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Show Notes

If there was one thing that could make every marriage better, wouldn’t all married people want to know what it is? Well if you Google it, the top article has more like 28 things to do to make your marriage better. It can feel overwhelming – is there really one great place to get started? Join us as we discuss!

The Tension: There are so many things that can make your marriage better

But where’s the best place to start?

Nancie, Ted’s wife, suggested that couples simply ‘be kind’. And come to find out, this simple idea is backed by research!

Shaunti Felhaun and her team studied this very thing. And on this episode, Ted had the chance to interview Shaunti about how kindness can impact a marriage.

Shaunti received her graduate degree from Harvard University and was an analyst on Wall Street before unexpectedly becoming a social researcher and best-selling author.  Today, she applies that analytical experience to uncovering the little changes that have big impacts in our lives, marriages, families and workplace relationships. Her groundbreaking books, including For Women Only and For Men Only have sold more than 2 million copies in 23 languages. Her newest book, The Kindness Challenge, is sparking an international movement called the 30-Day Kindness Challenge.

Truth: Kindness is one of the most powerful things in a marriage

Interview with Shaunti

It turns out that whether or not you’re thriving in your marriage is far more correlated to how you treat other people than how you yourself are treated.

What does it mean to be kind?

Kindness is three things – withholding unkindness, speaking kind words and doing kind things. We studied and spent several years with more than a thousand people in a study group to discover what you can do or not do to be kind. We ended up with what we call the 30 Day Kindness Challenge.  You have to do 3 things for 30 days and it’s super simple – you have to pick one person that you want a better relationship with (and of course we would encourage your spouse) and:

  1. Don’t say anything negative about that person (to them or about them to someone else).
  2. Find one thing that you can sincerely praise or affirm (tell them and someone else).
  3. Do a small action of kindness for that person

If you do these 3 things for 30 days, 89% of relationships improve!

Who needs the kindness challenge?

Have you, in the past year, said “Man, this culture has gotten so unkind?” or “People are so mean on social media”? It’s so easy for us to think “Those people out there – I can’t believe they said that on social media… It’s just awful.”

It’s easy to think that about them, but I can’t change them. That tone that they used is the same tone I used with my husband yesterday. And the ‘random acts of kindness’ that we see do make the world a better place, but intentional kindness toward one person that opens your eyes makes you a better person.

Can you please talk to my friend and other people who are listening who think kindness is squishy?

Kindness, it turns out, is a superpower. It has unbelievable power in whatever it is we’re trying to improve in our life. When we give kindness, especially when it is not deserved, it causes miraculous things.

Your one simple thing this week: Take the kindness assessment 

You may be surprised what you find!

Ted: I took the assessment and thought I knew where it was going but this thing nailed me to the wall!

Afton: This ties back to our first episode with micro-moves. The challenge is looking for something every day.

CJ: It’s like driving – you assume you’re a pretty good driver and don’t need someone to tell you how to fix you’re driving. But I’m going to take it and I think it is going to be pretty interesting!

You can too – go to jointhekindnesschallenge.com to take the assessment and join the challenge!

Thanks for joining us for the Married People Podcast! We hope today’s episode helped you realize that marriage is a little easier than you may think! We hope you’ll subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and leave a review – they help us make the podcast better.

If you want more resources, check out Your Best Us and our blog at MarriedPeople.org.

Finally – join us next week when we ask the question “Can your spouse really meet all of your relational needs?”