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The Path of Kindness in Marriage

The Spice Rack

Remember that every act of kindness is meaningful, no matter how small it may be. Complimenting your spouse's outfit or even just giving him or her a smile is an act of kindness.

When you are able to rise above your inner, knee-jerk reaction to always be “right” (which is a form of selfishness), you allow yourself to be more fulfilled as a human being. Kindness isn't just about buying flowers or a new tie for your spouse; it's about learning to listen, getting in tune with what the other person is saying and why, and expressing our thoughts and feelings kindly. When you use kindness as a means to resolve issues and gain a greater understanding of each other—instead of trying to always be right—you learn to appreciate and cherish your spouse.

Sometimes it's hard to be kind. Maybe your husband yells at you sharply, and a few minutes later realizes he is late to a client appointment. He asks you to help him carry things to his car. Or maybe your wife talked on the phone all through dinner, and afterward, comes in while you're watching a show. She says she needs to speak with you. It would be easier to bear a grudge and say “no,” and you would be perfectly justified, wouldn't you? Maybe. But perhaps this is an opportunity to be kind, to rise above your petty grievance.

You can express kindness in your actions as well as your emotions. Being sensitive to someone's feelings or having compassion for another human being is one of the greatest acts of kindness. Following are five great ways to get you started on the road to kindness.

Five Steps to Practice Kindness

  1. Smile at your spouse often (even if you don't feel like it).

  2. Compliment your spouse at least once a day.

  3. Do one nice thing for your spouse every day.

  4. Keep a daily kindness journal.

  5. Read several of your kindness journal entries to each other every month.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Perfect Marriage © 2001 by Hilary Rich and Helaina Laks Kravitz, M.D. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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