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Sierra Pines Church

12 Ways to Turn Your Pain into Praise

Sapphires from Psalms

Better Than Jewels

They have worked for my husband and me keeping us each other’s Valentine for 40 years! Try one each day or all of these in the next ten days, and see if you have a Happier Valentine’s days for years to come.

1. Take the first 5 minutes right after you walk through the door to greet each other.  ROMANS 16:16, “Greet each other with a holy kiss.” Let your spouse know that you are glad he’s home, glad she’s alive! Life is so daily, and our stresses erode us, but we can help fill each other back up by our reactions.

2.Express, on a constant basis, what is good about your spouse (& your kids). PROVERBS 3:27, “Do not withhold good from those deserve it, when it is in your power to act.” Make praise an atmosphere in your home. Look for something each day to brag about for each one of your family members, especially your spouse.

3.Spend 15 minutes everyday, just the two of you, talking not about serious stuff if this is new to you. Just visit. Talk eyeball to eyeball, nose to nose, knee to knee, not with one person checking email, cooking dinner, or watching TV.  The more you do it the easier it will become. It may develop into the most favorite part of your day.

4.Ask for behavior adjustments in an appealing way Proverbs 16:24, “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Bruce gets credit for the idea of the “Pauline Sandwich.” If you look at any of Paul’s letters in the New Testament you see the pattern. They start and end with positive regard for those he is addressing, and the body of his letters, he addresses challenging issues. If we follow Paul’s example, we pay a legitimate compliment, then share our issue and end with more affirmations. This is much more “palatable” than pointing a finger of accusation with, “You never, you always or why can’t you…?”

5. Laugh together-a lot! Don’t take yourself too seriously. Life is short. Marriage is fun.  Find the joy in them both.  PROVERBS 17:22, “A cheerful heart is good medicine but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” From HELPGUIDE.ORG we read: Laughter activates the chemistry of the will to live and increases our capacity to fight disease. Laughing relaxes the body and reduces problems associated with high blood pressure, strokes, arthritis, and ulcers. Find things to laugh about and build memories and endorphins together.

6. Listen with your heart.  God gave us two ears and only one mouth because He wants us to listen more than we talk! PROVERBS 18:13,“ He who answers before listening-that is his folly and his shame.”


 Do make direct eye contact. (You have all of my attention.)

 Do focus all your attention on the other person.(It ways, “You’re most important person in the world right now.  More important than the game, the newspaper, or the mac & cheese that I have on the stove.)

Don’t interrupt or finish his/her sentences. (Be the one person who will give those you love the gift of hearing your spouse of letting him/her get it out-of letting him/her finish.)

Don’t give immediate or simplistic advice. (i.e. “You need tell that boss off.”  “What you ought to do is quit if you’re not happy.”  “You just need top pray about it.”)

Do encourage more sharing with leading questions. (What happened then?  How did you feel about that?)

Do match the sharer’s pace, and pitch and tone.  (If they are quiet  & contained and you are loud and rowdy, your behavior will shut them.  Just like a stray cat learning to trust, any sudden moves will scare it off. Sometimes hurting people are like cornered cats.

Do give feed back. (i.e., “That must have been hard.” or “I think you handled that well.” Even nods and sighs say, “I’m with you. I’m taking it all in.”

Do keep an open, warm, accepting, non-judgmental attitude. Repeat that please.

Don’t be afraid of silence.

Don’t be afraid to reach out and pat, hug or hold your loved one. (If you’ve correctly done what is on this list, you have earned the right to “reach out & touch.”  Do it judiciously & cautiously).


7. Don’t get lazy. Invest in the marriage regularly with classes, books,  online articles and finding friends who are making marriage work and hang out with them.

8. Protect your relationship. HEBREWS 3:12, “Beware then of your own hearts, dear brothers, lest you find that they, too, are evil and unbelieving and are leading you away from the living God,”TLB. In his book, His Needs, Her Needs, author Willard Harley presents the concept of the “Love Bank.” When you meet my needs, a big deposit is made in your account in my love bank. When you do something not so nice, a big withdrawal is made. After enough withdrawals, I’m sucking fumes, but with significant deposits I can have a lot more grace for you. The by-line on Harley’s book is Building an Affair Proof Marriage with the premise that when we meet our partner’s needs, we will keep them, happy and they won’t have a need to look somewhere else. This info challenges us to stay current in the need- meeting department. There is truth to his statements. I have found that nobody ever strolls into my office and says, “I’m gonna go have myself an affair. I’m gonna go trollin’ to find it.” Folks come in broken into tiny little bits saying, “I didn’t ask for this. I didn’t know how much need I was in, and there he was, there she was.”Please hear me, this is not a license to sin. It’s an invitation to invest. This is a reality that happens to way too many well-intended Christians. They forget to watch their backs. They fail to invest, and we have the Holy Spirit’s help! An example he uses, one that I have “southrened-up,” is that of Samantha Jane who marries Buford, the strong silent type, a good man and great provider, but not great in the compliment or conversation departments. Then Samantha gets a job working with Billy. He’s friendly and constantly complementary, telling her, “You look nice today. That color looks great on you.” She helps him with a sale, as per her job and he writes her a little thank you note. She helps him again, he invites her to lunch, and before she knows it, she’s in over her head. Then she heads into my office wracked in sobs saying, “I never meant to be an adulterous woman.” Now she is torn and lost. She didn’t know she was running on empty, sucking fumes. Take inventory and seek to meet your partner’s needs.

9. Be thoughtful. If your husband likes chocolate, pick up a $3 chocolate bar when you are at the grocery store.  If your wife appreciates flowers, yank one out of the yard and surprise her. It doesn’t cost a lot to let your partner know that he/she is special!

10. Don’t give up. Keep looking for tools and persist! PHILIPPIANS 4:13, “For I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power,” TLB. I thought of using Paul’s words, “…fight the good fight,” but somehow I thought better of using that in context with marriage!  The Lord can transform us if we let him.

 Happy Valentine's Day!


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