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Erosion is one of the most annoying things about my house. It seems like every time I turn around, I have to move wheelbarrows full of dirt to avoid a major expense. If I just allowed the erosion to continue, our retaining wall and driveway would need major repairs. Fighting the erosion consistently avoids major work and expense.

Fighting attitude erosion is similar. If we just allow our attitude toward our spouse to plummet, we can end up in a terrible spot that will require major work and expense. Couples usually wait until they absolutely hate each other to try to get any help in their relationship. It would make sense to get help before both spouses can’t stand the sight of one another.

Years ago, a couple came to me for marriage help. They had focused on each other’s negatives for years and were ready to share all of them with me. The wife went first and unloaded. Then, her husband took her hatred and negative thoughts and raised her a hundred.

I had the thought, “This can’t be. They can’t be right. It would be too big a coincidence for the two worst people in the world to actually get married.”

Attitude erosion can happen in any marriage. You see your spouse’s faults, you focus on them, and boom, it is hard to be in the same room with them. I remember a time when Marilyn looked at me and said, “Even the way you drink coffee gets on my every nerve.”

Here are four keys to actually liking one another and enjoying marriage:

1. Find the Good. Every spouse has good qualities. Every spouse is jacked up. Your attitude toward your spouse will depend on your focus.

2. Date Weekly. Distance creeps in easily and quickly. Spend time together. The more you invest in one another, the better your attitude will be toward one another.

3. Share and Listen. If you are a talker, listen more. If you are a listener, talk more. When you really understand one another, it truly helps your attitude. Set aside time every day to share your day and emotions with your spouse. Emotional isolation is bad for you and your marriage.

4. Extend Grace!!!!! Jesus Christ died so we could be totally forgiven and live under the grace of God. We all need this grace and so do our marriages. We all have irritating habits. We can all be annoying and thoughtless. Our hope is not in behavioral perfection – it is in the grace of God.

Attitudes move. They are either getting worse or getting better. Fight to have a good attitude toward your spouse. Ask yourself these questions:

● What vibe do I give off toward my spouse?
● Do I act pleased?
● Does it feel like I like them?
● Am I showing how impressed I am by them?

Great marriages don’t happen by accident. They are built on the grace of Jesus and intentional investment.