May 26, 2017

The Many Quiet but Splendid Benefits of Marriage

Gary Thomas — 

When Lisa and I were at the Love Song Couples’ Getaway in the Bahamas, we had a room large enough that, 45 minutes after checking in (I was still traveling in from Houston after preaching at Second that morning) Lisa texted me to say, “Ha! I just found a second full bathroom.” Troy and Marisha (the organizers of Love Song) always spoil us.

Mid-week, however, the large room meant Lisa couldn’t find her phone. She searched everywhere. We looked it up on “Find Your iPhone” and it seemed to point to our room. Lisa was tired and said, “Promise me you’ll help me find it in the morning.”

When she was out of the room the next day I tore everything apart and found it. She came back to the room, saw it plugged in and charging and said, “You’re going to get some special romance for that!” and then kissed me. I later found out the “special romance” was that kiss. It was certainly a nice kiss, but my mind had jumped a few paces ahead of that…

Anyway, it hit me that so often we hope marriage keeps serving up those endless and inexhaustible moments of “special romance,” whirlwind feelings, “carry me away” moments. But in reality, sometimes marriage is built on small things, quiet but splendid benefits, like having someone find your cell phone when you’re tired of looking for it yourself.

Can you think of other “small benefits” that make marriage so nice?

  • I think of having someone who cares about your kids as much as you do, and is enthusiastic to talk about them and pray for them.


  • Moments of ministry together. I didn’t arrive at the resort for the conference until very late Sunday and was scheduled to speak early Monday. My sinuses kept me awake, I had a huge headache, and there were multiple problems with the PowerPoint and video clips. It was a terrible morning on sub-par sleep and I thought, “Great, my first session is so going to bomb.” Lisa knelt in front of me, took my face in her hands and said, “This isn’t about how you feel right now. It’s about a lifetime of study, prayer, and your life. You’ve lived this. It’s going to go great.” Sometimes, marriage is just about encouraging each other in ministry.


  • Feeling discouraged and having someone care enough to ask, “Are you okay?”


  • Being known well enough that if you have sinus issues your spouse can tell without asking.

  • Coffee in your room in the morning. I had brought Lisa’s to her at the Atlantis, then we sat on our balcony and watched a dad with two daughters bringing his wife’s coffee to her (the walk took ten times as long since the little girls were “helping”). It dawned on us that it is almost always the husband who brings the coffee in the morning.


  • Someone to make the “first call” to when something good or bad happens.


  • Someone who defends you when others attack.


  • Someone to share a favorite quote, blog, movie, or television show with.


  • Facing frustrating times together. Lisa and I had stopped off in Jacksonville on the way home for a visit with some friends and family, and on the way back our flight into Houston was cancelled due to bad weather. We were so ready to get back home and another night in an airport hotel seemed less than appetizing, but we went to a local restaurant, got takeout salad bar, and watched two “The Amazing Race” episodes on my iPad. After so many years of traveling alone, it felt like a special treat to spend a frustrating evening with your best friend, to the point that the frustrating evening became a good memory.


  • Someone to take the kids or change the diaper when you’re just too tired to do it one more time.


  • Someone to test out opinions or thoughts—on the sermon, books, political speeches, kids’ choices.


  • That first hug in the morning.

These aren’t “big moments.” None of them on their own are exciting enough to sustain a movie, form a song, or carry the plot of a novel, but taken together, they’re really nice “side benefits” of marriage.

If you’re not carried away by infatuated romance at this point in your relationship, don’t discount the fulfillment and joy of simply living life together. Infatuated moments are nice, but sometimes what you really need is someone who can find your iPhone.

In the comments section, please share your own “quiet but splendid benefits of marriage.” Let’s see how long we can make the list.

This blog is not written for women in abusive marriages. The advice offered in these posts will challenge both husbands and wives, but the advice could be counter-productive if it is applied in an abusive relationship.

When you subscribe to Gary’s blog, you will receive blog posts directly to your e-mail inbox. You will be one of the first to learn about the latest in Gary’s writing.

36 responses to The Many Quiet but Splendid Benefits of Marriage

  1. Someone who is there for you when you are sick

  2. Just last week, our 18 yo daughter came to our room at 1:30AM quietly weeping because her BF broke up with her. I let her lay on my side and just hugged her. My husband of now 20 years, knows I have a hard time waking up, so he was hugging us both and praying over her tender heart. Gary, you’re right! It is the quiet but splendid moments!

    That night reminded me of all the times our kids (3) would get sick, he would take over. He was night shift, so I could get rest.

  3. Wonderful post, Gary! I’ve been dating a wonderful, godly man for 6 months now but he went through a very difficult divorce 5 years ago and is not sure if he wants to get married again. I’m 57 and never married, but definitely want to be. When he asked me why, I listed many of the reasons you cited in your post. His response was that most of my reasons do not require marriage and perhaps I am ‘over-romanticizing’ i.e., marriage is not all it’s cracked up to be. We both agree that sex outside of marriage is sinful and have no plans to ‘go there’. Would love to hear your thoughts!

    • Lynn, please be careful. It sounds like you want to get married and this guy really doesn’t. if you truly want to be married, think carefully about spending time with a man who is openly trying to convince you to accept a non-marriage relationship. I wasn’t there when you two discussed this, of course, but from how you describe it this does sound like a dead end relationship to me. He wants to date you, but he’s making it clear he doesn’t even see the need to go beyond that. Are you good with that?

      • Gary, no I’m not good with it at all. After a few weeks of dating I told him that if his heart was closed to ever getting married again I did not want to continue dating him. He said he was open to the idea but that we needed time to get to know each other. I plan to give it another 6 months and if we’re not moving toward marriage by then, I will need to make the difficult decision to move on. In the meantime I’m praying God will soften his heart.

  4. We like to watch golf together. It’s boring to most, but we know all the players and we enjoy cheering on our favorites. It’s a common interest that keeps us connected 21 years in.

    • Sounds wonderful to me, Amber! Make you sure you make Zach Johnson and Jonathan Byrd two of your favorites. And there are many other quality guys on the tour.