In the earlier years of our marriage, Valentine’s Day (aka Love Day) loomed in the horizon when the calendar flipped from January to February. We waited for the day clunking aimlessly around with our unspoken and residual unmet expectations. For years, we bought into the commercialization of the day. The 15th of February came with sadness, disappointment and hurt. Our “Love Day” wasn’t always a flop but I must say that chocolate was sometimes one of the few things that turned out right. Can you relate?
My husband and I have been married for nearly three decades. Over these years, we’ve learned a thing or two from the truest form of dumb luck, some things from wise counsel and even more from the school of hard knocks. Throughout our years and tears, we have learned that love is a verb, not a day.
Some acts of love come naturally but others need to be purposeful and planned. One thing we try to do, from our experience, is to remember that love should be expressed every day of the year. If our focus is on the value of expressing our love to each other every day, then when February 14th rolls around, it will be just another love day, not THE love day.
We don’t always get it right in our marriage but we believe in being persistent until we’re consistent. With this in mind, I’m offering up several ways that you may find helpful in persistently showing love to your spouse on 365 days of the year.
Pray for each other.
Praying for our spouse is always a good and loving thing to do. In good times and in bad, we will find that praying for one another has a powerful way of changing the pray-er and the pray-ee.
Discuss spiritual matters.
What is God teaching you? What are you struggling with? Did you read a scripture that puzzled you or maybe one that encouraged you in some way? Talk about it.
Date your spouse.
Our dates may need to be ridiculously creative but it is possible in every season and with any budget. We make time for what we value. It is so imperative that we make dating each other a high priority early in our marriage so that when the kids leave the nest, we don’t sit across the table from one other looking into the eyes of the unknown.
Discover each other’s love language.
Knowing our spouse’s Love Language can streamline filling a love tank in record time. For example, if your spouse’s love language is Acts of Service, skip the fancy dinners out and serve up a frozen pizza and a foot massage instead. This is one area where it truly is the thought that counts.
As per the advice of a wise counselor, at any given time, one of us will simply say, “What are your three feelings?” Then we take turns sharing three words for how we are feeling at that moment and let the conversation begin. Sharing our emotions with each other is a vulnerable and very necessary act of love.
Do healthy things.
Taking the initiative to stay physically healthy will speak volumes of love to our spouse. We like to know that each other plans on sticking around for a while. Plan a healthy dinner together. Make the appointment for that annual checkup that you’ve been putting off. Take a walk. Which brings me to my next point.
Walk side by side.
Granted there are situations when it’s necessary to walk single file, perhaps through a crowd, but generally speaking, walk beside one another. Holding hands is a good way to ensure that we do.
Support each other’s dreams.
If we don’t know what our spouse’s dream is, find out. Then support, encourage and cheer them on. Afford each other the space to pursue it. Rearrange the budget if needed. If we can come up with a dream to pursue together, even better.
Using the word “let’s” with your spouse promotes engagement. “Let’s plan a vacation.” “Let’s go to the store together.” “Let’s get the kids to bed early and watch a movie.” Emphasizing the “US” and initiating togetherness in our marriage can be a major tank-filler.
Keep your eyes on YOUR prize.
Don’t let the eyes of your heart wander. Just don’t. Ever. See your spouse as a gift from God. A treasure to care for and protect.
Whatever day of the year you happen to be reading this, happy “Love Is a Verb” day!
What will you do today to love your spouse deeply?
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:8-11
Andrea Stunz has been a Christ-follower from the age of seven. She is the loyal wife to one, loving mom to three amazing adult children, grateful mother-in-law and ridiculously proud grandmother. A well-traveled Texan, having lived in Brazil, Asia, and the UK, Andrea finds joy in her family, grace in her friends, beauty in a story, purpose in the sunrise, wonder in her travels, and hope in Colossians 1:17. Andrea longs to encourage others by sharing stories because “a story worth living is a story worth sharing”. Find more from her at AndreaStunz.com.