little Words

“Like golden apples in silver settings are words spoken at the proper time.”
(Proverbs 25:11)

Words have a power to help us connect at a deeper level as married couples.

There are a few simple phrases, ones that if honestly spoken and acted upon will help to move your marriage a step further, from simply loving the other, to nurturing the soul of the one you love. And since I am the wife in our marriage of 35 years, I speak from the perspective of a woman. I’ll leave it to Dennis to write about a man’s perspective in a future blog.

So heads up to the men out there! These phrases do wonders for a woman to hear from the man who is her life’s partner:

  1. “How are you?”

No, I don’t mean the “how ya doin?” that we use so informally to begin conversations with acquaintances. I mean for Dennis to sit near to me, take me by the shoulders, look deeply into my eyes and to say, “Really…How are you?”

The pressures of raising a family in this chaotic world can sometimes keep meaningful conversations to a minimum, as you begin to depend on the other to “do their part” to keep the household running. As a wife and mother, it has been easy at times for me to throw myself into taking care of my children and fulfilling the responsibilities of my job outside the home. And if there are additional life issues that you are both dealing with, there can be a tendency to simply become absorbed in day to day functions in order to cope.

But there is something within me, as a woman, that wants to be known to Dennis – that needs to be known. All the time spent on responsibilities can leave me feeling frazzled and alone. At those times, our marriage is only surviving, and not really thriving.

The wise husband will see this and understand the “relational” aspect of his wife’s soul and speak these three simple words to her, assuring her of his steady concern for how she is really doing.

  1. “You look beautiful.”

During the dating relationship, I spent a lot of time trying to look nice for Dennis. Even though we were poor college students, we would celebrate one another’s birthday with a special meal at a nice restaurant. I am sure at those times Dennis told me that I looked beautiful, but it does not hold as special a place as another memory.

Nine months pregnant with our first daughter, I was having trouble sleeping comfortably, only able to turn from one side or another in order to get comfortable. We visited my mother in Rochester to celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary, and slept on the rock-hard sofa-bed in her spare room. The next day, my mother took a picture of us that I will always treasure, because at that moment…just weeks before our first little girl was born, I felt more beautiful than I have ever felt.

Oh, it wasn’t a magazine picture to be sure! To me, I look like I have not slept well (I hadn’t), am wearing BIG glasses (it’s 1985 for heaven’s sake!), and have a big round tummy under my maternity sweater.

But next to me is my wonderful husband. He has his arms around me, and the look on his face is so proud that whether he said the words or not, I knew that I was beautiful to him right at that moment.

“Beautiful” is a package deal. The heart of a woman wants to know…am I beautiful to you? Don’t wait another moment…tell her.

  1. “This will pass.”

Life can take a lot of twists and turns. The longer you live, the more likely there will come some form of suffering. Deaths of parents or loved ones, estranged friendships or relatives, illness, choices of adult children…these difficulties can threaten to steal the joy that is meant to be ours in our marriage and Christian life. How we deal with suffering can make or break a holy marriage.

To hear “this will pass” reminds me that although life can be unpredictable, our faith and our love for each other will see us through any crisis. It does not take away or diminish the pain, perhaps, but it reminds me that I journey with one I love, and to lift my eyes to the future.

These are just a few examples of three simple words that can make a big impact. It is not meant to be an exhaustive list, for there are other three word phrases that I love to hear. Some of my favorites include, “Let’s eat out” and “Yes, my Queen.” Oh, and probably the best one – “Love you forever!”