Becoming a Marriage Expert – Romans 12:9-13

The author of an insightful blog post explains that much of the hard work we do is only practice, preparation for a masterpiece to come. He cited the book Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell, when he said it takes 10,000 hours to become the best at something, like 10,000 hours of singing or shooting basketball hoops or teaching or knitting.

PaulDelores crop 9-2012
My parents, Paul and Delores Sheldon

“Most artistic ventures, including writing, require you do most of it for practice.” – quoted from Dan Balow’s post on The Steve Laube Agency site.

Growing a great relationship with anyone takes work, but the effort to maintain a lifelong bond requires unending diligence. Like my garden has taught me, the weeds will come. If I don’t continually deal with them, aggressive plants will encroach on the strawberry and clematis vines and rob them of vital nutrients.

As a child I thought nothing could come between my parents. They certainly did not have weeds to pull to keep their union healthy, did they? I don’t remember seeing weeds, probably because they grew proficient at removing them before I was old enough to notice. They are good at marriage, but their union of 61 years is still a work in progress.

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality” (Romans 12:9-13 NIV).

The key words show action: sincere loving, hating evil, clinging to good, staying devoted, honoring others more than self, keeping spiritual fervor, serving God; being joyful, patient, faithful, generous; practicing hospitality.

It might take me more than 10,000 hours to become an expert, but I will keep practicing.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

By Kathy Sheldon Davis

Kathy Sheldon Davis, contributing author of the books "Jesus Talked to Me Today" and "Seeking His Presence," and a finalist for the Oregon Christian Writers Cascade award, lives with her husband, Jerry, in Junction City, Oregon. Kathy enjoys mentoring and editing for other writers, making strangers into friends, and celebrating holidays with her extended family. She has also written for Warner Press since 2016 and posts devotions on her blog at .


  1. The first thing I can think of is bringing up a subject my husband likes to talk about, adding a new twist or something humorous. This keeps us both more engaged. We also spend time together without electronic devices nearby.

  2. Excellent post, Kathy. Tim and I have been married 35 years, this December 27! I’d like to be diligent in investing in our marriage. Can you suggest a resource with conversation starters for our relational time – like when we connect in the evening, and on dates. Thank you!

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