Updated: Apr 22
photo courtesy of Sandy Millar at Unsplash
I've been married a while. If you have been, too, then you've seen that time sort of settles in. You know all his quirks and he knows yours. You have a daily routine and things are likely moving along just fine. Yep, fine. Some days are probably great and other days are horrible. But on average, they are just fine.
I love my husband. I also get super frustrated. Can you relate? He may help with the dishes at night but leave the sink dirty and crumbs on the counter. He parks my car at a funky angle and I like it parked totally in line with the seam in the concrete. I've heard the same jokes a million times and continuing to laugh is difficult.
Make no mistake, I can be difficult, too. I know my standards are high and I can be very demanding. I'm also in the throes of peri-menopause so my emotions are all over the place. I can cry, laugh, and scream all in the span of about three minutes. I tend to be a control freak with anxious-depressive tendencies. I know I'm not easy to live with.
But here's the thing. With all those "faults" running around in our marriage, it's easy to lose the love. Those early days of roses and rainbows are over, you know? Between the frustrations and the daily grind, it's easy to forget why I married this man. I tend to forget "those loving feelings" in favor of daily tasks and exhaustion. Yet a successful marriage requires daily attention.
I've read lots of research that says remembering why we fell in love is crucial to staying in love. And that's great. But what do we DO with those memories? Simply remembering doesn't seem to help me on a day-to-day basis because let's face it - some of what we fell in love with 30 years ago has gone the way of youth.
I decided to remember what I fell in love with but also to carefully examine each day for what I love NOW. I then decided to take it one step further.
About two weeks ago I decided to text my husband once every day and tell him what I love about him. I don't add details or reasons. Just a simple text. Here are some examples of what I really sent him:
I ❤️ that you're teaching (Son #2) to fix things around the house.
I ❤️ when you ask about my plans for the day because you're interested in my life.
I ❤️ that you bought me raspberries because you know I love them.
I ❤️ that you wanted to spend time with (Son #1) today.
I ❤️ that you are so patient with our pups! (We have four and one is VERY old; I tend to lose my patience.)
This is clearly just a short list, but you get the idea.
Here's the magic, though:
When I focus my thoughts on finding something to love each day, I spend more time thinking good thoughts about my husband and fewer thoughts about frustration. Once I send the note, I look for more examples of that trait throughout the day.
Normally, my husband never acknowledges when I compliment him. He acts like he doesn't even hear me. I find that frustrating because research shows husbands want to be thanked for their hard work.
This week, however, something changed. It was late in the day and I hadn't texted a love note yet. My sweet husband texted that he missed not getting one yet.
Wow. He notices and appreciates my love texts! That's HUGE!
This one tiny change has made a big difference in my daily marriage. And I bet it will for you, too. It certainly can't hurt. Here's a quick recap:
Send a daily text of what you love about your spouse
Don't explain it or give reasons
Don't ask him to respond
Don't ask for him to say what he loves about you
Don't expect anything in reply
Spend time reflecting on that love throughout your day
Look for something to love and text about every day
If you give this a try, comment back and let us know how it goes!
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