Love involves the ability to see clearly and keep on loving. Love, the verb, not love, the noun, provides the staying power of any relationship. Love must be practiced every day. Here are six ways to love your spouse.
Listen. You can’t really love anyone until you listen. Ultimately, hearing what one is saying boils down to three words: Stop, look, and listen. Stop long enough to find out the details. Look beneath the surface. Real listeners don’t just listen with their ears, they listen with their eyes. Listen to the heart. In other words, listen not just to the facts, but the feeling behind the facts.
Overlook. A former bestseller entitled Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff has as a subtitle, “Everything is small staff.” The small stuff that irritates needs to be overlooked. Our tendency is not to overlook. Change what can be altered, explain what can be understood, teach what can be learned, revise what can be improved, resolve what can be settled, and negotiate what is open to compromise. And, for all the small stuff, with all the rough edges, that can never be changed, overlook it.
Value. Here we give our spouses their true worth. When you consider the incredible worth of your spouse you are extolling love to them. Like a diamond or a painting, the value comes from the one giving, not the object itself.
Invest. It has been said that love is spelled T-I-M-E. Giving someone your undivided attention is a strong expression of love. When we invest time—quality and quantity—in a person’s life, we give that person a portion of our life. If we gave as much time trying to improving our business as we do improving our marriage, what kind of shape would our business be in?
Nourish. Alan Loy McGinnis wrote, “Just as a gardener enriches the soil with minerals and nutrients, so a spouse should nourish the emotional ground in which a marriage is rooted. I’ve seen too many marriages wither, simply because the partners did not provide enough loving enrichment to keep it alive.” Nourishment comes from a variety of actions: Talking together, playing together, dating, weekends away, adapting to change, and giving each other room.
God-Centered. Research has shown that couples who are committed to a strong religious faith have a much greater chance of staying together. It is still true; the family that prays together is much more likely to stay together.
Practice these acts every day to demonstrate love to your spouse.
Did you know that if we practiced love our relationships would be stronger, our jobs would be more meaningful, and our ailments would be fewer? Earlier this year I wrote an encouraging book on love called Chapter 13: The Excellence of Love. The book gets its title from perhaps the greatest statement ever made on love in 1 Corinthians 13. This book provides a guide to love, and, if practiced, it will make us well and whole. Click here to claim your copy.