Sometimes, the simplest things speak the most profoundly.

As Jillian Benfield, a writer and mom-of-three, wrote on Facebook, she was recently contemplating the wisdom behind her great-grandfather’s key to 50 years of wedded bliss.

Give them the better toast.When a family member asked our great-grandfather the secret to being happily married for…

Posted by Jillian Benfield on Monday, October 29, 2018

When asked by a family member about his secret to a happy marriage, Benfield’s grandfather replied:

“Well, if there are two pieces of toast, and one looks better than the other, I give her the better toast.”

It may seem like a small thing, but maybe the small acts of thoughtfulness are what matter.

As Benfield pointed out, when you’re in the day-in, day-out reality of marriage, it’s easy to forget the small courtesies.

In fact, there’s a tendency to take your spouse for granted, assuming you can and will be forgiven for not offering the best side of yourself:

In the stress of running a house, working jobs, and raising kids, our spouses can often get the worse of us. When we have nothing left, we tend to feed ourselves instead of each other.

Over time, that approach could take its toll on your relationship. Which led Benfield to ponder the simple wisdom of her great-grandfather’s advice. If always putting yourself first can undermine your marriage, perhaps taking a second seat in the small things can strengthen it:

But what if we give our husbands and wives the better portion of what we do have? What would happen if we offer up the better toast, the bigger dinner helping, the better wine pour, the first shower, the last piece of cake, the best spot on the couch?

The idea is that the build-up of dozens of small gestures will help develop a deeper relationship, one where that consideration flows both ways:

Maybe if we consistently give more of our small things, it will open up room for bigger things to grow; we’ll see more grace, more affection, and ultimately build a stronger love.

The advice from Benfield’s great-grandfather resonated with many on Facebook. Some commenters were touched by the simple wisdom behind it.

While others reflected on how they try to practice this in their own marriage.

Benfield noted that, ideally, putting your husband or wife first is a way to ensure that you both get what you need — that this isn’t just the key to a good marriage, but also to happiness in general:

If we put our spouses’ happiness above our own, both husband and wife get fed. Well fed people are happier people, happier people have happier marriages. I think that’s what great-grandpa meant.

As she concluded, “Give them the better toast, you’ll be thankful you did.”

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