More on Daily Doses of Selfless Serving

Everyone wants to have a great marriage. When dating, couples will often think “How can our relationship be anything but perfect? We are so in love and we have no problems.” So what happens? Why is the illusion of uninterrupted bliss destroyed?

There is a component in most dating relationships that is unique. While dating, we tend to be other centered. We are generally more thoughtful, kind, and considerate. We go out of our way to do special things for each other. We are less inclined to make a big problem and have a long discussion over minor disagreements. We tend to see the best in each other. We are more forgiving and less apt to hold a grudge. There is a high degree of serving and loving each other selflessly.

What happens to relationships over time? Why does the euphoria of dating disappear to be replaced by the doldrums of daily life? Quite simply, for many couples, making their spouse a priority is replaced with other priorities.

Here’s how to keep the love alive and growing. Get in the habit; yes make it a habit, of doing kind selfless acts of service for your spouse. This can be accomplished in word and deed.

Praise and compliments should be the ordinary.

“Thank you, honey. That was a wonderful dinner. You’re such a good cook.”   or…

“Thanks so much for fixing that. It really helps me.”

The daily things we do for each other are often taken for granted. Verbalize your appreciation. Express your thankfulness with a hug and a kiss. Look for opportunities to verbalize your awareness that your spouse has done something for which you are thankful.

Selfless acts of service can take many forms. Never underestimate the power of a neck or foot rub. After a long day at work, if your spouse has to bring home some of that day’s work and is hunched over the computer long after dinner, sneak up behind him/her and begin a five or ten minute neck and shoulder message. Whisper something endearing about how his/her efforts every day are really appreciated.

And since I am a firm believer in reciprocity, the thoughtful selfless spouse can offer a relaxing foot massage to the wife who has been on her feet all day at work or taking care of the kids and shopping and cleaning. These simple deeds profoundly nourish the relationship. They offer daily doses of love.

You need to be the expert on your spouse. What acts of service or words of affirmation are most meaningful to them? ASK them and make a habit of making these a priority in your day.  Each day, find ways to serve your spouse. Nurture your love daily and before long it will seem like your still dating.

A Time For Everything

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailYou will find quite a list concerning time in Ecclesiastes 3. Take a few minutes to read it.

Consider these:

A time to Heal
A time to Build up
A time to Laugh
A time to Dance
A time to Plant
A time to Embrace
A time to Keep
A time to Mend
A time to be Silent
A time to Speak
A time to Love

 

How have you been using your time in relationship to your marriage? For many of us our relationship with our spouse gets the left overs.

We get it that we have to go to work and pay the bills and do the laundry and take care of the kids and fix the broken things around the house and mow the lawn and… and… and… The list has no end. There is always another item to add to the over-filled list.

Somehow, we accomplish so much but we are exhausted. Our spouse is exhausted. And when we find a few minutes here and there to give, we are emotionally empty and have little left for the most important person in our life. Leftovers!

How does this happen?

In Ephesians 3:15-16 we are admonished to

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.

Sometimes we let others set our priorities for how we spend our time. Begin to make the most of your time by setting your own priorities and limits. If you are pulled in many directions by your boss, or friends, ex, children, and extended family, then take time to consider your priorities and honestly assess how much quality time you are spending together with your spouse. Maybe you could set some limits so that your spouse gets more than just the leftovers. Be intentional with your use of time.

So, what about it? Want a better relationship? Look at the next three or four weeks and plan what days and times you will set aside for each other. Then, and this can be a little tough, especially for the hyper busy among us, set aside a weekend away together. No kids, no phones, no laptops, no leftovers. A full meal deal, so to speak!

Yes, a real getaway!  And here’s your   To Do List:

♥  a time to laugh

Photo by John Nyberg♥  a time to build up

♥  a time to dance

♥  a time to embrace

♥  a time to love

It Only Takes 5 Minutes

Sometimes when time is short we tend to focus on the urgent tasks and not on our loved ones.  But being busy isn’t an excuse to ignore our spouse.  He or she is just as important to us in busy times and really, when aren’t we busy?  If it is a chronic state for you, then it is crucial for you to think of some easy  and quick ways to show  your spouse you cherish him!

Here are some fun things you can do:

  • Going to the grocery today?  Walk through the bakery section to pick up a cupcake, a chocolate éclair, or something else your spouse likes. Share it after the kids go down.  Make sure to tell him why he’s getting treated.
  • When he is at the desk doing the bills give him a quick neck rub because you appreciate his efforts.
  • Make a big sign (the bigger the better) and hang it up in front of where he parks his car at home.  Say something endearing, like you’re glad he’s home.
  • Text him or leave a voice message during the day saying how you miss him.
  • Send him a love note in the mail to his place of employment.  Your perfume on the envelope is good!
  • Make a coupon for something he really likes, a massage, back itching, favorite dinner, or intimate activities. You know what he likes!  Be creative, but no expiration date…

None of these things take more than 5 minutes, yet they will speak volumes about your love and affection.  The fact that you took time and effort to think of your spouse during your busy day will confirm to him that he is important to you and everyone craves that feeling of being cherished.

So put your spouse on your task list and make him an “A” priority!

Just What the Doctor Ordered, Part 2

Last time we looked into the prescription for a superb marriage as presented by Ed Wheat, M.D. in his book Love Life For Every Married Couple.  His prescription calls for four therapeutic activities to enhance your relationship with your spouse and get the B.  E.  S.  T.  results.  Here they are:

Blessing, Edifying, Sharing,    Touching.

 

Let take a look at the last two, again with my editorial comments:

  • Sharing – We are reminded here that we are to share our lives.  A growing thriving relationship is built up when we do things together.  We can share our time, our interests, and hobbies.  We also should share our deepest concerns and fears.  Our spouse should be our closest friend and confidant, someone who knows deeply our innermost emotional, physical and spiritual needs and desires.  This level of intimacy only happens in an open and honest relationship that strives for ways to selflessly serve one another.  Why is selfless serving so important?  If your relationship is built upon each partner trying to get his or her needs met in a selfish demand context, then the very nature of sharing will be based upon “What can I get out of this?”  But when we build our relationship around serving one another, then our shared experiences can be enriched by knowing that our spouse is lovingly seeking to serve us.  By contrast, a dysfunctional relationship will have each spouse pursuing self-interests at the expense of a shared context.  This is what can be referred to as the “roommate relationship.”  You share the same living space you just don’t share your lives.
  • Touching – Physical touch is a cornerstone need for every human being.  We all long for the emotional connection of touch.  A gentle touch of the hand says, without a word, that we care.  We can communicate comfort, calm fears, and soothe pain.  A superb marriage will have daily doses of comforting and heartwarming non-sexual touch.  Holding hands while on a walk.  A gentle neck rub.  A soft touch of the cheek before a good morning kiss.  These forms of touch are especially important to women who often feel that men only touch in a sexual context.  Women generally appreciate the simple cuddling, snuggling, and soft gentle touches.  These touches warm the heart and emotions.  And when we are emotionally open and satisfied, we can enjoy the beauty of the more intimate touching between spouses.  Be generous with your touches.  This is clearly the most intimate way of having a shared life.  The dysfunctional couple will withhold touching as a sort of blackmail to get what they want driving a wedge into the relationship.  Selfishness is usually the culprit behind withholding physical touch.  Touch selflessly and generously and you will enjoy a deep and truly blessed relationship.

The B  E  S  T  prescription:   Blessing – Edifying  –  Sharing  –  Touching!  The good doctor has spoken.

Just What the Doctor Ordered

Many of have been to the Doctor’s office for one thing or another over the years.  We get a physical exam and we get poked and prodded here and there.  On occasion, we leave with a prescription for just the right medication that will fix what ails us.  Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could get a Doctor’s prescription for our marriage, some practical advice to apply on a daily basis that would help us to be close to our spouse, something that would provide the basic ground rules to get us to the happily ever after part?  I checked my book shelf and guess what?  The Doctor is in!

In his book Love Life  For Every Married Couple, Ed Wheat, M.D. set out four basic principles that will enable us to have a superb marriage.  Sounds like a great idea, right?  A superb marriage.  Fortunately, this author has simplified the process for us.  As a matter of fact, he has reduced the complexities of having a fulfilling love life to four simple actions.  Let’s take a look at what the good doctor has to say, with my editorial comments, of course.

Here is his B.  E.  S.  T. prescription:

  • Blessing – Our words, what we say and how we say it, set a tone for our relationship.  We can be totally in control of what we say.  We are reminded from scripture that we should not let any unwholesome word proceed out of our mouths but only such a word that edifies the listener.  We should speak well of our spouse even when we are confronted with harsh words that are critical and even insulting.  You can also bless with acts of kindness, thoughtfulness, and appreciation.  Dr. Wheat reminds us to be a blessing by praying for our spouse.  In thought, word, and in deed, be a blessing to your beloved.
  • Edifying – Here we are told that it is essential to lift one another up.  This concept can best be understood in the context of cheerleader.  You need to be the most supportive and positive person to your spouse.  Notice their every success and build their self-worth.  You are the voice that says “I believe in you” and “You can do it.”  You are vigilant to look for things for which you can praise your spouse, and things that make you thankful.  And you are generous with your verbal expression of that praise.  We need to be thoughtful about what we speak and ask ourselves, “Does this build up, or tear down?  What can I say that will encourage, strengthen and build up my spouse?”  The Doctor reminds wives to show respect and esteem their husbands and affirm and appreciate them.

Stay tuned.  Next time we’ll look further into the Doctor’s prescription.

Daily Doses

Isn’t it amazing how much we love to hear words of encouragement?  All too often our day is overloaded with critical comments.  We hear how we haven’t done this or that correctly, or we missed completing a certain task on time at work, or why didn’t we do something a particular way.  Before you know it, we are overwhelmed with feeling inadequate.  The negatives are surely outweighing the positives.  Come to think of it, what positives?

How would you like to make a huge impact on your spouse every day?  Well, it really is quite simple.  Think of something that you appreciate about your spouse and just send them a text.  “I really love it when you wear that special perfume!  It makes me think about you all day.  I can’t wait to see you later.  Love you, Your snuggle Bear!”  Now that may sound silly, but love can be silly.  It can be fun. It can make you laugh and put a big smile on your face.  Be happy together.  Send a crazy endearing little text once a day and see how it can light up your love for each other.  Wouldn’t it be great to send a daily dose of love and affection?  Well, the reality is that you can.  Just decide to do it.

How about taking a picture with your phone of your wedding ring on your hand and sending it to your spouse with a text that says, “Every time I see this ring it reminds me of you and I think to myself how happy I am that I married you.  I love you more each day.”  Is that mushy or what?  Sure it is.  But love should be mushy.  It’s cuddles and giggles and laughter and fun.  Life is too short to be serious all the time.  Sure, we need to pay the bills, and fix those broken things around the house.  But we’ll have those kinds of issues to deal with on a regular basis.  We can put some light spots in along the way by showing loving affection to each other daily.

Try a Daily Dose of love and see what happens.  You may find yourself feeling those mushy love feelings.  Oh my!

More Making It Count

So ladies, now it is time for us to make it count!

Did your husband ever do or say something that really made you feel special?  To have his undivided loving attention is like a refreshing shower, energizing your whole being. I bet you felt important to him, indispensable and cherished.  And you probably really liked that feeling!

So it is not hard to imagine that your husband would like to feel special too… that he is your hero, and you admire and respect him for his qualities.  Making each other feel cherished adds to the positive relational bank account that protects our marriages from the effects of negative, draining interactions that happen every now and then.

One major hindrance is busyness.  When I am working my way through an endless task list to keep the house running efficiently or get ready for an event, I tend to put relational needs on the back burner.  A few years into our marriage, Alan challenged me to think about putting him on my task list!  That was a big wake up call for me—just because there are tasks to be done doesn’t mean the people in our lives can be put on hold.  Tasks can wait.

We need to have an attitude of gratitude also.  Discontent saps our ability to see the positive in our husbands and the circumstances we’re in, causing a negative focus.  When we are thankful we are able to see what is good and true about people and situations.

So armed and motivated to make it count, what do we do?  Here are some suggestions:

  1. Every man wants to be admired, especially by his wife!  Verbalize what you like about his character, his body, what a leader or father he is, and the good work he does.  It costs nothing and your man needs positive affirmations from you.  Most men don’t know what you think unless you tell him, so say it, on a regular basis!
  2. What kind of affectionate touch does your husband like?  Maybe he likes to be massaged or scratched on his back, or neck.  Or a hug and kiss with a whispered promise for more later! Spontaneous touching is soothing and conveys love and acceptance.
  3. Write your husband a note now and then, expressing something you are thankful for about him.  Give it to him in his lunch or mail to his office.
  4. Pray for him.  He may not know it but what better way to support him in all he does than to bring him before the Lord daily.  It will help him and keep you thankful and humble also.

It is not very time consuming to give a hug or tell your husband he’s an incredible father.  If you have a hard time doing it, search your heart for resentment, ingratitude, or selfishness that causes you to withhold positive affirmations.  Pray about it.  Ask Jesus to reveal what holds you back and to help you break through.  Your own personal growth will contribute so much to your marriage.

 Remember it takes 5 positive deposits to your relational bank account to counteract 1 negative withdrawal.  Keep adding deposits, every day, and you will be making it count!