“The Three Keys”

by Deacon Derrick and Mistianna Barnes

“If you are too busy to love, you are too busy to live; if you are too busy to live, you are too busy to love.”
Matshona Dhliwayo

There are three key phrases your spouse really needs to hear on a consistent basis in order to feel really loved and cared for in your daily married life together.

The first phrase your spouse needs to hear on a daily basis is: “How Can I Make Your Life Easier?” It is a fundamental requirement of a sacramental marriage to seek to better your spouse’s life.

Derrick: I know that it seems like an overused concept but Communication is key to intimate relationships and it helps to be intentional about telling your spouse what they need to hear from you on a regular basis.

Mistianna: I am a firm believer in the concept that a thriving marriage happens when two people decide every day that they want to help each other live the most fulfilling lives possible. One way I communicate that to Derrick is by saying “What can I help you with to make your life easier?” or “What can I do for you today that will take some of the pressure off?”

Derrick: Even something as simple as picking up dinner because Mistianna doesn’t like to cook, could have a measurable impact on her stress level on a certain day… so keep your ears open for things that you can do to help the one you love!

The second phrase your spouse needs to hear on a regular basis is: “I Never Want To Stop Dating You!’

Mistianna: Just because I’m married to Derrick doesn’t mean I want him to stop asking me out and to stop trying to date me!. Whether it’s pre-planned or (better yet) a surprise, having your hubby take you out on date keeps your connection “hot and steamy” and growing over time.

Derrick: After 24 years together how do you keep things fresh?  All the restaurants have been sampled, going to the movies loses its appeal and going to the park is the same.  All of these things have the same problem. You are focusing on an event instead of your spouse.  Going to the grocery store or even Lowe’s can be lots of fun if you focus on the person you are with. So, I like to pick activities for date night that focus on Mistianna. Therefore, we can talk about our lives, our ambitions, and our relationship.

The third phrase your spouse needs to hear on a regular basis is: “You Are a Priority to Me!”

Mistianna: Something else I want Derrick to know on a daily basis is that I really enjoy having him around and spending time with him. That I value him and he is important to me.

Derrick: It’s easy to let your partner become less of a priority on your list when you slip from a “wanting” mindset to a “having” mindset. I work hard to tell Mistianna that she is a priority to me, that she is first on my list. I want Mistianna to know that she is the most important person in my life and I want to make sure she always feels that way.

Mistianna: Part of making your spouse feel like a priority is not taking your partner for granted. I feel it’s important to tell Derrick that “I’m so glad he is my husband.” Sometimes I see Derrick from a distance and I’m like ‘Wow, that is one ridiculously hot and handsome looking guy.’ And then I realize that I’m already married to him and I feel like the most blessed woman in the world.” Just saying true and honest statements like this that really build up Derrick and make him feel good about himself show him how important he is to me! They tell him that I choose him each and every day!

Derrick: The daily maintenance of your marriage is extremely important! You know what to do, now it’s time to put these three marriage tips into action! Commit to saying at least one of these three phrases to your partner in the next 48 hours.  The sooner you take action, the sooner your marriage can be a more life giving, loving and caring marriage. And, that is definitely something worth fighting for!

Deacon Derrick Barnes and his wife Mistianna were married in 1995 and were college sweethearts. They have one daughter, Kailee, who is in college at UK, and two fur babies Elvis and Presley Anne. They have been involved in a variety of Marriage Prep Programs in the Archdioese of Louisville for more than 18 years, as a sponsor couple, speakers at Foundations of Marriage and presenters for the Engaged Encounter.

In, 2012, Derrick was ordained a deacon and is assigned to Saint Margaret Mary Parish in Louisville, KY where he and Mistianna are parishioners and founders of SMM’s Marriage Ministry. Deacon Derrick and Mistianna are passionate about the Sacrament of Marriage and feel called to help others have happy and holy marriages. They are currently on the Leadership Team for the Louisville Engaged Encounter and speak and conduct workshops on a variety of marriage prep and marriage topics across the Archdioese of Louisville


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