Niceties matter in marriage beyond what most couples think. It is a form of etiquette we could all learn from, and one that could make or break a marriage.
I remember seeing a couple in a grocery store once, who fought and argued loudly the whole time they were in there, not only disturbing others around them by what they said to each other, but also observing the bad vibes and behaviors they demonstrated towards each other were very destructive and unnerving as well.
Many times couples don't see eye-to-eye on things, but there are ways to handle situations in a more civil and constructive way, by being courteous one to another in our words and actions.
Could you do it? Is this really possible to do when your marriage seems to be on the breaking point, with destructive and chaos lurking about, and you don't know which way to turn, or how to act?
Hey, I know a little something about this subject as well. I've been there and back to tell the story. But it's not always easy. However, with the Lord's help, anything is possible. He is the Master of all possibilities and will help you when you feel there is no other recourse of you and your spouse coming together with consideration and love.
Just how hard would it be to act in a courteous, loving way towards your spouse? Sometimes it truly seems impossible and very difficult to do when hurtful, painful, and destructive things have been said towards each other, or wrong deeds have been done.
You may find it hard to trust your spouse, and therefore, not want to be nice or kind towards him/her. Maybe you feel like he/she doesn't deserve your kindness or tender loving mercies.
Just think of all the times you have hurt Christ and have sinned against Him in various ways, and yet, He still loves you. He paid for your sin with His blood, and He forgave you of Your sins. So, how could you not forgive your spouse when Jesus has always been so kind and merciful towards you in forgiving you of what you may have done towards Him? I love the verse from 1 John 4:19, which says that, "We love Him because He first loved us." This verse always keeps me humble when I begin thinking that someone else doesn't deserve my love or kindness.
I have found this to be true within my own marriage years ago, but through the loving intervention of family, pastors and church members, much prayer and forgiveness, the relationship with my spouse became easier and more bearable whenever I apply certain niceties within my marriage, work, and family relationships.
Also, through the lives of others (including my family members), I observed how that by just being nice towards one's spouse everyday can truly help to show him/her that you value your marriage and are open to his/her ideas, suggestions, etc.; then this pattern of niceness becomes a habit, which creates a closer relationship between the two of you.
Perhaps you both have decided to retain your marriage for the sake of your kids, especially if they are still quite young yet. Or, you both have been married for so long that it would upset everyone else's apple cart if you were to separate or divorce. You may no longer feel love or compassion towards each other due to various reasons, circumstances, or situations that have happened in the past.
Regardless of the reasons you may have for not wanting to stay in the marriage, or for being a sourpuss toward your spouse, at least attempt to change your own words, actions, and behaviors by being more courteous towards him/her. Simply, apply niceties to your marriage, and see where it leads!
If you are married, you can understand and appreciate the many difficulties and challenges that can occur each day with the many tasks and responsibilities of married life; with the kids, maintaining the house, going out to work everyday, paying the bills, making sure you are in attendance at church every Sunday; just the ins and outs of everyday life can be pressing!
Along the way however, it is so important to let your husband/wife know how much you care, love, and appreciate the things he/she does for you and for the family on an ongoing basis. You don't want to reach the point of feeling insignificant to your spouse, or hoard feelings of resentment and bitterness, or feeling that he/she is just taking you for granted within your relationship.
Yes, indeed, our lives can get quite busy as our current lifestyles seem to dictate that pattern of life to us these days. However, it is more needful to stop to smell the roses, give your spouse a few encouraging words that will lift his/her spirits which will surely increase the heartfelt love and affection you have for each other.
Think of those things, events, or character traits which attracted you to each other in the first place, and explore and expand upon those things. Who knows? You both may discover even more wonderful and exciting things about each other, thereby giving out various niceties each and every day!
Niceties are powerful in subtle ways because they can be woven into the fabric of the everyday flow of married life. For example: Looking into your spouse's eyes and/or being attentive or responding positively to what he/she is talking about or asking you makes your spouse feel special in that what he/she is saying carries meaning.
Another way of being nice is by speaking kind, encouraging, positive, and uplifting words to your spouse. Manners also matter here. Say "please, thank you, you're welcome, or you're special to me" and other mannerly words and phrases give grace and sweetness to your speech.
My husband knew he could melt my heart with such kind and graceful words. I was more apt to listen and speak kindly back to him as a result.
Married couples are more likely to do things for each other and for the family and respond back in nicer ways when kind words, suggestions, or requests have been offered, instead of destructive, critical speech.
For instance, instead of being demanding and saying, "Don, take out the garbage! It stinks in here!" In its place, you may ask him more kindly by saying, "Don, would you please take out the garbage for me? I'd like to keep the house smelling nice for you and the kids." Something like that! But be sincere in all you say, and praise and thank him afterwards. When you talk like that throughout the day, even towards your kids, everyone else will go with the program and be nicer to others within the family as well. This really does work because I've applied this to everyone in my family, to co-workers, church members; just everyone. Niceties are just more pleasant, most definitely!
You may not associate niceties with biblical terminology or theology, but indeed there are spiritual principles and values in God's Word that apply to how we are to regard others with our words, actions, behaviors, and character.
God gives the Christian believer clear instructions on how the family must behave towards one another. As a matter of fact, much of the 10 Commandments have to do with how we treat others, from what is wrong to what is right in God's eyes.
Let's take look here at God's perspective from His Word on the niceties of life and in living a life that is righteous and pleasing to Him:
In conclusion, niceties are a vital force and important factor to keeping the good flow and positive vibes within your marriage. Allowing God to come in and direct every facet of your relationship together is key to guarding and maintaining a good marriage.
If you are finding it hard to keep the peace and to put the fire out of strife and distention within your marriage just on your own efforts, ask the Lord to come in, to have mercy and forgive all; cleaning out all that is bad, evil, and negative in your household, giving Him your continued trust, worship, praise, and honor. He will make a change in your life and in the life of your spouse.
Eventually, you will see how applying niceties to your marriage will change your relationship to your spouse, as well as towards those around you. It does work, if you give it time. You will see that being nice really does matter.
May the Lord richly bless your marriage as you honor Him in it.