One Highly Effective Habit That Could Strengthen Your Marriage

One Highly Effective Habit that Could Strengthen Your Marriage

It was grade nine. There was one minute left in the game, and I was standing there holding the ball. Pivoting on one foot, I had a decision to make, do I go for the basket myself in hopes of winning the game for our team? Or do I throw it to Stacy who was frantically waving to get my attention? I threw it to Stacy, who dribbled her way to the hoop, and with one final swoop it was over. The victory was ours, and the limelight was hers.

I could dribble, steal, pass and pivot alright, but when it came to shooting hoops I was lacking the height and the skill.  That’s where my teammates came in.

Teamwork was essential to playing basketball–I knew that. What I know now is that it’s also essential to marriage.

But there’s something else that’s important. It’s a highly effective habit, and it’s one that will strengthen any marriage when put into practice.

What is it? It’s pivoting. The right way, at the right time.

We all have needs, husbands and wives alike, but we don’t always spell those needs out. Sometimes they’re nothing more than a gesture, a question or a light-hearted suggestion. A good spouse not only listens to the needs of the other, they also turn their attention toward them instead of away. 

Michael called home the other day to ask what we were having for dinner. I was polite, but I wasn’t my usual keep-him-on-the-line self. I just wasn’t having the best day and it was getting to me.

About five minutes after hanging up the phone he called back, “Is everything okay?” he asked. “I got the feeling that something is bothering you.”

He could have waited until he got home to ask me, but instead he turned his attention toward me right then and there.

Here’s another example of the way that we pivot.

The other night, I was in bed beside Michael. While he was asleep, I was on the iPad absorbed in my new eBook. Let me just say that I love that quiet time when everyone in the house is tucked in and I get to read alone–without puppies, phone calls, noise from the TV, or people knocking at the door.  It’s awesome.

Two pages in, I felt Michael’s hand reach out for mine. Truth is that I wanted to pat his hand and get back to reading my book. It was a new eBook and I had been waiting all day to dig in, but I decided to pivot instead. Closing the book, I turned my attention to Michael, because that’s what love does. Love seeks to serve, not to be served.

Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. – Philippians 2:2-4

Marriages are strengthened when we give our attention to each other. Romance deepens when we take the time to listen. And hearts are softened when we give more than we get. 

Pivoting–it’s nothing complicated really, but it’s an effective habit nonetheless!


Darlene Schacht
The Time-Warp Wife

The Virtuous Life of a Christ-Centered WifeCheck out my book, available in both print and digital format:
The Virtuous Life of a Christ-Centered Wife: 18 Powerful Lessons for Personal Growth.


  • JEnny

    What a great way to put it. We had a situation like that yesterday too, when I could tell he was wanting my attention, so I put my book down and waited.

  • kehinde

    I really Love your blog … They put me right to sleep and encouraging… #simply awesome… But I have a question… #not married yet… If you have trust issues…Is it right you tell your partner… #you have been trying but seems like nothing is working

    • Darlene Schacht

      I think open communication is important. It’s good to trust, but if you have valid suspicions about things, it’s also good to clear the air. I think my answer is vague because every circumstance is so unique, but open communication paved with love and grace is always good!

  • Jen B.

    I am thankful for this post. I am in a winter season of marriage right now that is pretty lonely. I am studying on the love and respect relationship of a marriage per God’s design and this topic of “pivoting” is key to that part of respect that I am to unconditionally give my husband. God has used you to open a new door of understanding about my marriage. I am thankful for that. Blessings!

  • Kathleen

    I just want to let you know that right after I sat down and had a real heart-to-heart with God about helping me to love my husband despite an increasingly difficult marriage, I came across your site. The articles I have read along with the book “The Ultimate Marriage Vow” have been exactly what I needed to hear. The verses and comments have bee such an encouragement to me to continue loving him in action even when it is very hard. You are truly an answer to prayer!

  • Frances

    After prayers, fasting and being very clear about my needs not being met, my husband has yet to pivot my way. For the past four years I’ve been catering to his desires, his needs, his dreams, etc. When it came time to talk about the areas that are lacking, he would shut down and not talk. I’m left to hear myself talk. He would agree to work on the issues and go to sleep. It never got worked on. When I turn away from him he does the same, he doesn’t ask what’s wrong. I ask him to pray for our marriage, to take this seriously. He agrees then forgets. It has been this way throughout the entire marriage. I’ve given up on my needs and put my attention on our two yr old son. My husband is a Christian and knows the word. He does not invest in our marriage. He does not pursue me. If I gave in and kissed him he takes advantage and hugs me and goes to sleep happy like nothing happened. As long as I keep him happy, he’s good. We now sleep in different rooms and he thinks its one of my moods. He believes I’ll get over it and ask him back to the bedroom. He’s happy on the sofa and acts like all of it is ok. He’s not clueless, he chose to do nothing. I can pray til I’m blue, I can continue to cater to my husband but if he does not want to work on the issues, not even God can save this marriage. You have to have a heart willing to work it out. Where does that leave me? I stay for my son.

    • Darlene Schacht

      Frances, I’m so sorry to read this. It sounds like you are in such a tough spot. I encourage you to seek counselling if not the both of you, then for yourself. Even speaking to a pastor can be amazing. So many are gifted with wisdom. They are called to lead the flock. And believe it or not, they deal with situations similar to yours more often than we realize. It would be good to get godly counsel and much needed encouragement.

      Meanwhile, keep praying and remember that our reward doesn’t come from man it comes from God. When we realize that, a sacrificial life makes sense.

    • Sarah

      Frances, I just paused to pray for you. I have been in the exact same place and know how frustrating and lonely it is. Find encouragement in Hagar’s story, another very lonely woman who finally realized that GOD saw her heart, even if no one else did. “Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the LORD, who had spoken to her. She said, “You are the God who sees me.” Gen 16:13. Darlene is right about finding counseling. If you have already asked your husband to consider the state of your marriage and he is taking no action, Matthew 18 says to bring the matter to a wise Christian whom you both trust. (A counselor or elder.) I would definitely tell your husband you intend to do so first so he does not feel disrespected or blindsided and so you can agree on who to share with. Highly recommended books are Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas and Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow. This is 15 years of painful marriage experience packed into one short paragraph and I hope it’s helpful. Remember that your first and most important groom is Jesus, and He is Faithful and True!!! Rev 19:11 May God’s perfect love comfort and uplift you, dear sister!

  • Miki

    My marriage sounds a lot like Frances. My husband is a Christian also but this doesn’t seem like a Christian marriage…indeed it’s not. I will have to admit that I haven’t been fervently praying for our marriage so I am equally guilty. There is a HUGE breakdown in communication between my husband and I. When we’re upset we both give the silent treatment and this has been going on for three weeks now. I tried to talk to him once but he said he was too upset to talk….communication breakdown. I really wish we had more things centered around marriage at my church but unfortunately we don’t. We have been sleeping in separate rooms for the past two weeks and it doesn’t seem like it will end anytime soon. We’ve only been married for 8 mths but it feels like 10 years…and not in a good way. I surely don’t want to live like this for the rest of my earthly life…

  • Caryn

    Dear young woman,
    Marriage is the toughest thing I have ever encountered in life. Why? Because it causes me to live a sacrificial life! I am in my second marriage and am well aware that divorce does not help anything. I have had more trials than you can imagine, but one thing I have learned is that sticking it out is well worth it. Right now you are both battling for your way and your husband for his. Over and over I have had to show grace and humility to my husband especially when he doesn’t deserve it, and he really responds to that! I heard on a show once “do you just love winners?” Do you? If your husband is not the man you want him to be, when he fails, or who you think he should ( be careful about that word) be, are you saying it is not worth it. Are you willing to “let your marriage and trust for each other be fertilized and grow even if it takes years, which it will. It is extremely hard but you will be doing what very few people do these days. Use words carefully ALWAYS with kindness and a positive word about him as a man, even when you feel he is being insensitive and self centered, aren’t we all sometimes? And pray everyday asking God to change you both!! God Bless!

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