How to Add Value to Your Most Significant Relationship

By: Jeff Kemp

My wife, Stacy, was viewing our son's wedding slideshow when I insisted on interrupting her to clarify a bill I was paying. She motioned not now and pressed a wrong key, crashing the slideshow. She complained, and I became defensive, mumbling an "I'm sorry" before heading downstairs.

I sat down and talked to God about this frustrating pattern in our marriage. Why do I act like this, God? I sensed Him saying something like this: Because you care more about your feelings than hers. If you really want these situations to change, don't ask Me to change them. Ask Me to change you.

I went upstairs and got eye to eye with Stacy. "Babe, I'm so sorry. I messed up the slideshow. Then I minimized what I'd done and made it about your response to me. I do that too often. I was wrong, and I hurt you. Will you forgive me? And will you pray for me to change?"

Stacy hugged me. The icy division I'd created melted. The incident was one milestone in my journey to being a relationship investor instead of a consumer.

A consumer drains value from a marriage. He leaves little after taking what he wants. But an investor adds value to the relationship. He gladly sacrifices because he experiences a return on investment. Here are some ways to become a marriage investor:

Humbly serve.

Investors sacrifice their pride for their wife's feelings. They ask their wife questions, such as "What do you need from me?" and "How can I help?" They listen and follow through.

Initiate healing.

Investors seek to validate their wife and her emotions. They say, "Help me understand." They are the first to apologize and first to forgive. They look at the log in their own eye before criticizing their wife's speck (Matthew 7:3). When relationship investors mess up, they offer their wife a full apology: "I'm sorry. I hurt you. I was wrong. Will you forgive me?"

Grow and change.

Many men want an easier marriage with more sex and fewer hassles. They want their wife to change but don't see their own need to change. An investor knows he can change only himself — and that's the first step toward transforming the relationship.

Guys, let's be relationship investors who consistently show our wife that we love her and prioritize her.

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