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.

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36 responses to The Many Quiet but Splendid Benefits of Marriage

  1. Wonderful words of marriage companionship, love and trust. Today was one of those ‘simple joy’ days! From the first hug, silly laughter at ourselves and sitting with my husband while he watched ‘Twilight Zone’…he has seen them all and really enjoys this show. I enjoyed him and just having him home with me. Your blog today
    was confirmation to the joy in small things for me and my husband today, our second day of a 9 day vacation! Thank You!!

  2. Thanks for causing your readers to reflect on those little moments in our marriage that often times get ignored, those short lived shared experiences that come and go like a light breeze and so easy to take for granted.

    God blessed me with someone who loves me better than I love myself.

    He makes my lunch, packing it full with pre-peeled oranges, chocolate kisses, and some more of my favorites. When I pack my lunch, I throw in a pack of crackers and a jar of peanut butter and forget about drinks.

    When he draws a bath for me, he lights multiple candles, folds up a towel, and fresh wash cloth and sets it neatly on the ledge, pours a large glass of ice water, and even checks later to see if I need more. When I draw my bath, I don’t like candles, I am not so generous with the bubbles, and I usually have to walk across the floor to grab a towel trying not to slip.

    He is that familiar foot moving under the covers until it finds mine.
    He is my voice of reason when I get emotional
    He is my encyclopedia, and my auto correct when I get my words mixed up.
    He is the friend sitting on our back porch, drinking coffee and talking about growing old together.

    We would choose these little quiet moments over infatuation any day!

  3. Knowing you won’t die alone, having been diagnosed with a rare cancer for which there is no cure.

  4. NatesGyrl1209 May 27, 2017 at 6:32 am

    My husband and I have experienced infertility and miscarriages over the course of our nearly nine years of marriage. It took time to get there, but having someone who remembers and acknowledges our unborn children in heaven and gladly memorialized them with me long after others have forgotten. We are now expecting our first living child, God willing and having someone to listen to and care about my endless discomforts, cater to my intense cravings, and pick up the pieces when I’m just too exhausted to function is an unspeakable blessing. I would never want to go through pregnancy and parenting alone!

  5. Beautiful.

  6. Thanks so much for this! In a time where I see so many (even in Christian circles) complaining about marriage, or their individual spouses, this is such a refreshing thing to read! Here’s some things I’d add:

    Having someone to hold you when you wake up from nasty dreams in the middle of the night
    Having someone who stays up with you without complaint when you’re sick and helps take care of you. (My husband and I have both done this for each other.)
    Those quiet moments of nonsexual cuddling and touching. My husband and I do have a good sex life, and greatly enjoy that aspect, but there’s something to be said for touch at other times.
    Those times when we’re in public and one of us drops a reference that only the other one gets. Sometimes it’s even a comment that lets the other one know what we have in mind for later, but since there’s nothing remotely suggestive on the surface, no one else has any idea what we’re communicating to the other one. It’s kind of like this secret code we have.
    In a different spin on bringing coffee, I’d say having someone to bring coffee to. I’m usually the one who makes the coffee in the morning and brings him his. I know he appreciates it, but it’s as much of a blessing for me to have someone to do those things for as it is to have them done for me. Does that make any sense?

  7. Thanks all for sharing! I am single and am now potentially ready to get open myself to marriage, but I haven’t seen/known the benefits of being married. I asked God a few weeks ago for Him to show me the good things about being married. What a nice answered prayer to come across this post!

  8. Ahhh! The little things that over the span of time aren’t so little after all. These little things shore up a foundation and help to keep it steady. Here are a few ‘little’ things that mean so much that we do for each other.
    cleans and gasses up my car unexpectedly
    rubs my feet, head or back after a long day
    serenades me softly as I am waking up
    often hands me a towel as I get out of the shower

    massage him regularly. There’s no time limit.
    Leave notes, a cold drink of water and a snack when he first gets home
    I serve my husband his dinner. I learned to enjoy it because it makes him feel good.
    I read our books out loud. Especially on road trips.

  9. Knowing you are being prayed for, without even asking.

  10. I love how quietness is ok by now (10 years) into our marriage. Neither of us need to impress, we’ve built a solid faithfulness marriage that is amazing and essential the way a brick foundation is amazing and essential. Sometimes you need to have experienced trauma to know how immensely satisfying that is! Both my husband and I did not grow up with this and we absolutely treasure it! He tells me almost daily how he loves the peace in our home. He calls me powerful and beautiful….and means it. We have peace, which can sound boring, but if you’ve lived in tension and stressful relationships all our lives previously, boring is lovely!!

  11. Jason Junkins May 26, 2017 at 11:10 am

    Incredible post! Here are some:

    1. Someone to bring you a cool wash cloth when you don’t feel well.
    2. As we get older and have to take medications, someone puts your pills in the planner each week.
    3. Clothes “magically” appear in my drawers and closet.
    4. Holding hands on the porch swing.
    5. A sweet note in your suitcase when you travel.

    The list never ends…

  12. hmmm, while reading the post and the comments, my thoughts gladly went to the little fights I’ve had with my hubby and the way we laugh about them afterward…. sometimes it’s just so nice to have someone to disagree with too…#lol.

    I’m still in my first year of marriage, so we are still going through the many little disagreements….but its fun still, couple with the makeup episodes…

    thank God for the quiet yet splendid benefits of marriage.

  13. Claudia L Clawson May 26, 2017 at 9:35 am

    Making lunch for me and setting the table.
    Rubbing my feet after being on them all day.

  14. Diana Harrell May 26, 2017 at 8:48 am

    Have someone with whom to enjoy reading books out loud.

    Have someone to hold hands with as you walk anywhere.

    Have someone to enjoy over 50 years of history together.

    Have someone who has joyfully washed the dishes since day 1 of marriage.

    Have someone to be your sous chef.

    Have someone to bring humor to your more serious personality.

    Have someone with whom to enjoy a new ministry like Loving Kids or PEP.

    Have someone to encourage you to exercise.

  15. I walked on the beach with my wife this morning while our oatmeal was cooking. We visited with two neighbors. Then we came back and I read this blog post out loud as we enjoyed breakfast on the deck. Now we are sipping coffee as we discuss pleasant moments in our marriage.

  16. Robi Gerovasilis May 26, 2017 at 8:27 am

    Sharing those quiet intimate moments over a night cap and connecting spiritually, mentally and emotionally over shared thoughts.

  17. No matter how tired my husband is after work, and he performs some long and intricate surgeries that require intense mental energy, he is always the first to ask “how did your day go”. As I launch into a list of sometimes mundane activities he listens, asks more questions and offers affirmation. In return, I try not to over-schedule our evenings so that he has time to recharge for the next day: a nice meal, a glass of wine, a little reading and a walk around the neighborhood. Despite the fact that it was our shared sense of adventure that attracted us to each other so many years ago, we find that it is these little familiarities that ground us and keep us on even keel.

  18. Wow! I thoroughly enjoyed this post. One wonderful thing my husband does that benefits our relationship, is to begin the school day when something has kept me up late the previous night. Waking to the sounds of him helping with language or math truly blesses me!

  19. This is a great article and so true! I love having someone to laugh with and share “inside jokes” or I can say to my husband “Remember that time…?” and he immediately starts shaking his head in agreement because he knows exactly where I’m going!! I love how he reaches out to hold my hand when we are walking together in a new place or in the busy part of downtown. I also appreciate having someone who understands and appreciates my journey more than most as they have had an inside perspective.

    Thanks for sharing, Gary!

    • Fantastic additions. Thanks LaSandra. And you’re right–the “inside jokes” are some of the most enjoyable “quiet” benefits of marriage.

  20. When my early bird hubby plants smooches all over my sleeping face as he’s exiting for the day. I feel adored.

    • That’s the first small moment I thought of too. I always sleep with one foot out of the covers, which my husband thinks is funny. So every morning he gives my foot or ankle a squeeze to say goodbye for the day. If I’m awake enough I respond with “I love you, have a good day,” but most often it’s a grunt. He knows what I mean. 🙂

      It’s such a little thing, but it’s “us.” And I love these little moments.