Early Adopters Needed

December 17, 2013

in 2014 Marriage Upgrade, Change, Good Marriage

A couple of times this month I’ve told you about my 2014 Marriage Upgrade Challenge: spending the whole year trying to make yourself and your marriage better regardless of what your wife says or does.

What I am looking for here are some early adopters.

You see, I am convinced that if either spouse works steadily on their marriage, there is a better than 95%* chance they will see a significant improvement within a year

If I had proof of that, I suspect most of those reading this blog would be willing to try it. Thing is, I do not have proof. My hope is that a year from now I will have dozens of you saying, “It worked! I put consistent effort into my marriage, and it got a lot better.” I will then use those “testimonials” to convince more people, both men and women, to work on their marriages. (My evil plan has been revealed! Bwahaha!)

Marriage Upgrade 2014 © Stuart Miles | freedigitalphotos.net

How will this happen? I don’t have a secret plan, and I am not going to sell you anything. The goal is simple: be nicer, be more generous, and give more grace. You don’t have to be perfect; you can completely blow it at times and it will still work. Some of what needs to be done will be true for all marriages while other things will vary depending on you, your spouse, and your situation.

My part in this is to make suggestions, help you learn what it will take to make your marriage awesome, and to cheer you on. Your part is to do the work and brush yourself off and get back to it when you mess up. Your wife’s part is nothing – this is all about you.

*A better than 95% chance? I know many are thinking, “You don’t know my wife. Nothing I do will result in any change in what she thinks or does; it’s hopeless.” A very who think that are right, but the majority are wrong. Even the angriest, stubbornest, most selfish people will be swayed by twelve months of being treated better.

What if you are in the 5%? A few of you will try this, do a half way decent job (which is all it takes) and a year from now there will be no change in your wife. If that happens, I think you have still benefited. You made an effort to fix your marriage – an effort going well beyond what most ever try. You’ll be able to say to your wife, and anyone else, that you tried your hardest. You can tell your wife you’re not perfect, but you have proven there’s nothing you can do on your own to change your marriage. You can then push for the two of you to get help, give her an ultimatum, or whatever else seems right. You can do those things knowing you did your best to fix things. 

Even if your marriage does not improve, you will improve. You will be a better, stronger, more self-confident person. I think you will be happier and less driven by the thoughts and opinions of others. Regardless of what happens next, you will be better prepared for it, and you will not be a victim.

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Douglas H
Douglas H


I missed the challenge,  but I pretty much took it on myself about 6 months ago.  I have tried to be consistent in being more generous in all the love languages, as well as being open about what I was doing and what I hoped the response would be.

I can say that we went thru some serious hills and valleys,  both in the present,  and in confession and forgiveness of past wrongs,  but the general trend has been an improvement. Our best days are some of the best ever,  and the lows are not nearly as bad as they have been in the past, and we have enough good will towards each other to move beyond them quickly.  

There have been enough changes in each of us to fill paragraphs, but it is enough to say that we have re-kindled love, desire, openness and a belief that we will only get better together, while 6 months ago, we were roommates,  and occasionally friends.

It does work,  and it only takes one person to get the ball rolling.  One of the most influential posts  for me was the one you wrote  "who goes first".  I quit waiting, quit taking a step and then waiting for a response.  I just jumped in with both feet,  and started acting like a real husband,  and in a matter of weeks,  progress was evident, and has been building ever sense.



I know this is an old post, but ironically I spent all of 2014 doing just that. In September 2013 I realized that my marriage of 20 years was all but dead and all that was left was for one of us to call it quits. Not sure if that marriage could've saved but knowing that I had issues that would be toxic to subsequent relationships should this one fail, I decided to work on me. Though I told my wife what I was doing, I did not point out her faults or ask her to change in any way. I only stayed that our marriage was broken, and that I was taking responsibility for my actions.

Long story made short, within several months she joined me in rebuilding our marriage and two years later we have a marriage that most only dream of.


Paul I believe like you do, that when a husband becomes a better husband, the marriage becomes better.

Thank you for the specific challenge. I will send you an email to outline  my new book for you which is a type of workbook for husbands to be better men and husbands in 90 days. 

We can do anything for 90 days. Becoming a better husband in specific measurable increments is not only possible, it is fun! 

I had to create a new file. 

Rosemary West / forbetterorwhat.com
Rosemary West / forbetterorwhat.com

I would suggest that people trying this have some specific plans in mind. (Although spontaneity is good, too). It will be helpful to others trying to learn form this example, and to yourself when you look back on your progress, if you can say exactly what some of the things were that you did. For example, while I was working on my master's degree, my husband generously decided that he would cook dinner every night in order to give me more time to study. Some years ago I had a friend who became nicer when she resolved to stop correcting her husband's grammatical errors.

TheGenerousHusband moderator

@Rosemary West / forbetterorwhat.com The problem is knowing what will make a difference. Basic kindness is a given, but then it is down to love languages, personality, fears, frustrations and so much more. It can be a bit hit and miss. 

So I will give a mix of specifics and some tools for figuring out what is needed in each situation. I am also working on a way of tacking progress.

Rosemary West / forbetterorwhat.com
Rosemary West / forbetterorwhat.com

@TheGenerousHusband True, you may not know in advance what will make a difference.You may have to try a lot of different things. But if a discernible difference is made, it would be more meaningful, in terms of "proving" something, to be able to say, these are the specific things I did, rather than a general feeling of having been nicer. I think most of us, male or female, know the ways in which we fall short, even if we don't like to admit it. We also know the things our spouses have requested or complained about. Those would seem like good places to start.

TheGenerousHusband moderator

@Rosemary West / forbetterorwhat.com @TheGenerousHusband I run across men who really don't have a clue. Some of that may be not paying attention, but I also see women who are unwilling or unable to communicate what they want in a way men can hear. Women are far more intuitive, especially with other women, and I sometimes think they do not learn how to express themselves to men effectively.

Humm, good XY Code (http://bit.ly/1cb1lZy) post!


Well, I'm in.  I've actually been at this for most of the last year, perhaps not at the level you've described Paul, but at least partially.  And I can say our marriage is better than it was a year ago!  In '14, however, I do commit to "be nicer, be more generous, and give more grace."  I will trust the Holy Spirit to give me the necessary strength to do so as I have it not.  And I trust God to continue to work in my wife (who probably needs it less than me!) to draw us closer together.  Thanks for your encouragements and insights each day.  You're doing good work, Paul!

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