Little Things Are Big Things in Marriage

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Zechariah 4:10 "Do not despise the small beginnings…"

Someone once said that a mountain is merely made of many little rocks.

When we lived in Oregon many years ago, we remember well seeing a small cloud of ash brewing from Mt. St. Helens. Although we were not present during its massive eruption in 1980, we know by pictures, videos and other media forms of what all took place.

Mt., which is short for "mountain," was just that – a volcanic mountain. When this massive explosion took place, it literally disintegrated the entire side of the mountain with enough force of that of a hydrogen bomb and sent ash 12 miles into the sky, reaching Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Its devastation caused over $3 billion worth of damages. But what was probably the most interesting part was the fact that there were enormous amounts of "little" signs that foretold this was about to happen – from animal and wildlife to large amounts of "little" tremors and quakes all around. The "little" things spoke that this was going to happen.

In the same respect, I remember seeing a powerful photo of one, little green sprouting plant victoriously pushing through a deathly grey horizon of ash, emerging as a forceful reminder that, as Dr. Ian Malcolm from “Jurassic Park” once said, "Life will find a way."

It's the "little" things that count

We often meet couples who have been married for quite some time. Our internal questions remain silent as we watch their manners and visible displays of grumpiness and displeasure in one another – not always, but a lot.

I recall during our book signing for our marriage book Marriage for Today: A Practical Guide for Couples at a Walden Bookstore, an elderly couple came by the table inquiring as to what it was all about.

I said to the husband, "Well, we wrote a marriage book to help…" He then quickly interrupted, "Ohhh, we don't need a marriage book. I've been married for over 52 years." He then turned to his wife who very grumpily demanded that he "come along," to which he crossly mumbled back.

It was about quality of years married, not quantity!

According to the recent article written by Aaron Ben-Zeev “Little Things Mean a Lot” in Psychology Today, he writes, "when love is expressed in small but frequent doses, it may indicate a more profound and continuous love and hence have an ongoing, persistent impact."

He continues, “love and happiness can often be destroyed by continuous small but negative gestures, actions, or words. As Ernest Dimnet noted: ‘The happiness of most people we know is not ruined by great catastrophes or fatal errors, but by the repetition of slowly destructive little things.'"

Remember when?

Do you remember when you were dating? It was the little things that shaped and formed your emotions toward the other. The soft smile, the shine in their eyes, and the way you held hands or helped put on their coat. Or even when they walked close by, the scent of their perfume or cologne that caused you to take that deep breath to savor the moment and store it away for future recollection.

There was once a time when opening the door and being overly courteous was a hallmark to displaying love towards your spouse.

Nowadays, with busyness and an ultimate battle for attention and distractions, it is unfortunately a normal condition to disavow these small gestures of love and romance, sacrificing them for an intense focus on the "business-at-hand."

We've made it a "tradition" in our marriage to always give kisses when walking out the front door together. This is in addition to hugs and kisses before one leaves anytime.

The enormous pressures and global impact on our economy, our faith and freedom we are facing today seem to trump those "small beginnings" we once had for our spouse. But we cannot overstress the importance of how "big" and important the little things really are!

The amazing Los Angeles Lakers coach Pat Riley, who victoriously coached the Lakers from 1982 to 1990, once said, "Effort is what ultimately separates journeyman players from impact players. Knowing how well a player executes all these little things is the key to unlocking career-best performances."
He understood the power of "little things" and not only saw that, but built his team's victory off of it.

A small list of small things

Here are but a few of the little things you can love your spouse with:

1. Take showers together
2. Give massages (preferably candle lit with aromatic scented oil)
3. Cook for the other
4. Hold hands
5. Kiss under an umbrella in the rain
6. Sit and talk with each other
7. Play games (Interactive)
8. Leave notes for her/him
9. Give each other Hershey's kisses or the tiny Recess Peanut Butter Cups
10. Text message at least 2 or 3 times per day, "I love you"
11. Do not leave without hugs and kisses
12. Take a bath together (Preferably a bubble or scented bath bombs)
13. Brush each other's hair
14. At least 3 times per day tell them in some way that you love them
15. Sing to your spouse
16. Have a romantic dinner (Yes, with no children. Babysitter or after they are asleep either at home or out at a restaurant, and do NOT talk about bills, politics or the kids)
17. Surprise your spouse with a night out
18. Propose to your spouse, in public!

Mike and Trisha Fox are Christian marriage coaches and authors of Marriage For Today: A Practical Guide for Couples. To find out more visit: