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.
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.
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.
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.
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?