Do you sometimes wonder how you can show more love for your spouse?
In marriage, love isn't a destination where love flows forevermore. It's a long windy road with valleys and mountains, and blind turns and rough patches. It takes constant daily effort, rather than periodic grand gestures.
Here are a few things you can do that will make your journey that much sweeter.
1. Cool down or warm up the car
If you know ahead of time that your spouse has to drive somewhere, like to work or an appointment. Run out to the car and do what you can to make the temperature comfortable. In warm weather, run the air conditioner and slip an iced water bottle into the cup holder. In cold weather, turn on the heater and throw his jacket in the dryer for a few minutes to warm it up a bit. If you're the one who will be driving, bring along a warm blanket for your spouse to wrap up in in the passenger seat. This type of pampering shows how much you care about his or her comfort.
2. Offer an unsolicited back rub
Or hand rub. Or foot rub. Offer any of these without first being asked for it, and you're sure to make your spouse's day. It shows you're thinking about your spouse's comfort without him or her having to hint about it. When your spouse has to ask for it, he might feel like he is asking a favor, but when you offer the back rub, it becomes a gift you're giving, which means he will enjoy it all the more.
3. Take your time
Life gets so busy, it might feel like you're always in a rush. And, as is the way of life, you probably are often running a little late. It's during these rushed times that stress mounts and tempers flare, leading to hasty words and snippy comments that are often regretted, but unapologized for later. Knowing that this happens, start getting ready to leave the house 20 minutes or half an hour earlier than usual. Neither of you will feel rushed and you'll make it through the evening without raising your voices.
4. Make a meal
Choose a meal you don't usually make for your spouse and make it. It doesn't have to be fancy, but if you personalize it with his favorite toppings or sides, he will be all the more impressed by your thoughtfulness. Serve it or send it to work with your spouse with a simple "I love you" note tucked inside. If it's a meal he will eat at home, make sure you sit down and eat with him. Your spouse will love the devoted conversation as much as the food.
Babble blogger Chaunie Brusie says she likes to pack her husband's lunch for him each day. Not because she's a subservient housewife, but she says it's because, "I know he appreciates my efforts, and I feel all warm and fuzzy inside knowing that he understands my small gesture for him." She says it's her way of saying, "Thank you. I appreciate you."
5. Know your spouse's preferences
What are your spouse's favorite things? Don't just notice them, keep track of them, and then use that knowledge for special occasions or just day-to-day living. Does your husband love watching football? Keep track of how his favorite team is doing and their schedule so you can talk with him intelligently about it and not set up outings or appointments during game time. Does your wife prefer country music to rap? Let her know when her favorite bands are going to be in town and see if you can get tickets to the concert.
6. Support hobbies
It's important to keep up your interests and activities even after you're married. Encourage your spouse to pursue whatever hobbies he or she enjoys, from knitting to hunting, from geocaching to reading. Don't begrudge the space or time when your spouse wants to work on his or her hobby. After all, you'd expect him or her to do the same for you.
7. Tell your spouse why you love him or her
Sure, you tell your spouse you love him, but how often do you tell your spouse why that is? Christina Steinorth-Powell, a psychotherapist who specializes in couples counseling, told psychcentral.com, "Autopilot 'I love yous' aren't the same as telling your partner why you love them." For example, she said she likes to tell her husband, "You're the best thing in my life," while he tells her in the morning, "I'm happy to be awake and have another day with you."
8. Take care of each other
Nothing speaks of love quite so poignantly as rubbing your spouse's back while he or she is retching into a toilet. When one of you is under the weather, it's important for the other spouse to pick up the slack in the household and help care for the sick partner. Taking care of each other includes emotional needs as well. Be aware of when your spouse has important events going on in his or her life. Provide support when it's needed and before it's asked for.
9. Be accessible to each other
"Accessibility requires frequent physical proximity and emotional availability," according to Dr. Jonathan Sandberg, professor in the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University. "Common, modern threats to accessibility include physical separation from a partner (e.g., work, church, kids, travel, hobbies) and a multitude of distractions (e.g., technology, screen time) that prevent emotional presence."
A weekly date is one way you can provide accessibility to each other. It doesn't have to be a night out. You might just curl up with each other at home with a comfy blanket and a bowl of popcorn, and watch a movie. Or break out a favorite card or board game. Whatever you do, make sure you devote your attention to one another, and that means putting away electronics and making lots of eye contact. Be fully present.
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