Recently, I have been making some choices to better my health. Further down in the post, I will share how I am doing that, but first I just want to talk about this idea of small choices accumulating toward big change.
How does this apply to marriage? Can you enrich your marriage, including your sexual intimacy, one small choice at a time?
I imagine many of you are saying “yes,” because “yes” clearly seems like the right answer and such a concept makes sense. Interestingly, though, many people don’t do it, even if they know it to be true. Why? I think it is because we are creatures of habit, and when we go to change habits, even in small ways, we want radical results quickly.
We are a restless impatient people. That’s probably always been the case, but increasingly the instantaneous results we get from technology have only heightened this sense that all of life should look that way.
In mere seconds, I can find out oodles of information with what is essentially a computer in my hand. I also can get an Uber driver to pull up in front of my house in mere minutes from the moment I click a button on that little computer. I can send an email or text across the country or world almost magically, right? Oh, and I can cook a whole meal in my pressure cooker in 20 minutes or warm up my leftovers in my microwave in 90 seconds. I no longer have to go into a gas station to pay for my gas. I just do it right there at the pump.
Instant results are so engrained into every aspect of our life that when we encounter something that doesn’t give us that kind of quick success and gratification, we can become grumbly, anxious or indifferent—maybe even to the point of giving up on whatever it is we are trying to accomplish.
But therein is the crossroads. If we know it to be true that small choices can accumulate toward big change, then what if we stop and actually commit to that process? What if we tell ourselves from the onset, “This isn’t going to change everything quickly. This is going to change things slowly, but ultimately in a way that will have lasting impact.”
So you don’t go into with the expectation of instant results.
Then instead of making lots of little choices, you make one little choice. One little daily choice that you commit to doing for a month. Here are some examples:
Giving your spouse a hug.
Telling your spouse you love them.
Bringing your spouse their coffee in the morning.
Cleaning up together after dinner.
Warming up your spouse’s car if it is winter.
Calling your spouse during the day to say hello and that you are thinking of them.
Giving your spouse a passionate kiss.
I’m sure you could think of other small choices that would be more specific to your marriage, but you get the idea. Key, though, is to pick ONE. And do it daily for a month.
I know the tendency is to think that because they are small choices, you should do two or three. But you may set yourself up to bail if you do that, because you’ll fuel that desire for instantaneous results (“If I just do more, I’ll get there faster!!”). But your goal is long-term sustainable enrichment of your marriage. Master one small choice first.
It’s good to remember, too, that perfection is not realistic. So if you miss a day, instead of beating yourself up and throwing out the whole process, accept that you missed a day and move on toward starting again the next day. Remind yourself that your goal is long-term change. If one small choice daily for a month takes you two months to master, that’s fine!
“But Julie, what if my spouse doesn’t seem to appreciate what I’m doing?”
Sure, that’s a possibility. But remember, you are committing to the long game. There is something to be said for embracing that we can only control our own actions and behavior; we possibly can influence other people, but we cannot make them do what we want them to do. In other words, you do you.
Make the small choice because it is the right thing to do and because it is better equipping you. The outcome could likely be a positive shift and growth in your marriage. That often does happen as small choices accumulate toward more grace, love and oneness. But at the minimum, you are improving yourself along the way, and that’s worth celebrating as well.
So take a moment and think about one small choice you are going to make to enrich your marriage.
Commit to doing it daily. Set reminders in your phone or ask a safe confidante to nudge you each day until the choice becomes healthy habit. Once you master one small choice, add another small choice. Stay humble. And play the long game. Remember, this is an area where you aren’t expecting instantaneous results. Save that thinking for the pressure cooker and your Uber request.
As for how I have been improving my health, I started using the app Noom.
It is all about incrementally building better habits, particularly with how and what you eat. It includes daily short articles to read, as well as daily tracking. It is a super easy platform to navigate on your phone. I love that it is all about small choices accumulating toward sustainable change. I love that it is not about being perfect.
Seriously, it’s the first thing that I have tried that I feel is actually working. I have been using it for three weeks and have lost 8 pounds.
More importantly, though, I am seeing how small choices add up to healthy habits. It is easier to make a healthy food choice today than it was on the day I started. I am building habits not in an instantaneous way, but by making small choices over and over again. I am playing the long game.
If you want to find out more, below is the link. It is an affiliate link, which just means that if you end up investing in yourself with the app, I get a small compensation for that. BUT also—you get a discount for using that link. So it’s a win-win!! Noom has helped me make healthy changes in my life, and I am confident that I won’t have to use the app forever. In other words, I think once my six month commitment to it is over, I will have already built the healthy habits to sustain the lifestyle going forward without the app.
So if you want some of that lifestyle change too, Noom could likely help you do that. Go to the link to find out more.
And certainly, as far as your marriage is concerned, start today to make one small choice to enrich your relationship. You may be amazed at where it takes your marriage!
Copyright 2020, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.