Feel like your relationship with your spouse has become a bit boring? Have you been together so long that you are comfortable but no longer feel that initial “spark” you had when you first met and fell in love? Do you find there is little time for being together in the middle of work, children, and domestic obligations?
Most married folks have been in one or all of these scenarios at some point, so rest assured you are not alone. But what can you do to keep the flames or embers from dying?
My late husband used to remind me that he didn’t want to look at me when our sons were grown and ask, “Who are you?” In the midst of our own work and child-rearing, we made time (key words!) for regular date nights, coffee and quiet time together in the early morning hours, and time together after the boys were put to bed, often sitting on our deck or lying in the hammock. Sadly, my husband passed just days before our ninth wedding anniversary, but after over two decades of remaining unmarried, I still think like a married woman.
And this formerly married woman wants to help YOU reignite the spark in your own marriage!
Aside from date nights and other occasions that help couples keep the love alive, showing little (but powerful!) acts of love during the day and throughout the week can create reactions that might make your heart go pitter patter again!
One book that I think everyone-married or not- should read is Dr. Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages, originally published in 1992. Dr. Chapman’s extensive work with couples in conflict resulted in his philosophy that all of us have a “love tank” within us that is either empty or full, depending on whether our significant other is speaking our primary love language. You see, we all have a primary love language, and when it’s not being fed, issues arise.
What are the five love languages? Quality time, physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, and receiving gifts.
This love language concept is so big and spot on that it has expanded into books and programs for children, teens, and military families.
Want to discover your primary love languages and have your spouse learn or confirm his, too? Visit www.5lovelanguages.com to take the free assessment tests.
In the meantime, touch on all the love languages by doing the following:
1.Playfully rub his head. This little act of love, which speaks to the physical love language, can have a potent effect on your spouse. Just a few seconds of rubbing his head as you walk down the hall to put away laundry tells him you love him. Want to double up and make the effect even more potent? Tell him you love him when you rub his head, or say something like, “I think you’re pretty cute!” Be prepared for his reaction!
2. For no particular reason, tell him one thing you love about him. Couples should tell each other everyday-even several times per day- that they love each other. Outside of these declarations of love, however, we can speak to the love language of words of affirmation. Heartfelt comments such as “I am so proud of you for __________” or ” I think you are pretty great!” can go a long way in affirming your man. In fact, speaking positive affirming words about another can cause our own perceptions and attitudes to change, keeping us in a positive and loving mindset. The reaction on the receiving end will be icing on the cake!
3. Give him a simple, unexpected gift that you know will mean a lot to him. Gifts don’t have to be expensive. A love note, his favorite beverage or dessert, tickets to that movie he’s wanted to see, a framed photo of the two of you during a particularly happy time… all of these items can be considered presents of sorts and will speak to the heart of the love language of receiving gifts. And let’s face it: Who doesn’t enjoy receiving a little surprise gift now and then?
4. Do a chore or task he usually does. This can be a challenge, especially if your husband routinely does tasks you either don’t enjoy doing or don’t know how to do. Does he wash your car or cut the grass? Wash the car yourself, or break out the mower and start cutting! You can even double up on the love language of acts of service by preparing one of his favorite foods and encouraging him to relax while you take a load off his feet and schedule.
5. Do something together, other than watch TV. Quality time is a fifth love language that I think many couples mutually desire. What can you do together besides watch television? How about sitting on your porch or deck while sharing about your day? Take a walk around your neighborhood, or go for a bike ride. Quality time doesn’t have to cost a penny; you just need to make the time to be together. Do mix it up, though. Night after night glued to the television can make for complete boredom.
If it’s been a while since you have really shown any love to your spouse, you may want to pace these acts of love throughout the week rather than do them all in a day. You don’t want to set off the “what’s going on” alarm! DO expect positive results, though! You might get an idea of your mate’s primary love language in the way he reacts to one or two of the above actions.
As I always tell my clients who are trying to keep the fire of marriage burning brightly while wiping runny noses or dashing off to work after dropping off the kids, these little acts of love aren’t so little. They are powerful; and once you learn both you and your spouse’s love language, you can start to re-create sparkle in your life and marriage.
Ready for the “love blitz?”
1, 2, 3, 4, 5… GO!