What if Everyday Was Valentine’s Day In Your Marriage?

Love is Valentine's Day Every Day

Every year around this time my wife says these words to me:

 

We don’t have to do anything special for Valentine’s Day.  You show me you love me every day, we don’t need a special day for that.

While I know that this sentiment is sincere, this is dangerous territory for a man.  It makes me nervous, like a pop quiz. This kind of statement is in the same family as these:

You don’t have to get me a gift for Christmas, I have plenty.

A toaster would make a wonderful gift, it’s something I’ve needed for a while now.

Potted roses are much better than cut roses. Then we can plant them and enjoy them year after year.

And my personal favorite:

Tell me if I start acting like my mother. (I actually saw this one on a metal sign at Hobby Lobby)

Now, most men I know don’t really know why these types of statements are dangerous, they just get a tingling feeling when they hear them that says, “I better pay attention to this, if I get it wrong, there will be trouble.”

You give these statements respect. Kind of like an elephant. They seem gentle and innocent enough, but you know they outweigh you by a couple of tons and have large tusks.

“I” Is Less Than “We”-Why Love Requires Selflessness

Why Love Requires Selflessness

Love is an action.

I once heard a story about an older pastor and his wife that were doing marriage counseling with a young couple.  The couple shared a couch and they were seated so close together that you couldn’t slide a piece of paper between them. Meanwhile the pastor and his wife traded loving glances from across the room.

So which couple was more in love?

Something amazing happens when you are in a vibrant and thriving marriage.  You tend to grow closer together and you show it in different ways than you did when you first fall in love.

Love changes from a noun that you fell into to a verb that you do.

Bob and Kiddie

Bob and Kiddie met when they were just twelve year old kids.  The year was 1932. Her name was Elaine, but he said she looked like a little kid and so the name Kiddie stuck. They grew up together in church.  They were married in 1944 and he served in the Navy in the Pacific.

They were married for almost sixty-five years until he passed away.  In fact, his funeral was the day of their sixty-fifth wedding anniversary.

I had the honor of officiating over the funeral.  Bob was my grandfather.

Put each other first

If there is one couple that taught my wife and I how to love one another as husband and wife, it was my grandparents.

They always exhibited a tenderness and selflessness with one another.  They truly made love an action.  No matter what, she was first for him and he was first for her.

The word soul-mate gets tossed around casually, but these two were truly made by God for one another.

Antique Valentine

Get rid of selfishness

In any relationship, but especially in a marriage, there is no room for selfishness. Perhaps you are thinking about getting married or you are married.  It is a daily battle sometimes to put aside your own interests and instead look to the best interests of your spouse.

It doesn’t necessarily come naturally, but it is vital to the success of a marriage.

“I” is less than “We”

When you get married you no longer are two individuals; the bible says you are “one flesh.”  To get a picture of what that looks like imagine two colors of PlayDoh.  If you were to mix them together you would still see the individual hints of the color woven throughout the mix, but it would be impossible to go back and separate them.

This is how your marriage is.

What is cool about this, though, is that together you make a wholly new and beautiful entity.

Even better than that is that you are stronger as a couple than you are individually.

If this is the case, then in marriage you either both win or both lose.  It can’t be a competition between the two of you.  When you fight for what you want as an individual, you weaken what you can accomplish together.

“I” is always less powerful than “We.”

When you join your lives and your wills together you create a bond that is stronger than either of you could be individually.  You will accomplish more that is worthwhile and a develop a legacy that will last for generations.

Take a bold stand

So how is your marriage relationship?

Is there something in it that needs to be changed?  Perhaps you have been putting what you want before what she wants.  Maybe your dreams are dwarfing his dreams.

Take a bold stand now.

Decide to communicate today with one another about the status of your relationship.  Make a point of dying to self each day and putting your bride or groom first.

Take care of the precious gift that is your marriage.   You want to be the type of couple that still lights up from across the room when your spouse enters it.

You want to be the type of couple that is strong and holds fast through the ups and downs of life and is devoted to the good of one another.

This type of couple is what the world sorely needs and is a force to be reckoned with.  This type of couple changes the world.  This type of couple raises godly children grounded in their faith and intent on changing their world.

This type of couple knows that love is a verb and it requires action.

They realize that I is always less than We.

 

 

 

3 Ways To Keep The Love Tank Full

Love TankDo you ever get the feeling that the person that you love more than anything is drained?

Life is a grind. It can chew us up, wear us down, and spit us out. With the constant demands placed on us of work, education, finances, sports, family obligations, church obligations, raising kids, taking care of parents, illness, and whatever else you can think of-life can be tough.

If you have been around a while you can surely relate. If you are married perhaps you have seen this to be true in your spouse. We all have a “love tank” that can be filled up and poured out. Life drains it; it is up to us to fill it up for one another.

One of the things I have learned in my marriage is that your spouse needs you to be a safe harbor for them to shelter in from life’s storms. My wife needs to know that she can come to me to be filled up and recharged in order to go face the world again.

Really important point #1

Pay attention and identify your spouse’s needs– sometimes even before they do.

I just celebrated my fourteenth wedding anniversary. I am blessed to have been blessed with a wife that knows me better than I know myself. When something is bothering me my wife knows it. Sometimes she knows what it is that is bothering me before I do.

This is important!

To get to this level of understanding of one another it takes more than just an occasional question. It takes more than just a quick debrief of the day before you fall into bed.

It takes constant attention and work to maintain and improve this relationship.

To truly know your spouse, you have to observe and listen and learn what it is that bothers them or breaks their heart. You have to be the one that asks God to speak to you about how you can love them better, indeed to love them like Jesus loves you.

Really important point #2

Learn what your spouses love language is and begin speaking to them in that language daily. 

Perhaps one of the greatest tools available to you to help you in your relationship is Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages. If you are not familiar with it, you can find more information about it here.

This book is so important, I believe it should be required reading before you get married.

The basic premise of the book is this: each person feels loved in one of five different ways:

  • Acts of service-doing something for that person (takes the burden off of them)
  • Words of affirmation-telling them they are worthwhile (you are amazing and talented)
  • Quality time-spending time together (can be just sitting and watching a movie)
  • Physical touch-just like it sounds (can be as simple as just holding hands in public)
  • Receiving gifts-bringing or buying a gift (flowers, chocolate, jewelry, etc.)

I would encourage you to go here and take the quiz to see what your love language is. Also, have your husband or wife do it as well.

I think that you will find what makes you feel loved may not be what makes your spouse feel loved. This is ok. That is why God put you together!

What tends to happen is that we give love to our spouse in the way that we would like to receive it. For example, I feel loved by receiving words of affirmation. So when you comment on this post and say, “Jesse, that was really insightful writing! Keep up the good work!” It makes me happy.

My wife feels loved when I have done acts of service. This means if I do the dishes or fold the laundry or take the kids somewhere for her she feels loved. If I try to compliment her on what a great Mom she is or how good dinner was she will appreciate it, but it won’t resonate the same way as an act of service.

Once you recognize your love language and that of your spouse you may begin to see that you are showing love in a way that you want to receive it rather than how your spouse would most feel loved.

Really important point #3

Recognize that you can never, ever invest too much into your marriage relationship to help it grow, mature, and blossom.

I have been married for fourteen years, but I still can improve upon my marriage.

This past weekend was one of the best weekends we have had in our marriage. A lot of factors went into this, but in marriage sometimes it is good to remember that you can still surprise each other and show love to one another in new ways.

You can never love your spouse too much

or put too much effort into your marriage.

It just isn’t possible.

When I remember that my marriage is a picture of how Jesus loves the church, it inspires me to love my wife deeper and more fully every single day.

Why wouldn’t you want to learn and grow and treasure the one that God joined you together with for eternity?

If you haven’t yet taken the Five Love Languages quiz yet, do it and post your love language in the comments below and let me know if you think it is an accurate representation of how you feel loved. I’d love to know what you think.