Two quotes describe truths every married couple desperately needs to remember.

Quote #1 is reality:

“When marriages fail, it is not increasing conflict that is the cause. It is decreasing affection and emotional responsiveness…” —Sue JohnsonHold Me Tight

If I were forced to summarize Sue Johnson’s important insight with one word the word would be the word DRIFT. Married couples too often and so easily drift. We drift in terms of affection, emotional connection, appreciation, encouragement, faith, trust, hope The list goes on.

Drift is way too predictable in relationships — marriages, family, and friends. It requires constant vigilance to keep it from occurring. Unfortunately, it’s also a possibility when it comes to our relationship with God. Incredibly, even in the aftermath of amazing grace and extravagant love, we can become perfunctory and routine . This is why one of the challenges the writer of Hebrews gives believers is, “Don’t drift” (Hebrews 2:1).

Author and pastor Paul Tripp describes the danger of drift in a marriage as follows: 

“Things don’t go bad in a marriage in an instant. The character of a marriage is not formed in one grand moment. Things in a marriage go bad progressively. Things become sweet and beautiful progressively. The development and deepening of the love in a marriage happens by things that are done daily; this is also true with the sad deterioration of a marriage. The problem is that we simply don’t pay attention, and because of this we allow ourselves to think, desire, say, and do things that we shouldn’t.” —Paul Tripp, What Did You Expect? [1]

When I first read Tripp’s statement I highlighted, then underlined, the last sentence, especially these five words, “…we simply don’t pay attention…”

How many relationships and marriages have died because someone stopped paying attention? It happened to us. It can happen to you.

This is the danger and reality of drift. .

Quote #2 provides a remedy:

“Successful long-term relationships are created through small words, small gestures, and small acts.” —Dr. John Gottman, Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love

Don’t miss this. The antidote to drift is INTENTIONALITY. I’ll write it again.

The antidote to drift is intentionality.

It’s intentionally doing the small things day in and day out. As Gottman describes it: small words, small gestures, and small acts. I would add done intentionally and consistently over the long haul.

In the Easy-to-Read translation of the Bible, Jesus challenged us, “Whoever can be trusted with small things can also be trusted with big things” (Luke 16:10 ERV). This relates to several areas of life, including marriage and family.

Do the “small things.” Get the “small things” right. Small things lead to big things. Small things make a big difference!

Don’t miss the LITTLE MOMENTS!

Once again, Paul Tripp challenges us to take a “little-moment” approach to marriage. He writes:

     “The reconciliation of a marriage must be a lifestyle, not just the response you have when things go bad.
“…if you are going to have a marriage that lives in unity, understanding, and love, you must have a little-moment approach to your marriage.
“…the character and quality of our life is forged in little moments. Every day we lay little bricks on the foundation of what our life will be. The bricks of words said, the bricks of actions taken, the bricks of little decisions, the bricks of little thoughts, and the bricks of small-moment desires all work together to form the functional edifice that is your marriage.” —Paul Tripp [2]

Don’t let “small-moment desires” keep you from making “small thing” memories.

Start doing the SMALL THINGS today.
Small things that matter.
Small things that make a positive impact, not those that have a negative pull.

Small things like:

Say a kind word.
Offer a prayer.
Express gratitude.
Communicate encouragement.
Give a hug.
Share a word of prophecy (1 Corinthians 14:3).
Do an act of service.
Send a short text of appreciation.
Write a note or letter.
Take on household chores.
Knock out that “honey-do” list.
Make an unexpected phone call just to say, “Thank you. I love you. You matter.”

You get the idea.

Small things make a big difference, not when you do them erratically, haphazardly, or just to fix the last mess you made. But, when you make them a regular and intentional (never routine) part of your life and relationship. They compound like interest and the payoff is a marriage that has the power to go the distance.

If you want to see your marriage begin to transform, INTENTIONALLY start doing the small things today.

A SMALL THING THAT COULD MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE: Join us for the upcoming Marriage Builders Conference at The Ramp @ OCI sponsored by ISOW Bible College, The Ramp and Marriage BLDR with Chris Goins on Friday, February 2 and Saturday, February 3. Click this link for more info and to register. Marriage Builder will also be offered as an ISOW Course in mid 2024.