Excerpts from

I Promise You Forever
by Gary Smalley

I promise to honor you

"Honor is a way of accurately seeing the immense value of a person made in God's image. God created each one of us a a one-of-a-kind person with unique gifts and a unique personality. He sees each of us as precious and valuable because He sees the innate worth He built into us."

"Honor is so simple. It means to value another person highly as extremely important and of great worth... Honor is not earned; it's a gift. It isn't purchased by your mate's actions... You give honor because you choose to give it... It's a decision you make..."

"When you married, you received a treasure of unfathomable worth." (pp 12-14)

I promise to install an emotional security system for our marriage

"What I am talking about here is... the security to truly open up and be known at a deep, initmate level without fear of being blamed, criticized, judged, or condemned."

"A safe marriage is one in which each partner loves the other simply because he or she needs it." (pp 18-19, 25)

I promise to listen and communicate with love

"I will value every word you speak as a window to your heart. I will honor your opinions, feelings, needs, and beliefs so that you will feel free to speak honestly and openly with full security in my love for you. I will be open with you in communicating my heart and will consider your feelings and needs in all my words." (p. 45)

I promise to learn what your needs are

"How do you discover what your mate's needs are? Well, you might consider just asking." (pp 62-63)

I promise to remember you are God's gift to me

"When you look for the good and honorable in your mate, you will find it. God instilled His glory into each of us."

"Regardless of what we believe about someone, whether positive or negative, we will find evidence to support that belief... If you choose to see your mate as a wonderful treasure, you will focus on his or her positive behavior as evidence of high worth. Both the positive and negative are always there. Which you focus on is your choice."

"Choosing to notice your mate's positive behavior is what the Apostle Paul said to do: 'Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things' (Philippians 4:8 NASB)." (p. 15, 17)

I promise to focus on your value instead of weaknesses

"Promise this dear person in your life that your love is stronger than his or her faults. He is a treasure you will honor and love in spite of his faults. She is more precious to you than anything in your life even if she does have a few flaws."

"In the words of Jesus himself, 'Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also' (Matthew 6:21). You decide what is valuable to you, and your emotions will fall in line and validate that choice." (pp 42-42)

I promise to work with you for a win-win solution to our differences

"I want to do a lot of things, but I can't just do whatever I want because I'm married to a person who has beliefs, needs, and feelings of her own. We love each other and neither wants the other to feel trampled on."

"So we operate by this rule: When we disagree, we don't move forward until both of us feel good about the solution. When my wife says to me, 'I don't want to move forward until you're happy,' I relax. She doesn't want me to lose. And because I love my wife, I don't want her to lose either. We use these three steps:

1. We communicate honestly and openly without judgment. We listen to the other's feelings, needs, and beliefs, and openly communicate ours. We don't try to change or pressure each other. We listen for the heart beneath the words.

2. We place on the table ideas and alternatives, discussing their pros and cons and testing each for acceptability to the other.

3. We find solutions that both partners like." (pp 54-55)

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