Blog posts that provide encouragement for marriage and family success.

How do I love thee: Staying in love with your spouse

I've been married for 26 years. Don't let the longevity fool you. We struggle just like everybody else. And just because I have a Ph.D. in communication doesn't mean I'm immune to the normal, destructive thought patterns we all have.

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It's far too easy to gripe in my head about all the little things that bug me. If I'm not careful, they can become the background to my days. Seriously, these thoughts reproduce like rabbits!

Maybe you can relate. You wake up and your spouse does something that bugs you - maybe he gets in the middle of things when you're trying to get the kids ready for school. Then he doesn't kiss you goodbye. So while you stew about those two things, you remember the couple of things he did yesterday to irritate you. Before long, you've compiled a lengthy list of all the annoyances you've felt in your marriage lately. By the time he comes home, you're ready to find even more. This attitude puts you on edge and doesn't lay the foundation for a quiet, loving evening.

There are a few things going on here.

The apostle Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:17-19 to pray without ceasing. If we are compiling a list of husband grievances, we aren't communicating with God.

Further, Proverbs 21:9 tells us that it's better for a man to live in the corner of a rooftop than with a contentious woman. Ouch.

We're also instructed to put our minds to "things above" rather than to things on earth (Colossians 3:2). In other words, praising God, praying for others, and meditating on Scripture are preferable to fussing about daily irritations.

So what should we do? While I try to offer lots of suggestions to improve marriage here at Write.Speak.Relate, today I have one tip. Just one.

It's an every day tip, so I want you to just have one so you can focus on it every day.

Each day text your husband one thing you love about him. Just one. Every day.

I'm doing this for Lent this year, but it can be done any time.

In the beginning I was so focused on being irritated that I was hard-pressed to come up with much. But then I started thinking about what made me fall in love with him. I started pondering all the good things he does. And each day the 'why I love you' ideas come much easier than the day before. I also find I'm thinking about that characteristic all day. Those thoughts take my mind off of any frustrations and often lead me to thank God for my husband.

In fact, last night my husband came in from outside and did something that bugs me. I started to gripe in my head, but then remembered I'm thinking of things that I love. I reminded myself that this little behavior really doesn't matter and we just do things different - and that's okay.

Start today. Find just one thing and tell him what it is you love about him today. Then begin again tomorrow. Let me know in the chat below how it goes!

With love,

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