The One Word That Can Radically Change Your Marriage

Gary says millions of couples have pledged “to love and to cherish” their spouses in their wedding vows  Most people understand the love part, but many don’t know what it means to cherish their spouse.  Gary believes by exploring what it means to cherish our spouse, we will enrich and spiritually strengthen our marriages.  He says love is the backbone, but cherish puts a polish on the relationship.  “I felt convicted by God that I was loving and not cherishing my wife,” says Gary.  Once he decided to cherish Lisa, their relationship changed.  “Marriage is a lot more pleasant when you cherish the person you’re married to,” says Gary.

Cherishing isn’t easy to do.  Gary reminds us of the scripture in Romans 12:2 “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  “It’s a new mindset,” he says.  It’s vital to look at our spouses as if he or she is the only man or woman in the world.  “Let her be, in your mind, the only woman in the world.  That eliminates comparisons,” says Gary.  Start showcasing your spouse.  Gary likens cherishing in a marriage to a couple dancing ballet.  The best male ballet dancer knows that his role is to showcase the female dancer’s beauty.  A female ballerina can do and attempt more than she could in a solo endeavor with a gifted male dancer beside her.  “Our job is to showcase our spouse’s best sides so they can become and do more than they ever could do on their own,” he says.

Dr. Hugh Ross is a Canadian astro-physicist who has spoken at Gary’s church, Second Baptist.  Gary learned from Dr. Ross that he functions on the high end of the austistic spectrum.  When Gary talked to Dr. Ross’ wife, Kathy, he learned that she looked for ways to help her husband and did so even before they were married.  Dr. Ross is passionate about science and God and his intellect has opened many doors, but his autistic tendencies impaired his influence.  So Kathy helped him get a haircut, change his style of clothing and helped him learn to look at people when he talked.  Soon she felt her heart moving romantically toward Dr. Ross who also found his heart yearning for Kathy. Too.  They dated, married and today have been faithfully serving the Lord together for decades!

Gary says the opposite of love is apathy.  He says the opposite of cherish is contempt.  “We are either ascending towards cherish or descending towards contempt,” says Gary.  There is no status quo in relationships; we cannot remain the same.  “Contempt is the default position if we don’t consciously cherish our spouse,” he says.  Practice cherishing your spouse.  If you cherish a car, you wax it to protect it.  In social circumtances, protect your spouse.  Once, Gary says one of his friends and spouse were running late.  That husband was quick to point out it was his wife who made them late.  Gary reminded his friend that this behavior was wrong.  The key to cherishing is in James 3:2. “We all stumble in many ways.”  Gary says we are asked to cherish someone who messes up a lot.  “Preach the gospel to yourself every day,” he says.  “When you receive God’s favor, you can pass it on to your spouse.”  Otherwise, we have a tendency to draw what we need from our spouses instead of God.  “I need to receive from God every day,” says Gary.  “That way I know God still delights in me no matter what I’ve done.  If I can do that for myself, I can do that for others.”

Gary says the more he cherishes his wife, the easier and more natural it becomes for him. “The more you do it, the more it happens,” he says.  “I wrote the book when I honestly felt like cherish was something that could be learned."

Mentioned in the Video

Guest Info


Author of 18 books which have sold over 1 million copies and been translated into more than a dozen languages

His latest: Cherish, Zondervan 2017

His book, Sacred, sold more than 700,000 copies

Has spoken at conferences, retreats and college campuses in 49 states

Has helped thousands of couples through his Sacred Marriage seminars

Has authored more than 150 articles published in major magazines such as Christianity Today, Moody, Charisma, etc.

Master’s Degree, concentration in Systematic Theology, Regent College

Vancouver, BC

Homorary Doctorate, Western Seminary

Married to Lisa for 32 years

3 children


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