Marriage First Aid Kit

When we go hiking or playing in the outdoors we should take along a first aid kit. As we hike together through our marriage journey we need a first aid kit. A first aid kit is there to treat injuries like a scraped knee, broken bone, or worse. We need a first aid kit to treat the injuries of marriage such as being rude, forgetting a special day, or worse.

You can find the contents for an outdoors first aid kit online with a simple search. Here are some items I believe need to be in your marriage first aid kit.

Make-up rituals. Find or invent some rituals for making up after one of you has injured the other in your marriage. Also have rituals for helping one another when one of you has been hurt from outside the marriage. For example, when something bad has happened at work we may need a little first aid at home from our spouse even though the spouse didn’t cause the injury.

REAL Love Notes. REAL Love Notes are primarily for making regular deposits in the love bank though you can use them as first aid too.

Apologies. I have had to apologize for my behavior more times then I can remember. I have yet to meet anyone who has never had to apologize for something. I had to learn how to apologize well. We have all heard apologies that sound more like excuses or sometimes like the apology is a way to blame us for the other person’s bad behavior. Here are some guidelines for a good apology from Janis Abrahms Spring in her book How Can I Forgive You?:

  1. Take responsibility for the damage you caused.
  2. Make your apology personal.
  3. Make your apology specific.
  4. Make your apology deep (apologize for the whole truth of what you did)
  5. Make your apology heartfelt
  6. Make your apology clean (no buts or qualifications)
  7. Apologize repeatedly

Reparative actions. Sometimes we need to repair the damage we have done or the hurt we have caused. This could be a good apology, a favorite candy bar, flowers, or it may need to be big like a trip to Hawaii.

Forgiveness. Forgiveness is important.? Scripture tells us to forgive and now research indicates that forgiveness is a good idea. Here are some things to remember about forgiveness that I have gleaned from a number of writers:

  1. Forgiveness is not saying the behavior is okay.
  2. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting. Later you will feel and think differently about what happened though.
  3. Forgiveness is a process and may have to be done many times for the same action.
  4. Forgiveness means no longer requiring something of the person who wronged you regarding the offense for which you are forgiving. Once forgiveness is complete the person no longer has to “pay.”
  5. Forgiveness is needed for hurts that are personal, unfair, and deep (not for accidently stepping on your toe or for “stealing” the covers for which a simple apology is all that is needed).
  6. Forgiveness is needed when we hate which means we only want revenge, not to make things better.
  7. Forgiveness may or may not bring about reconciliation.

Steps to Forgiveness:

  1. Clearly identify the issue to be forgiven.
  2. Determine how often you will get together to work on the issue.
  3. Talk about how you feel and how you have been affected by the issue.
  4. The one who committed the offense askes for forgiveness.
  5. The hurt person offers forgiveness.
  6. The one who committed the ofense demonstrates a change in beliefs and actions that allowed the offense to happen.
  7. The person who committed the offense agrees to make reparation for the offense.
  8. If possible, reconciliation occurs.
  9. Both people move on in life.

All good first aid kits are personalized to the person using it. I have offered some basic suggestions for your marriage first aid kit so personalize it for your use. Please send in your items that are not mentioned here so we can share them with everyone.

Stock up your marriage first aid kit to heal the hurts and maintain a healthy REAL Marriage.

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