I have met a lot of people recently who have broken marriages, who struggle to love their spouse, or who don’t feel loved by their spouse. In light of Valentine’s Day & this month of love, I wanted to share a little about my marriage & how we’re “making it” as a minority, in hopes that maybe it will empower someone to fight for their family instead of give up. Every couple & relationship is unique, but this is what works for us.
1. Love like Your Spouse Needs to be Loved
Frank loves me exactly right, exactly how I need to be loved. I have never once in 7 years doubted his love for me. The day that I realized that was the day that I realized he is MINE, to me from God.
I am a firm believer in the Five Love Languages, & it is SO important to speak the right language. Gary Chapman has several books out tailored for readers in all situations – married, dating, single, whatever. See below for links. I actually speak all the Love Languages nearly equally, which makes me pretty emotionally needy, ha. But Frank is just the same, & loves me in every language. It doesn’t always come naturally for every couple though, & if that is the case then you have to make a conscious effort. And if you love him/her, then you want to!
2. Love is an ACTION VERB
Frank & I consciously & actively love one another every day. Even though we naturally speak the same language, it is still a conscious effort. You can passively love someone, but if you aren’t actively expressing it then your passion will cool & your heart will begin to seek fulfillment anywhere that it can find it. I see so many couples not actively loving one another. They each lead their own separate lives & just seem to expect it to all work out somehow. You must choose, everyday, to show your spouse that you love him/her… regardless of how tired you are, how much he/she is getting on your nerves, etc. Those days will happen, but if you choose to actively love then those negative feelings pale in the light of your security & joy from your spouse’s happiness. I love the book The Love Dare & highly recommend it for express Biblical instructions on how to actively love, the foremost idea being to put your spouse before yourself. If you are each doing this, then you are each equally a priority & you both win!
3. Keep Your Eyes on Your Spouse
I loathe the term “eye candy” for many reasons, but especially in the context of a married person looking & not touching. This is not ok. Ever. I appreciate when another man is attractive, but only in the same sense that I appreciate a woman being attractive. If you allow yourself to entertain the possibility of being attracted to someone other than your spouse, then you open the gate for temptation to become more. Keep your eyes, mind, & heart heavily guarded. Keep them trained on your spouse & the family that you are building together, & you won’t have room to notice anything else.
4. Be Friends with Your Spouse
Frank is seriously my best friend. We hang out together, talk about everything, & we have so much fun. We really do not have many common interests, but we choose to take an interest in the things that the other enjoys just to spend time together. I love Harry Potter & he thinks it’s the dumbest thing ever, but he still watches the movies with me sometimes. He is into collecting guns & loves going to the shooting range, so if he wants me to go then I go! If I didn’t, he’d stop inviting me. If that happened, we would eventually grow apart because our lives would become separate. And we both end up having a great time; Frank makes fun of Daniel Radcliffe the whole time through the HP movies, & I have gotten pretty good at shooting. He’s proud of me at the range & that’s worth everything to me. I do believe separate identities & same-sex friendships are very important & that is something I have struggled with in the past, & deserves its own separate post. But your spouse ought to be your true partner in life, not just your roommate.
5. Share Everything
Share your Facebook. Soooo many problems seem to arise in marriages due to social media. Frank & I are very possessive & jealous; that is just our nature both individually as well as the nature of our relationship. We are a unit, two halves of a whole. It is only right that we look like it on social media. We share a Facebook with both our names, & the first thing in my Instagram bio is WIFE. I have our Facebook security settings on the highest level of privacy; if you don’t know us in real life, you have no business looking at us or talking to us. We aren’t looking to meet new people on Facebook.
Share your money! When you join your lives together, you should act as ONE unit. It doesn’t matter who makes more money, & all financial decisions should be made together. That’s the whole point of having a spouse! He/she is someone to tackle life with! Not someone to live alongside, parallel but never intersecting. Don’t begrudge your spouse his/her purchases for your own selfish purposes. Discuss them & decide together what your budget is & how your money should be saved & spent. You each want the other to have cool stuff, so just plan appropriately.
Share your secrets. Never keep secrets from your spouse. Secrets create space between you, & sometimes you don’t even realize it until the space is too big to bridge. If you can’t share it with your spouse, you probably shouldn’t be doing it. You love your spouse & would never want to hurt him/her, so just don’t. Put him/her before yourself & talk things over; with your spouse putting you before him/herself, either way you will win as a unit.
So, the best advice that I can give is to be selfless. Talk about these things in your premarital counseling, & consciously promise one another to always actively love. Frank & I were dating/engaged/married while my parents were going through a divorce after 27 years of marriage, a very tumultuous time for me. We had many conversations about what kind of marriage & life we wanted, how we wanted to be as partners, & we have never deviated from that.
How do you actively love your spouse? How will you actively love your future spouse?
Don’t forget to subscribe!