A few months ago, I was sorting a jar of coins to roll them and take them to the bank. As I was going thru the pennies, I came across something I’d never seen before—a blank penny. There wasn’t an image on the front or back. I set the blank aside to show Lisa and the kids.
They thought the blank penny was as neat as I did, and Lisa looked it up and found that occasionally coins can slip thru the engraving process without being struck by the die that makes the image on the coin. These mistakes are supposed to be caught and removed from circulation, but on rare occasions the blank is released into public distribution. While not worth a million dollars, Lisa found that blanks will usually sell for about a dollar. “Not bad,” I thought. “That’s still 100 times what it would be worth otherwise.”
Regrettably, I haven’t sold the penny yet. Actually, I can’t even find it. You see, after showing it to my family, I put the special penny back into the coin jar, fully meaning to set it aside later. But instead, I just keep piling regular coins all around it. Eventually, the jar was full and I rolled the coins again. My best guess is that I accidentally let the one dollar penny slip into a roll of regular pennies, and have long since taken it to the bank and cashed it in. It hurts to think that thru my neglect I traded a dollar for a penny.
How many times do we do that in our marriages? How often do we allow what could be special, meaningful moments to become obscured by neglect? It’s not that there isn’t an intrinsic and meaningful value to the ordinary moments as well, but how many times have you settled for “less than” rather than experiencing the full value in your covenant marriage relationship?
So how do you keep from trading dollars for pennies and find the full value in your marriage? Here are a few things to be mindful of to help experience the full value of your relationship.
- Shared faith and prayer. Whether on a mountain top or in a dark valley, keeping God at the center of your marriage relationship allows you to experience a fullness of life that is impossible without Him. John 10:10 reminds us that “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Don’t trade dollars for pennies in your spiritual life as a couple.
- Gratitude. Your perception will become your reality. This is an inescapable truth in any relationship. By focusing on the things that your mate does for which you are grateful, you help positively shape the reality of your relationship together.
- Compliments. Who doesn’t like to hear nice things about themselves—appearance, accomplishments, work, even chores. What happens when you build up your mate? You communicate your love and commitment and give your spouse confidence, and you also continually remind yourself of the qualities that keep your love for your spouse strong.
- Laughter. There are certainly times to be serious, but we all need some levity in our lives. I don’t think I know anybody who doesn’t like to laugh. When a couple laughs with each other (and please note I’m saying with each other, not at each other), inhibitions go down and the couple has a wonderful place to make powerful and intimate connections. The more you share laughter together, the more you grow joy in your relationship on an ongoing basis.
Not trading dollars for pennies in your marriage takes intentionality and consistency, but the pay-off is way beyond any cost in time or effort. What other ways do you and your spouse make sure to be intentional about getting the most out of your relationship? Please share in the comments below.