If your schedule looks anything like ours these days, you understand the idealism of these words. While we have learned to include margin in our lives, there are always times when life gets busy. Finding time to connect during those times is incredibly important to our marriage. We believe it’s important to yours too!
Today’s marriage challenge is to consider what matters most to your spouse. Marriage requires effort and if you are going to make an effort to keep your marriage strong, make sure you are putting effort into the areas that matter most to your spouse. It’s possible to pursue a deeper friendship, companionship and love in the midst of living life, but it requires intention. Here are a few suggestions on how to use your efforts to most benefit your spouse.
1. Learn to speak your spouse’s love language. If you have read many marriage books, blogs or attended a marriage class/seminar you are probably aware of what these are. If not, do yourself a favor and do a google search for 5 love languages. It is incredibly important that the efforts and things we do for our spouse are being received. Effort applied in the love language that means very little to our spouse will leave us exhausted and them unfulfilled. If this is new to you, it can change your marriage. If this is very familiar information, are you doing it? Consider this a reminder to continue to meet your spouses love language needs with creativity and selflessness.
2. Connect throughout the day in a way that is meaningful to your spouse. Scott of Journey to Surrender has a great set of printables that may be found here. For the purpose of this post you will want to look at the printable for Her/His Love Me All Day List. Encourage your spouse to make a list of how you can show them love throughout the day (morning, day, evening, bedtime). This list can truly give you great returns for your efforts. This practical list can help foster an attitude of service and generosity in your marriage. It can help identify areas of opportunity that may otherwise be overlooked and it can help eradicate the stress of spending time doing what our spouse deems unimportant. We had so much fun filling this sheet out and gaining even better understanding of what each of us find particularly and practically fulfilling at different points in our day.
3. Narrow your focus and expectations. Many husbands and wives have incredibly long lists of what they believe a “good husband” or “good wife” should do/be. Those list of expectations are often founded on perfection rather than possibility. Lay down those expectations and start communicating with your spouse. We want to encourage you that it is possible to be a good husband and a good wife to your spouse. Ask your spouse for input into 3 areas they would like to see you develop or improve in as a spouse. What matters to them may not matter to you at first, but over time develop in yourself those characteristics and actions that really matter to them. We are not suggesting that anyone should be forced to change who they are, nor should these desires be held over our heads as a condition of love. But it is possible to graciously receive feedback from our spouse and apply effort to working on certain areas of our lives. Here is the way one wife explained how she became a three things wife.
So for today’s Marriage Challenge: Consider how you can maximize the efforts in your marriage by fulfilling and meeting the more specific desires and needs of your spouse.