Every Wednesday on this blog we talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and then you all comment either in the comments section, or by writing a post on your own blog and then linking up here!
Last Sunday Keith and I gave a sermon at a friend's church on communication. We opened with this quick video (less than a minute; you have to watch it):
You see? Communication matters. Too often we're not speaking each others' language.
And no where in that more evident than in the way we express love to one another. When Keith and I were first married, I said "I love you" to him several times a day, because that's what I wanted to hear. But Keith didn't want to know that I loved him; he wanted to know WHY I loved him. At first I was resentful that he didn't seem all lovey-dovey when I said it, the way I did when he said it. But then I clued in that we weren't really speaking the same language.
I learned to say, "You are such a compassionate man. You're going to make a great doctor." And I learned to say, "I love the way you read to the kids last night. They are so blessed to have you as their father."
Then, when we were walking through a valley in our marriage after our son died, and life was really tough, a counsellor suggested that we make lists of what the other person could do to show love to us. The rules?
1. They had to be small things that would take relatively little time. 2. They had to be free (or nearly free) 3. They had to have nothing to do with sex.
It's kind of along the lines of the Five Love Languages, but it was more specific, and the things were just small things. We wrote out about a dozen and then exchanged lists, and promised to try to do 1-2 a day, even when we were feeling blue.
A lot of mine were little; kiss me as soon as you come in the door, and don't go to the kids first. Tell me you love me. Do the dishes with me. It isn't hard to come up with things that mean a lot to you, but which aren't big deals.
And you can change the whole dynamic of your marriage if you just commit to doing these things every day. It's a way to say "I love you" even if you're suffering from depression, or grief, or hormones! It's a way to say that I value you even if you're walking through a difficult part of your marriage, trying to forgive a big thing. It's a way to show that you're still committed, even if things really aren't going that well right now.
And you'll find that as you do take these little steps, you start to feel better about him. You enjoy having someone to fuss over.
So why not make a date, sometime in the next two weeks, to sit down and write lists together? Make a game out of it! Exchange lists. And then commit to do those things.
Thirteen years after making our lists Keith still kisses me as soon as we walk in the door. And that's really special.
What about you? Do you have advice to keep your marriage strong? Leave a note in the comments, or write your own blog post and come and link back in the Mcklinky!
About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.