What Have You Done For Your Marriage Today?

The Catholic Church is running public service messages and billboards in different parts of the country asking, “What have you done for your marriage today?” The campaign is aimed at encouraging people to make small investments of time and love in their marriage. Last post, we discussed how it’s so easy to give children all of our time and attention in “Who Gets More of Your Attention—Your Spouse or Your Children?”

Today, we’re looking for solutions and ways to show we care. I’m providing a couple of options—one for the busy slackers like me who often feel overwhelmed with just one additional task, and two other levels for those who want to go the extra mile. For example, one man said after reading about how many women view their bodies, he would post a note on his wife’s mirror saying, “My husband loves my body.” That’s the extra mile.

Try to focus on your spouses’ love language. I’d love for you to contribute your own ideas to these suggestions.

Show Appreciation

Level 1: Before going to sleep, thank your spouse for something he or she regularly does for you or the family. For some people, words of affirmation mean a great deal. You can even send a text or email if that is how you regularly communicate.

Level 2: Buy a card and add a note of appreciation. Leave it under his pillow.

Level 3: Write a note expressing a sincere appreciation for your spouse’s contributions and support. Mail it to work her at work or home.

Give a Gift

Level 1: Pick up a book, movie or other item your honey would enjoy. For those whose love language is gifts, this will make them feel loved. Wrap it lovingly.

Level 2: Add some fun: Plan a scavenger hunt with clues around the house from one point to another until they find the gift. Or fill balloons with cute notes that have hints.

Level 3: Buy something nice for your spouse he wouldn’t buy on his own. Present it at a special time like on a lunch date out.

Show Care

Level 1: Stock up on her favorite beverage and offer one when she is working or relaxing.

Level 2: Prepare his coffee or tea each morning as a sign of care and love.

Level 3: Clean or organize an area of the home that has been driving your spouse crazy (a closet, area of the garage, basement, etc.)

Involve the Senses

Level 1: Bring home some lovely, fragrant flowers or a scented candle or lotion. Or have them delivered to home or work.

Level 2: Bring home her FAVORITE flowers or perfume or his favorite lotion or cologne.

Level 3: Plant some pretty flowers in the yard to enjoy for months and surprise him/her.

Involve Touch

Level 1: Give frequent hugs, back scratches or loving pats/touches during the day.

Level 2: Give a foot or shoulder rub at the end of the day.

Level 2: Offer a full-body massage at your spouse’s chosen time.

Make Plans

Level 1: Hire a sitter if needed and plan a night out. Play his/her favorite song while you are out or request that it be played. (Music is emotionally bonding even when you are having some conflict.)

Level 2: Do something unusual or new like seeing a live concert or show, or participating in a new activity. (This creates excitement and closeness.)

Level 3: Plan a weekend or vacation away with just the two of you.

Commune with Nature

Level 1: Take a leisurely stroll in a nearby park or garden.

Level 2: Visit a state park together for a hike.

Level 3: Plan a surprise picnic with delicious food near uplifting natural surroundings.

Or, ignore all of these ideas and just come up with one small thing you will do today to show love—make her favorite dinner or his favorite dessert. Take care of one extra errand he had on his list. Buy some lingerie he would enjoy. Draw her a bubble bath and play her favorite tunes. Whatever makes your sweetie smile and lets them know you have been thinking of them. I think one small thing each day or week is better than a bigger act of kindness every few months. Don’t complain when your spouse doesn’t immediately reciprocate. You are doing this as an act of love, not so you can get something in return. In general, couples who are doted on do begin to think more about expressing their love in return. Some couples even find they are competitive with which spouse can come up with spontaneous or creative ways to show their love.

What are your easy or fast ideas to express kindness, love, or appreciation to your spouse?

11 responses to “What Have You Done For Your Marriage Today?

  1. This isn’t an “easy” thing, but it is something I have done for my spouse several times since we met. The first time I did it, it kind of made him mad, until he figured out what I was doing, and then he said it was the nicest thing anyone had ever done for him. He still talks about it to this day.

    I created a custom scavenger hunt for him. I sent him an email at work and told him to open the attached PDF right before he left work. The attachment told him he would be going on a “Hunt for Love” and contained directions to the location of the first clue in the scavenger hunt.

    I sent him to several locations all over the city (on his way home) with small gifts hidden under bushes or flowers, like Hershey’s kisses and roses. At each location was another love note and directions to the next clue, so that he couldn’t just skip through it.

    We kept in contact via cell phone. When he found each clue, he would call me so I knew how close he was getting.

    He was getting a little upset with me towards the end, because he just wanted to get home and eat. He didn’t want to go on a wild goose chase!

    But on the final clue…when he found me on a picnic blanket in the gardens at the Museum of Art, waiting for him with a candlelabra and his favorite dinner served on china…he was blown away that I would go to so much trouble for him!

    You can also do a smaller scale scavenger hunt around your neighborhood, or even just around your house like Lori suggested. Your spouse will definitely know that you love them!

    • Wow, Sheryl! That is definitely a level 4 act of love! I like the fun of the scavenger hunt idea, since I remember doing those as a kid. And the china at the picnic with his favorite meal puts it over the top. I’ve also heard of wives surprising hubbies on a business trip and having the whole room decorated for him with her waiting. Even a nice dinner at home in the dining room with the kids at the neighbor’s house can be a breath of fresh air. Thanks for including your tips!

  2. “…he would post a note on his wife’s mirror saying, “My husband loves my body….”

    Can I borrow this idea? Thank you.

  3. Lori, thanks for all the great ideas on how to bless our spouses and reminding us how important it is to take time out of the crazy madness to do just that. It’s so easy to take things for granted and forget how much even small acts of kindess change the emotional climate of a relationship. Consistency is the key!

    PS In order to avoid the eye rolling of our teenage daughters, I ended up posting the note in my wife’s lingerie drawer where she will see it every time she get’s dressed.

    • You’re right, Scott, it is so easy to take things for granted and not make the consistent, extra efforts. On the flip side, the more you make the effort, the more you will reap the benefits and start a positive cycle with your spouse. Thank you for contributing, and yes I can see those rolling eyes now. 😉

  4. What a great post, Lori! I’ve discovered it’s difficult to get started thinking this way, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve purposed to bless your spouse so intentionally. But it’s worth pushing through – there’s a wealth of intimacy and love yet to be discovered by practicing all levels of care. This is why we started our blog too – to help marriages build on the positive side instead of waiting until they have real problems threatening their commitment.
    One time I did a “Gratefulness for Tom” week where each day I chose one of the 5 senses: Day 1: Eyes – I love your eyes. I love the way they look at me in a way no one else does. I love the way you see me as I really am, yet love me all the more. I love the tears they cry, and that they close at night next to me in sweet sleep. (Then I kissed his eyes – looked into his eyes for a few moments saying nothing). It was a moment we’ll cherish. Gift Idea: sunglasses. Day 2: Nose: I love your nose. Although you always joke how big it is being Italian, I love the prominence and how it defines your profile. I love the way you smell – after you’ve left for work your scent lingers in our room. Your cologne causes my heart to beat a bit faster. Gift Idea: Cologne
    Day 3: Hands: I love how hard your hands work each and every day. You are not a slacker by any means, and I’m grateful to be able to stay home with our children while your hands provide for all our needs. I love watching you play percussion at church. There are so many other things your hands do, that I am thankful for beyond words.
    Gift Idea: Give him a hand massage with silky, unscented lotion.
    Day 4: Ears – I love your ears for they listen to my heart. I feel I am loved more than all women because you take time to listen to me! I know I have many words – sometime not the best words, yet you help me grow and change, instead of saying, “why bother?” What a gift your listening ear has been to me all these years. Thank you!
    Gift Idea: A New CD of his favorite music.
    Day 5: Taste – I love cooking for you and going out to special restaurants with you. Even a night out for ice cream is special because I’m with you. You have helped me taste of life in a way I would have missed without you. Thank you for helping me taste and see that the Lord is good as well. He is the reason we have “sense” enough to walk this road together as husband and wife. I love you with all my senses – completely and without restraint.
    Gift Idea: Go to dinner to his favorite restaurant, plan a romantic picnic with all his favorite snacks or make his favorite dinner and/or dessert. You could even try feeding each other.

  5. Pingback: Be a Better Partner, Get a Better Partner « Moms with Grace

  6. Great post Lori! If people would spend just 10% of the time, energy an effort they spend on going to the gym, working or giving their kids their attention on theor marriage, the marital satisfaction in our counrty would raise tremendously! Giving more attention to our personal relationships is the wave if the future! Keep up the great work!!!

    • Thanks, Cory. We all have bits of time we can sacrifice for something as important as our marriage. And the return is tremendous. Thanks for your comments.

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