my friend Dalene, who is an incredible bloggist, has been married for 8 and a half years and this is a pearl of wisdom she has to share with us in terms of one way to love your marriage partner better:

Dalene and Murray Reyburn

‘My husband stares into other women’s eyes all day. It’s his job. But when he’s done with corneas and optic nerves he comes home and tells me sweet somethings and whispers wonder and holds me relieved and grateful. But like, some of those women are hot. And some of them probably wouldn’t mind staring a little longer.

Our marriage isn’t perfect but it’s freakin’ awesome. And I think this might be the secret:

You just keep on doing the Next Right Thing.

Sometimes the Next Right Thing is tiny, like pass the salt or iron a shirt. Sometimes it’s massive, like change churches or jobs or countries. Sometimes it’s making him the most important person in the room. Sometimes, it’s shut up. Say thanks. Make a covenant with your eyes. Hold his hand just because and like you’re fourteen and it’s the first time. Say yes more. (Because, ladies, sex is governed by your head not your body. You can decide to be in the mood.) Ask forgiveness. If the Next Right Thing isn’t obvious then pray for him, every time you open a drawer or switch on the kettle.

The Next Right Thing is always intentional. It’s always the answer to, ‘How do I love him right now?’

And it’s simple, not simplistic. It’s the hardest thing and the most powerful thing. It’s the thing that’s easy enough to be your default when you’re tired. Ecstatic or distracted. Overwhelmed or afraid.

And if, for example, you find out your baby boy is blind and there are operations and uncertainties and things start short-circuiting inside of you and it’s hard enough to hold yourself together never mind a marriage, then the Next Right Thing comes right down to What happened in your day? D’you want more tea? Next. Right. Thing. Over. And over. Until you’re through it and you can look back and see the wake of the ship plain sailing again in calm seas.

Before we started dating my husband read me Yeats:

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,

Enwrought with golden and silver light,

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths

Of night and light and the half-light,

I would spread the cloths under your feet:

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;

I have spread my dreams under your feet;

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

We’ve only been married 2 979 days, but let’s say we’re each making only five Next Right Thing decisions every day – small, I’ll-feed-the-dog decisions – that’s already 29 790 decisions behind us. Without for a moment pretending we know tomorrow or presuming on every breath God lends, let’s say we’ll be married for 55 years before one of us goes Home. That’s another 17 155 days, and another 171 550 Next Right Thing decisions. I have faith that God is weaving those decisions into heavenly Yeats-type embroidered cloths of legacy and eternal breath-taking beauty weighted with glory. The Next Right Thing to wear and to walk on.’

Check her inspiring blog out here…

@deereyburn on the Tweetster

[to read what Robert Martin has to share on sacrificing self, click here]