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Change Your Marriage With One Word

Author Gary Thomas reveals the one word that can take your marriage to the next level. Read Transcript

NARRATOR: Best-selling author Gary Thomas

has been helping thousands of couples

turn their relationships around.

He says, there is one word that can radically do that.

Cherish is sort of the spice.

You can love without cherishing.

But you can't cherish without loving.

Love is important, but I want to go to that next level.

NARRATOR: In his book, "Cherish,"

Gary challenges us to love well and shows us

how to treasure our spouse like never before.

Gary Thomas joins us now.

Good to have you here.

Good to be here.

Thank you.

I have to admit, when I was reading your book,

it struck me that love and cherish,

the wedding vows, cherish has not

been a part of my vocabulary, at least

in approaching my marriage.

Why is it so important?

Well, I think it takes marriage

to a whole different level.

Love is important.

I think it's good that we've stressed

that it's the foundation of a relationship.

But I think to get to the point where our spouse feels special,

I think to get to the point where I would even say marriage

becomes an act of worship toward God, delighting in our spouse,

in God's son or God's daughter, I

think gives us greater delight for ourselves,

it fulfills our spouse, and I think it gives greater pleasure

to God.

Something that is rather sad-- and you said,

a lot of couples divorce without ever really knowing

their spouse or knowing who their spouse was.

What do you mean by that?

Neurologically, the journey from me to we

is about 10 to 15 years.

The way our brains operate, it just takes time for us,

even after we've made the vows, to start thinking of ourselves

as a couple.

We're still thinking about ourselves as individuals.

And so when we get so frustrated five, six, seven

years into marriage, we don't really

know what it's like to actually be one yet.

It just takes time for our brains to form.

And I think a lot of couples early

in the journey say, oh, we'll never be like that.

We're not going to have problems.

We don't fight.

You know?

But my wife and I have seen that.

We've been at a wedding where a couple delighted in each other,

they knew what each other was doing.

And then you see them 10, 15 years later.

I had a conversation with a woman who was

so disappointed in her husband.

When I referred to him as a chef, she says,

he's not a chef, he's a cook.

Chefs prepare things.

He just heats things up.

ANDREW: Nothing good out of that.

He works at a nursing home.

He tries to feed hundreds of senior citizens.

It's a noble calling.

But for whatever reason, it had become a point of contempt

for his wife instead of being proud of him.

That's why I think we have to have the idea that, I'm not

just hanging with my spouse, loving her, persevering,

I want to cherish my spouse.

I want to delight in my spouse.

I want to adore my spouse.

I want to think the best of my spouse.

Do you think men and women realize

the danger to a marriage when they compare

their spouse to someone else?


And the thing is, it just makes no sense.

ANDREW: Even if they don't voice it.


Comparing our spouse's weakness to another spouse's strengths

never makes you feel better.

It discourages you.

It frustrates you.

It never helps your spouse improve.

It tends to make your spouse give up.

Your spouse feels like, well, I know I can't please them

anyway, so why-- not even try.

It's one of the most destructive things we can do.

And sometimes, perhaps, maybe even men in a marriage say,

well, I'm not emotionally abusive to my wife,

or verbally abusive, physically abusive.

But being apathetic to the relationship

can be just as damaging.

Well, it's so damaging.

In large part-- and stereotypes aren't always true--

but in general, women tend to be more emotionally invested

in the success and intimacy of their marriage than guys.

Just the way we act, ego-wise, if our marriage isn't doing

well, we tend to focus more on our hobby, or our job,

or whatnot.

And wives have other areas where they can do that.

But so often, in so many studies, for a wife,

she is even more frustrated when her marriage isn't connecting.

And so when we just take that cavalierly,

when we don't cherish our wives, when they feel like, I gave

everything to him, I've given him my future,

I've given him my hopes, I've given him my body, everything

that I hold dear, and he doesn't even want it anymore,

he doesn't even appreciate it any more,

I don't think we understand as men how devastating it

can be to a woman, her sense of worth,

her soul, her satisfaction, when she's not cherished.

Look, we're the only ones that can cherish our wife that way.

It would be a sin for another man to cherish her that way.

Our kids have two parents to cherish.

Hopefully, one day they'll have their own spouse to cherish.

Our parents have many kids to cherish.

We're called specifically to hold our one spouse

in a particular regard, to cherish them

like no one else does.

So if we don't do it, no one else will.

That's why it is such an injury not to cherish our spouse.

And some spouses may approach marriage later in years

as, we're just going to tolerate each other.

But the very opposite of that-- as you say,

marriage is like a ballet.

How is that?

Well, there's a famous statement

in the ballet community that, the ballet is woman.

George Balanchine talked about how,

when people go to the ballet, they go to see the ballerina.

It's not the male dancer.

In pas de deux, couples dancing, it's the guy who understands

the ballerina's weaknesses-- not so that he can chastise her

or ridicule her or shame her--

he knows her weaknesses so he knows,

this is where she really needs to be supported.

I need to make her feel safe so that she can attempt

to do something she wouldn't be able to do

if I wasn't with her.

And so his job is what I call showcasing her.

Now what if we had that attitude in marriage?

I want to showcase my spouse.

I want to know that my job is to make her look good,

to make others see her gift, to make others see her excellence.

Because when I just focus on love,

so often it's the reverse.

Is she showcasing me?

Is she exhibiting me?

And so when I can change that mindset,

my job today is to make my spouse look good--

to my kids, to my friends, to others, to speak well of her--

that's the beginning process of cherishing.

And it builds other attitudes.

And we talked about kind of the-- we didn't use the term

honeymoon period, but there is that.

And then marriages maybe go through some strain.

And part of that, I think, is because our individual

hurts begin to be revealed later in marriage.

And how do we-- we need to see the importance of that.

People come into marriage with hurt.


See, that's what I love about a cherishing marriage.

Because it can be such a healing place.

We all come into marriage broken and wounded and hurting.

I'm just astonished I got a woman to marry me, you know?

I mean, there are some superstars that

go into marriage where they think they've got all

that, they've got everything together,

and they've been celebrated their entire lives.

ANDREW: They're just be there.

I wasn't.

I was the third of four kids.

You know, I had the perfect Eagle Scout-- literally Eagle

Scout older brother, the stronger second brother.

So what marriage can be if we cherish

each other, what blows me away, Andrew,

is that here's a woman who literally knows me better

than any other person on this planet, and she still likes me,

she still respects me, and she cherishes me.

And what that does is it helps me to receive God's love.

Because God knows even worse things about me than my wife


And yet, he still affirms me.

And when you have two people building each other up

like that--

I cherish you for who you are.

Infatuation is all about an illusion.

You're strangers to each other.

You don't know each other.

So when you can cherish the spouse you truly know,

it's spiritually enriching, and it builds up your marriage.

Well, this is a great book.

The book is called "Cherish, The One

Word that Changes Everything for Your Marriage," by Gary Thomas.

And it's not just a bunch of tips.

It's a whole new outlook on how to approach your marriage.

Thank you so much for being here.

Thank you so much for having me.


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