The Simple Thing I Gave Up to Make My Marriage Better

I still remember one of our first arguments as newlyweds.

“Kyle, the toilet is gross. Once the ring shows up, it means you waited too long to clean it. And I shouldn’t be the only one to do that.”

“Wait, the ring means it’s dirty? I thought that’s just how our toilet was.”

That meant two things: 1. He never noticed when the toilet was clean and 2. He really hadn’t ever cleaned it.

I was a little frustrated that he didn’t notice all the little things I did around the house. I honestly enjoy keeping our little house clean, but I wanted the recognition. I held back the laughter (he didn’t know what a dirty toilet looked like), and it spiraled into all the things I did that he didn’t notice.

Fast forward 2 1/2 years, and just yesterday morning I was smiling about all the little things I’m able to do for Kyle. He’s working and in school full-time, up until 2 AM most nights doing homework, and still tries to help around the house. So as much as I can, I try to take care of all the little things so he doesn’t have to. I desperately wish there was something I could do so he could get more sleep, be less stressed, or do more things he enjoys, but right now there isn’t a whole lot I can do.

Serving your spouse is a win-win

I’ve found that these little things actually make me happy too. He’s been there for me through so much, and he isn’t a very needy guy, so I love it when I find those things that bring a little joy to his day.

So I use lavender fabric softener on his clothes because it’s his favorite smell. I turn on the heating blanket ahead of time because he hates getting into an icey cold bed, but loves crisp, cotton sheets. When I’m at the store, sometimes I’ll grab him Oreos even though reading the ingredients list makes me want to gouge my eyes out. And occasionally I even pick up his beloved Panda Express for dinner. It’s the little things.

But Kyle hugs me and stays patient when I’m having anxiety—even if he doesn’t know what to say. When he’s up late studying, he changes into his pajamas in the living room so he can silently get into bed without waking me up. Then he diligently gets up every single day at 6 AM to start his long day of work and school. He watches Friends with me, pretends to love essential oils as much as I do, and will without a doubt (unless I do it first) always clean up the kitchen and make our lunches before bed.

These little things make me feel incredibly loved, and I see them making him happy too. Even though they could easily go unnoticed.

Blind devotion: a picture of Christlike love

God has designed marriage so that we serve each other in the most amazing way. And when we truly act out that selfless love, it’s incredibly fulfilling. Because when love is self-giving, it does amazing things for not only your spouse’s heart, but for yours too.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” —1 Corinthians 12:4-8

I had been writing down these thoughts, and then I saw this incredible video. Wow, it presents biblical love in such a tangible way:

I LOVE this line from Louie:

“Cecilia will never know how much I do for her, and I don’t ever need her to know. That’s how I still love her, even though she doesn’t want me to.”

When you get married, you’re saying “I want all of you, forever.” And it’s a huge promise, but that’s the beautiful part about it. Because for every “I love you in spite of . . .” there are hundreds of reasons to say “I love you because . . .” And for every little thing you do for your husband, I bet there are tons of little things he does for you if you—if you just look closely.

So love without expecting any recognition, without wanting anything in return. And be sure to notice the little things.

“Because that’s what true love is, right? It’s more than just a feeling—it’s an action.”

 


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Tayler Beede
Tayler Beede is a Christian wife, student, and brain tumor survivor. She writes with her mom (is that awesome or what?) about what happens when romance meets reality at the marriage blog Nitty Gritty Love. You can find more Nitty Gritty Love on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.