Dating in Virginia Beach, 1998

Sixteen years ago, James and I got married…friends turned sweethearts in graduate school at Regent University in Virginia Beach.

Here’s the Outback Steakhouse where James pulled a yellow rose and a red rose out of his jacket and said, “I want like to start dating…”

Man, am I glad he had that red rose because I certainly wanted to be more than friends too!

Now we’re celebrating “Sweet Sixteen” and I’m so grateful.  There are many ways to keep your marriage sweet whether you’ve been married 2 years or 22 years.  Here’s a secret I love from Shaunti Feldhahn’s book, The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy MarriagesKeep score.

But she’s not talking about keeping score of all the wrongs.  She’s talking about keeping score of the rights.

These spouses are very aware of what their mates are doing and giving, of how hard their spouses are working to support the family, or how much they try to be good partners…And the impact of keeping score of the good is hard to overstate.  Yes! couples trade a sense of entitlement (My spouse owes me!) for a sense of indebtedness that makes them not just willing but eager to do whatever they can to give back and serve the other.

So if you want to infuse more sweetness into your marriage, train your brain to notice the good things your spouse does.  Make a list in a journal or on your phone if you’d like.  When you do something nice for your spouse, think “It’s the least I can do.  I’m happy to do this” instead of “Why am I the only one around here that does such-and-such?”  Put the spotlight on the good your spouse does instead of the good that you do.

When you notice the other person instead of noticing yourself all the time (my needs, my wants, my desires), things work a lot better.

A lot sweeter.

Arlene Pellicane

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