Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ways to Give More than just the Leftovers.

Why is it so easy to let the relationships closest to you slide? If you’re like me, family members are the first ones you take for granted. Last week I wrote about Giving Your Marriage More than just the Leftovers.

My husband is my best friend, but it’s easy to overlook him during daily routines with two teenagers excited about life and bursting at the seams to talk about everything. It’s easy to overlook him as I rush out the door to the supermarket, or get ready for an occasional evening out with girl friends. Through the ins and outs of life, we can end up going our separate ways in the same house if we’re not careful to cultivate oneness.

Is anyone with me here? I want to do more than cruise along and get by with minimum effort.  I want to grow in my marriage.

My favorite picture of marriage is from Ephesians.  The Message says it like this:

Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.

Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. ( Ephesians 5:22-25)

How to better understand and support my husband? How to better respond to his way of loving me? The following are areas where I want to grow:

  • Care for and invest in myself

It sounds like a contradiction to care for myself in order to invest in my marriage, but it’s one way I can make sure I have more than leftovers to give my husband. Other than caring for my spiritual growth, one thing I want to do this year is be more diligent about following the news. So far, it’s made for more stimulating dinner conversation because my husband follows as well.

  • Be fully present.

Do you ever notice how you can be sitting next to someone physically, but your mind is on another planet? You’re so caught up in your own thoughts and plans that you’re not really listening.  When I’m with him, I want to focus more on my husband and less on myself.

  • Encourage rather than complain and criticize.

Why is it that the day I married, I became more a daughter of Eve? I mysteriously became more prone to complain and criticize. Am I the only one who feels this way? Complaints and criticism drive my husband crazy faster than anything else. I want to be more intentional about encouraging him instead.

  • Remember that conflict can be a “win-win” opportunity to grow closer.

  • Thank him for all that he does for me and the kids.

  • Give him a kiss or a hug at least once a day.

  • Smile and say “I love you.”

These are ways in which I’m hoping to grow as a wife during 2012.

My question for you:  What is your favorite thing to do on a date with your spouse?


Alida said...

What a great post...I just tweeted it to share with others!

us5 said...

i've learned (via the Love and Respect Seminar) to just sit quietly beside my dh sometimes on our dates. to just be still, fully present, fully focused on being with him, but not having to talk. it's after some of these quiet times (that to me originally seemed so unnatural!) that he says what a wonderful time that was together, and how much he appreciates time with me. it's become a favorite 'date thing' for me, too, knowing how much it ministers to him...

OliveTree said...

That is beautiful, Barbara. A great idea I want to try. I'm more of a talker than my husband, and I want to be a better listener. This would help me and give him either a chance to be quiet or more a chance to talk.

Thanks, Alida.

momto8 said...

thank you for this.