We say we love our spouse, but do our actions show it? Love needs nurturing —your marriage relationship needs nurturing.
One thing I’ve noticed is how few married couples keep the P.D.A. (Public Displays of Affection) going after they marry. Before marriage, their “love” is pretty obvious —they’re practically all over each other —sometimes a little too much. But later after the wedding, when they’re out in public, you’re fortunate to find them in the same room.
I’ve noticed this. A LOT. And it bothers me A LOT. Yes, I know that we all have our own styles of expressing love, but isn’t love and affection supposed to go hand in hand with each other, when it comes to marital love? Why does it stop after we say, “I do” or after the honeymoon is over?
I read something that marriage expert, Diane Sollee, once said that I believe has some truth to it. She said, “Married love doesn’t commit suicide. We have to kill it. Though, it often simply dies of our neglect.”
That’s where I’m thinking that P.D.A.’s go, and in some homes, even P.A.A’s (Private Acts of Affection).
My husband Steve and I are still affectionate in public and at home —even after 40 years of marriage. And we wouldn’t want it any other way. We’ve also seen that it inspires others to show more affection to each other. And that sure aint all bad!
After all, we’re told in Hebrews 10:24, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” So I guess we’re on the right track.
But we don’t continue to demonstrate our love by being affectionate to each other to put on a show, but to feed our love for each other. As David Mace says,
“One of the great illusions of our time is that love is self-sustaining. It is not. Love must be fed and nurtured, constantly renewed. That demands ingenuity and consideration, but first and foremost, it demands making the time for each other.”
And we do. E. Sanna points out something we’ve learned
“As we juggle our busy lives, it’s too easy to let our marriages fall into the background. We’d never say our marriages weren’t important, yet we often act as though they’re not.”
And then she gives great advice, “Make your marriage your number one priority after God.” We do and hope you do, or will “from this day forward” starting today.
So, to help you in this mission, the following are some pieces of advice from those who know what their talking about, concerning nurturing love in marriage.
To do so, please don’t neglect to:
• Show common courtesies to your spouse.
“Think of all the insensitive behaviors toward our spouses which we feel are covered by ‘love’: forgetting to use words such as ‘please’ and ‘thank you;’ coming home late from work without calling first; ignoring basic needs as encouragement, intimacy and conversation. Then think what might happen to your relationship if you began treating these needs like your marriage depended on them.” (Win Couchman, from “The Couples’ Devotional Bible”)
• MAKE time, FIND time to spend with each other.
“One of the great illusions of our time is that love is self-sustaining. It is not. Love must be fed, nurtured, and constantly renewed. That demands ingenuity and consideration, but first and foremost, it demands making the time for each other.” (David Mace)
• Fight for your marriage.
“Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved.” (Barbara Johnson)
• Bring back P.D.A. into your relationship. It nurtures love.
“Bring back physical affection. Reach out and touch each other affectionately. Hold hands. Share kisses and hugs.” (Whitney Hopler, from Crosswalk.com article, “Create a New Marriage …with Your Same Spouse”)
• Initiate small acts of kindness.
“Small but frequent gestures of affection and care may appear to be insignificant, but grouped together over days and years they become the undeniable evidence of your highest love and deepest devotion.
“Perhaps more than anyone, marriage partners need to remember the worth and beauty of small things —the tiny, seemingly insignificant gestures that often go unnoticed by long-married spouses. It is through these acts of consistent, tender selflessness that you and your mate’s aloneness may eventually be dispelled.
“Grand gestures say, “I choose to care about you.” But the tiny acts of generosity, the briefest words of reassurance, the unexpected hug, an admiring glance, and the offer of assistance when you didn’t ask for it —these tiny offerings loudly say, ‘You matter to me.'” (Ronn Elmore, from the book, “An Outrageous Commitment”)
• Look for opportunities to give without being asked.
“A foot rub given when your spouse’s feet are tired and swollen, or a back rub when they’re hurting after a long day, or a cold glass of ice water given when they’re outside working in the hot sun are priceless gifts when given lovingly and without being asked.” (Steve Wright of Marriage Missions International)
• Show that you value your spouse.
“Pay attention to your spouse, making him/her feel valued. ‘When you speak to your partner, take the time to look into one another’s eyes. Look up from the TV or computer. Notice when your partner looks especially nice. Look at your partner with eyes that see and listen with ears that really hear. It may seem a small thing but it makes a big impact. Make eye contact when you say goodnight. Go to bed at the same time.” (Gail Rodgers, from Growthtrac.com article, “You Can Have Straight A’s in Your Marriage”)
• Speak to your spouse in respectful ways.
“He who guards his lips guards his life; but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.” (Proverbs 13:3) Ask yourself if what you’re saying to your spouse is respectful. God’s Word tells us to be careful and helpful in all we say. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29)
• Choose to be happy.
“’Happiness is a choice. My husband and I have been married 29 years and we have chosen to be happy. Every morning when we wake up we choose to enjoy our day with each other. We choose to be happy.’” (Advice given on Happywivesclub.com)
• Find ways to show you care.
“Make the choice to speak and behave in loving and caring ways toward each other. We must do the things we once did when we beheld each other strictly through the eyes of affection and tenderness.” (R. and C. Moeller)
• Don’t get so comfortable in your marriage that you forget to cultivate love.
“A friend of mine recently celebrated her fiftieth wedding anniversary. ‘If there’s one thing I’ve learned about marriage, it’s to never get so comfortable you cease to cultivate it,’ she told me. At first her words amazed me. How much cultivating could a fifty-year marriage need? But I’ve come to realize everything requires constant care to survive. Our house needs a fresh coat of paint, highways need resurfacing, and a marriage needs a fresh coat of love.” (Mayo Mathers, from article, “Did I Take This Man?”)
• Make sure your attitude towards your spouse is “catchy” and reflects the love of Christ.
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 2:5) “Your attitude affects the attitudes of those around you. So, why not start your day with a smile, an attitude of gratefulness, or a patient word? Let your attitude ripple out to others (especially your sweetie).” (Lori Byerly of The-generous-wife.com)
• Give the gift of time to spend together.
“If you’re two people who seem to only pass in the hallway and exchange scheduling of who’s taking the kids where, perhaps you should schedule the time to spend with one another.” (Stu Gray)
• Continually examine your priorities.
“How important is your spouse and your marriage to you? Realize that your priorities and your actions give the honest answer to this question. Your children are catching more than they are being taught. In other words, your actions are teaching them what you really believe. What you say means much less when your actions don’t match the words. Nurture your marriage.” Be pro-active in doing so! (From Agrownupmarriage.com article, “Children Catch More than They are Taught”)
• Touch each other (sexually and non-sexually).
“The boost of connection you receive from human touch is huge. And every touch doesn’t have to be sexual in nature. Sure, sexual touch is important and will increase the connection, but so will non-sexual touch. Hold hands, hug, sit close beside one another, and cuddle. Each little (or big) gesture can cause a boost of Oxytocin (the bonding chemical) for both of you.” (Corey, from Simplenet.com article, “Don’t Bother Rekindling Your Marriage …Create Something New”)
ALSO — For some pointers on this, please read Paul Byerly’s blog from The-generous-husband.com web site:
• Talk to each other.
“You may be thinking, ‘but I talk to my spouse.’” It’s not “about discussing family business. When I say ‘talk’ I mean dream together, share your thoughts, expose your feelings… Turn off the TV, put down that magazine and look into each other’s eyes while you converse. Listen and understand. If your spouse is distracted, then ask him or her to carve out 10-15 minutes to catch up.” (Sabrina Beasley, Familylife.com article: 10 Ideas: Surprising Ways to Increase Romance”)
• Be careful of how you talk to your spouse.
“You know what happens when you open a soda can that’s been shaken, right? Because it makes such a huge mess, most folks wait until the pressure inside the can subsides before popping the top. Try that with your mouth the next time you’re ticked off and ready to explode verbally. Wait until your emotions subside, THEN open your mouth. It’s the way to keep from making a huge mess in your marriage.” (Kevin B. Bullard)
• “Look for opportunities of being restful with your husband (or wife).
“After a long day have a leisurely meal. Take a walk. Sit on the porch and hold hands. Give each other shoulder rubs. Work in the garden together. Do whatever is relaxing and fun …together.” (Lori from The-generous-wife.com) “Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.” (Ovid)
• “Tell your spouse you love them daily.
– “Kiss often and kiss long.
– “Hold hands when walking —anywhere.
– “Send unexpected texts to your spouse letting them know you’re thinking of them.
– “When they call during the day, make sure there is a smile in your voice reserved for them.” (Tom and Debi Walter, from Theromanticvineyard.com article, “It Takes Time to Make Time”)
• Whenever possible, extend grace.
“Realize you’re capable of doing the very same things (or similar) that you dislike in your spouse. By being understanding and extending grace, you’re hopefully putting on reserve a deposit in your spouse’s bank of understanding so when you’re someday in the same situation, he or she will extend grace to you, as well. Remember this: Grace is the glue that holds the two of you together.” (Cindi and Hugh McMenamin, from Crosswalk.com article, “Extending Grace When You’d Rather Get in Your Spouse’s Face”)
• “True love is lived out as we give beyond the minimum.”
“Some spouses do the minimum necessary to get by. They figure out the minimum amount of love, respect, appreciation, housework, sex, or whatever their spouse will tolerate, and do no more than that. …That doesn’t sound like love!” (Paul Byerly, from The-generous-husband.com article, “How Little Can I Get By With 2”)
It’s important to remember:
“Let us not love with just words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:18)
Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this blog.
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