You love your spouse, even if they drive you crazy sometimes! But how well do you put your love into action in a way that speaks to them? Since it’s Valentine’s week, this is the time that a lot of us think about demonstrating love. But marriage is made up of many small and simple daily things that shape the relationship over time. Here are 6 tips to help you love your spouse well.
- Did you know that words only make up 7% of communication?
Only 7%!! Our tone, body language, facial expression, and actions are actually what does most of the talking. So when you say “I love you,” or share sweet & kind words, consider your nonverbals. Make sure everything is lining up to send the message you want to send. If the kind or thoughtful things you have said don’t seem to register, this may be what’s blocking the message. If you’re not backing up “I love you,” with some tangibles, what are you waiting for?
2. Know what makes them feel loved
Do you know what makes your spouse feel seen, known and loved? If not, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking! Ask your spouse how they would most like to receive affection from you. Asking what makes them feel loved is a great first step. They will be thrilled that you are interested and you will gain the information you need to do this well in a way that speaks to them.
3. Know how they best receive that form of affection
Chances are, you are best at showing love in the way you’d best prefer to receive it. But it’s extremely rare for both spouses to have the exact same love language. So clarify how they most desire the type of affection they crave. If they love gifts, you need to know if to them that’s something really special on their birthday, or if it’s to surprise them with their favorite snack on a random Wednesday. Maybe they have already let you know what they love, or are generous with dropped hints. If not, ask for a list of 5-10 ideas, create a shared note where you can both leave ideas, or use our Love Cans resource, to get a good idea of what speaks to them most.
4. Let go of the past and be present today
Maybe you tried to show love in the past, but it was not well received. You didn’t get the kind of response you expected. Maybe you feel guilty because in the past, you’ve had ideas of thoughtful ways to show affection for your spouse, but you never followed through. Whatever it is, don’t hang onto the past. Decide on how you want to move forward.
Being present includes considering your spouse, and what’s going on in their world. If you have a huge surprise waiting for them after work, but they had a stressful day, that will affect their reaction. If they don’t like surprises, that will too! You know your spouse well, so use that information, plus awareness and consideration of them, to inform how you demonstrate love.
5. Saying it still matters
We know words aren’t the biggest part of communication, but that doesn’t mean they don’t matter. They absolutely do. If you’re not convinced, take a quick peruse of how often the Bible mentions the power of words! In fact, the scripture is known as what? God’s Word! Our words need to clearly tell our spouse that we do love them. If you grew up in a home that never used the words, “I love you,” that might feel uncomfortable. But this is a great easy place to grow. Your spouse can’t read your mind, so it’s up to you to let them know the good, kind, or loving things you think about them.
6. It really is the small things
Though you might work in a big romantic gesture or a special gift now and then, nothing can take the place of the way you treat your spouse, day in, day out. The connection between you two is an ongoing building project. Just as your car needs the oil changed and the gas tank filled regularly, so your marriage needs to be tended and maintained daily. Say “Thank you,” and show appreciation for the small things they do. Acknowledge their hard work. Let them know how much you love seeing them engage with the kids and how that speaks to your heart. Give a hand-written card or note. Bring them a coffee or bake their favorite cookies. Small things, done consistently, will build a strong foundation of connection and closeness in your marriage.
This article was reposted and used with permission from Awesome Marriage
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