|Summary: Whether you like it or not, the power of compounding is at work in your marriage in the positive aspects together with those you wish to keep hidden.|
|Take home message: Small instances of love every day compound into the reward of a great and thriving marriage. Learn your spouse’s language of love and speak it daily to grow a strong marriage.|
|Key beneficiaries: Married couples: newly married, soon to be married, those looking for insight and single people wanting to prepare themselves for marriage|
|Time to read: 10-15 minutes|
Who wants to be a millionaire? (Wait for the cheers of YES!!)
Well, according to the law of compound interest, small contributions over a long period of time with interest, can grow into a substantial sum.
Modest contribution of $60 weekly over 40 years at an interest rate of 9%(average share market return over at least 20 years) can yield just over one million dollars!
(Compound interest calculator – www.moneysmart.gov.au)
Most of us access the power of compounding through our retirement or superannuation accounts. We diligently contribute to our fund, with the hope of retiring from fulltime work to enjoy the later years of our life, financially secure and able to do what we’d like!
But what if I told you that this same powerful principle is at work within your marriage?
The currency of marriage is love and respect and seemingly small and positive contributions are compounding daily to the foundation and vitality of our marriages.
These are usually small acts of intimacy ranging from a soothing back rub at the end of the day to a regular cup of tea made ready for the morning. For parents of young children it could be the regular help during the evening routine or regularly relieving your spouse so he or she can have some time to themselves!
Two weeks ago my wife and I celebrated 12 years of marriage and like most couples we used our anniversary to reflect on our journey and truth be told, its been action packed!
Three children, four cities and towns, three dogs, ten jobs between us, seven houses (two of our own), four churches, four cars, two university degrees and a diploma make up this period!
During this time amongst all the changes and new experiences, we have seen the law of compounding work within our marriage and are determined to harness its power for the rest of our lives.
Our compounding miracle
It started of very simply as newlyweds, before we left for work or university in the morning, we’d pray for our day and then we’d kiss each other goodbye. It wouldn’t take very long but this same routine has continued, largely unchanged (only by the noise made by our boys) for 12 years!
We’ve prayed in the morning and encouraged each other before big university and professional exams, scary night shifts in the ICU, before new jobs, before leaving for both caesareans and most importantly before countless seemingly ordinary days.
But as we entered the sleep deprived and raising young children season of our lives, I’ve began to see, of course after several “late night discussions” much clearly how to speak my wife’s language of intimacy or her “love language”.
I admit it has been a steep learning curve and that I am still learning, but the simple acts of rubbing her shoulders after the boys are in bed, making her a strong cup of coffee in the morning, using my words to praise her and especially putting the boys to bed at night, have been game changers.
Compounded daily over the last twelve years of our marriage whilst raising our little lions and training as a doctor, these few actions have led to:
1) A stronger connection
2) Peace in amongst the storms of life
3) Quicker apologies when we’ve wronged each other (mostly me)
4) More intimate and meaningful fun times (wink wink)
5) My favourite: Less time wasted doing what I THINK she likes but rather doing what I KNOW she LOVES
Start compounding today!
So what does this mean to a couple who love each other and are determined to journey together forever? How can they start harnessing the power of compounding in their marriage?
Your first step should be to examine your relationship and ask:
“What one or two actions do we engage in everyday that demonstrates our love and respect for each other?”
Could it be the warm hug or glass of wine and drawn bath as you walk in the door from work? Is it a piping hot cup of tea in the morning? Prehaps it is the foot and back rub at the end of the day? Or could it be the regular text messages through the day to show that you are thinking about each other? And my favourite is the phrase that only you and your spouse understand, attached to a memory that draws you close each time you say it!
The beauty of this exercise is that it is entirely unique to each couple and therefore is unbelievably special and deeply personal.
Learn to speak each other’s love language
One of the most important steps to compounding a great marriage, is committing yourself to learning what your spouses “love language” is and speaking this everyday!
The concept of love languages was introduced by Dr. Gary Chapman in his book The five love languages. In his book he described five distinct ways or “languages” that husbands and wives experience love and can speak it to each other.
For instance I feel loved when my wife encourages me about being a great dad and husband. These are words of affirmation that lift me up for days and fill my love tank. Similarly washing the dishes, putting the boys to bed and vacuuming the house are big winners for my wife’s love tank. These are acts of service which she receives as love. The hug and kiss in the morning are also stars as she loves the act of physical touch.
This is an excellent summary and graphic by the Fierce Marriage team. It shows the five languages of love and how to communicate them to your spouse.
Read this carefully!
Speaking the right love language is a key to compounding a great marriage
What is your love language? What does your spouse do which gives you that warm fuzzy feeling? Think about it. I guarantee it will transform your marriage.
It is hugely important to note each others love language because it helps both husbands and wives to direct their energies within marriage much more effectively.
Husbands who seek appreciation through words of encouragement may enjoy a special dinner or quality time with their wives but are actually craving the words “thank you for all that you do, you are a great provider and I am so happy that I am married to you”.
In 5 seconds his wife has filled his tank and made him feel incredibly appreciated and deeply loved.
Remember a tree with deep roots is harder to be knocked down and in the same way, a marriage built on the habit of compounding love andintimacy can survive the storms of life and leave a magnificent legacy for generations to come.
Recognise and stop negative compounding
Conversely the power of compounding also unfortunately works with the negative and hurtful aspects of your relationship. Inevitably over time your bad habits and unresolved conflict will lead you both apart and will result in a less than fulfilling marriage.
The most common culprits that can compound if we are not careful are selfishness, unforgiveness, misplaced anger, addictions and abuse of any type.
Subtly and less sinister, not meeting your spouses needs for intimacy or speaking their language of love can create an ever widening expanse in your marriage which can lead to this being filled with less than beneficial influences.
Just after our eldest son was born, I was working long hours and was starting to neglect the basics in my life (sleep, exercise, food and rest) and the small compounding elements that we had built into our marriage.
Like a spark on a dry day, it didn’t take much to start a raging fire, as there was constant tension. This often boiled over into arguments which led to distance between us during this stressful season.
But by far one of the best decisions that we both made was to intentionally start spending time with each other, regardless of how tired we felt or how “busy” we were. We started dating again, at home (mostly), with the TV off, jazz music on, talking to each other and practising being best friends again.
It was hard at first and we often came up with excuses with why we had to postpone, but it introduced us to compounding during this new season of life.
Unleash the power of compounding
There is no doubt that the power of compounding is at work within our lives. Whether it be exercising every day, or eating the right foods and in this case building a stronger marriage, small significant and positive deposits every day, will yield a great reward with interest over time.
Darren Hardy describes in “The compound effect” that the secret to success behind many prominent business women and men, world changing political leaders and legends of sport, were their positive daily habits compounded over time to produce their great achievements.
The most effective way to unleash the power of compounding in your marriage especially in the early years and to create a foundational habit, is to learn your spouses love language and to speak this everyday!