Laying the Bricks In Your Marriage

In his very helpful book What Did You Expect??: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage, Paul Tripp says the following very helpful words:

In his wisdom, God has crafted a life for us that does not careen from huge, consequential moment to huge, consequential moment. In fact, if you examine your life, you will see that you have actually had few of those moments. You can probably name only two or three life-changing situations you have lived through. We are all the same; the character and quality of our life is forged in little moments. Every day we lay little bricks on the foundation of what our life will be. The bricks of words said, the bricks of actions taken, the bricks of little decisions, the bricks of little thoughts, and the bricks of small-moment desires all work together to form the functional edifice that is your marriage. So, you have to view yourself as a marital mason. You are daily on the job adding another layer of bricks that will determine the shape of your marriage for days, weeks, and years to come.

Our marriages are the product of all the “little” moments we encounter each day. A marriage doesn’t become beautiful in a day and a marriage doesn’t fall apart in a day. Rather, each of our decisions, words, and actions add another “brick” to our marriage.

When, by God’s grace, I die to myself and serve Jen, I’m building something wonderful and good into our marriage. When, because of laziness, I don’t plan time for us to get out and away from the kids, I’m building something bad into our marriage.

It’s easy to coast and to think that these seemingly little things don’t really matter, but they really, really do. My marriage is the product of my actions. It’s the products of all the little, individuals bricks that I’ve laid down.

Does this mean that we are stuck based on our previous actions? Does this mean that there is no hope for change? Not at all. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we can slowly tear down old, sinful bricks that have been laid, and we can begin building a new wall.

So here’s the question: what sort of bricks are you laying?

The following two tabs change content below.
I’m married to Jen, and I have three kids. I know a lot about Star Wars, and I live in a van down by the river. I’ve also written a number of books, which people seem to like.


  1. Elaine says

    Here's a few examples of our bricklaying efforts: a wink across a crowded room, a walk on the beach, or sitting on the deck telling stories and sharing our dreams. It's been a wonderful twenty years of laying bricks, one by one. Trusting the Lord to give us many more. Thanks for a great post, Stephen!

  2. Sally Coleman says

    Hi Pastor Mark — My husband and I visited your church a few years as part of a small group from Holiday Park Baptist Church. I just wanted to say that I really appreciate your posts and find so much wisdom in them! Thank you for all that you share that helps so many…

  3. says

    Date Nights! Plan and make time for a weekly date night. What my wife and I do is trade off (watching each others kids) with my Sister-in-law and her husband. This is a double-blessing as we then get to serve someone else and enable them to have a weekly date night as well.

  4. Jeff Schultz says

    Great reflections and good questions.

    This also highlights for me how poorly our media-driven culture does at preparing people to enter into and experience real life. Movies, TV, pop music, advertising all communicate that "real" life is about exciting adventures, high drama, and life-changing moments. This is a good reality check on our own expectations, and on what we're communicating to our kids and our churches.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>