The following is an overview of a conversation between Roy Baldwin and Pastor Willie Batson, founder and lead coach of W.C.Batson Coaching Services, as part of a series on Marriage. In this episode, the two discuss what it means to be nice to your spouse, and why it is so essentially, especially during the Covid pandemic.
“So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessings at the appropriate time.”Galatians 6:9
Throughout the years of Covid lockdowns, people are finding that they are spending a lot more time with people that they don’t usually spend 24/7. Families are stuck at home, with parents needing to find space to work while their children are always around.
Some spouses are even afraid that, through all the time they are spending with each other, that their significant other is getting tired of them.
Extended time with those close to you may reveal things you didn’t want revealed, such as the fact that you might not necessarily be as nice to them as you probably should be.
It is important to approach this issue by applying Galatians 6:9 to our lives: “Don’t get tired of doing the good things in your marriage that will be a blessing to you.”
In a time of upheaval, it’s important that we don’t get tired of doing what is good, as there will be a harvest of blessings at the appropriate time. Because of this, we should strive to be nice to one another.
There need’s to be a balance between positive/negative in order to maintain a healthy relationship, as noted by marital researcher John Gottman. “To offset one negative word or deed, you need five positive words or deeds.” Knowing this and keeping this in mind is key to establishing a safe space between you and your spouse.
The 7 Ways to be Nice to your Spouse
- How do you greet each other after being apart?
You might think this isn’t applicable, considering you seem to always see your significant other during this Covid season. However, this doesn’t just apply to long periods of time being apart: this could be when coming together from being in different rooms, or small periods of time being apart. Research shows that the first four minutes of a conversation can define the interaction between two people for the rest of the day. It is important that you are intentional about how you greet your spouse.
2. Kiss your spouse goodnight or when you leave
Research sadly shows that 8 out of 10 couples no longer kiss each other before going to sleep. Shows of affection, even during times of anger or tension, is a way of being nice to your spouse. As Willie asked during the discussion, if you or your spouse were to pass away, what would you want your last memory with that person to be? It is good to show them you love and care for them, even during times when you might feel like brushing them off.
3. Say Thank You to your spouse as often as possible
You should strive to take note of what your spouse is doing and thank them for what they do. It is important, however, to NOT compare or make it a competition. If you must make a list, track all the good things your spouse is doing and thank them for it. Thanking your spouse and letting them feel appreciated for what they do is key to sustaining a healthy marriage.
Don’t wait to start when your spouse starts: take the initiative!
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.1 Corinthians 13:4-5
4. Watch your words and the tone you say them in
Choosing your words and being meaningful with them is key to good communication within a marriage. Words themselves can give off different impressions, such as the difference between “You SHOULD clean the room” versus “Could you clean the room”.
While words are powerful, the tone in which they are spoken also hold great impact in a conversation, as nice words can be interpreted by your significant other differently than you maybe intended.
Instead of a tone of compassion, we can have a tone of cold-heartedness.
Instead of a tone of kindness, we can have a tone of hard-heartedness.
Instead of a tone of humility, we can have a tone of arrogance.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.Ephesians 4:29
5. Find ways to serve your spouse
One of the biggest enemies to being nice is selfishness. Having a selfish spirit, looking out for yourself over your spouse and family, is very toxic to any relationship. Part of working past the temptation to act on selfish desires is to work on being more of a servant leader, and developing a heart for service to others.
Gary Chapmen, author of The Five Love Languages, found that he and his wife were not getting along, an issue that both sides wanted to fix. Something that Gary did to help rectify this was asking his wife three questions at least twice a day:
1. How can I help you?
2. How can I make your life easier?
3. How can I be a better spouse?
A something to keep in mind with these questions is to understand where the heart of the giver/receiver is at. If you are being asked these questions, you shouldn’t give your spouse a laundry list! One or two small, immediate tasks, followed by a show of appreciation. To the one asking, it could be being mentally and emotionally prepared (especially when it comes to asking the third question).
6. Look for ways to say “Yes” more often
Most of the small regrets you will have someday are refusing to step out and say “yes” to do things. This goes back to the “If I or my spouse died tonight…” question: would a decision someday come to haunt you because you thought you had more time and didn’t simply answer “yes”?
7. Learn how to let things go
This goes back to point 2: being nice to your spouse means loving them, and not holding a grudge over something that happens.
In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angryEphesians 4:26
Its the small, nice moments that fill a marriage. And in these times of anxiety, uncertainty… and too much time together, we want to encourage you to be nice to each other. Even if it feels contrived, don’t stop striving to work on and improve your marriage.