Mark: Jill and I have begun the behind-the-scenes work for our new No More Perfect Date Night site.  This new resource–coming in late April–will allow you invest in your marriage without hiring a sitter or leaving your house! More info to come!)  One of the things we’re doing is interviewing couples, authors, specialists in marriage to provide insight, knowledge, and honest discussion about the real stuff of marriage.

Jill: This past Saturday, we had the privilege of talking with Jeff and Shaunti Feldhahn about the power of kindness in marriage. The conversation was so good!  It was challenging to both Mark and I in so many ways!

Mark: Jeff shared a story about a time when he was angry with Shaunti. He was feeding his anger with negative thoughts about her that he happened to be journaling . Then he stopped himself, re-reading his words and experiencing a sense of conviction. Even in the midst of his frustration, he began to think about all the good things Shaunti brings to his life, how well she takes care of their family, and all the good qualities she has.

Jill: He began to “push his thoughts” in the right direction. In time, he actually changed his feelings about Shaunti. That experience planted the seeds for years of research on the power of kindness which resulted in Shaunti’s new book The Kindness Challenge: Thirty Days to Change Any Relationship.

Mark: Jeff and Shaunti challenge us to pick one person that drives you crazy (one of your kids, your mother-in-law, a neighbor, or your spouse!) and for thirty days do these three things:

  • Say nothing negative about your person, either to them or to someone else.
  • Every day, find one positive thing that you can sincerely raise or affirm about your person and tell them, and tell someone else.
  • Every day, do a small act of kindness or generosity for your person.

Jill: A challenge like this helps us live out Philippians 4:8,  “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

When we fuel our negative thoughts about our spouse, we sabotage how we feel about him or her. When we intentionally focus on the positive and extend intentional acts of kindness, we actually increase our satisfaction in the relationship!  There are some powerful principles there for marriage!

Mark: This is exactly what happened to me when I recommitted to our marriage. I stopped fueling the negative thoughts and started focusing on Jill’s positive qualities. In time I even had trouble remembering what my issues with her even were!

Jill: So today we encourage you to feed the positive and starve the negative when it comes to your marriage. And if you’re looking for some extra encouragement along the way, register for one of the 2017 Hearts at Home conferences where Shaunti will be keynoting about the power of kindness, or pick up a copy of her book. Small++++++++, but powerful, kindness can be a gamechanger in your marriage.

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