Why is it so easy to let the relationships closest to you slide? If you’re like me, family members are the first ones you take for granted. Yesterday I wrote about Giving Your Marriage More than Just the Leftovers.
My husband is my best friend, but it’s easy to overlook him during daily routines with two teenagers excited about life and bursting at the seams to talk about everything. It’s easy to overlook him as I rush out the door to the supermarket, or get ready for an occasional evening out with girlfriends. Through the ins and outs of life, we can end up going our separate ways in the same house if we’re not careful to cultivate oneness.
Is anyone with me here? I want to do more than cruise along and get by with minimum effort. I want to grow in my marriage.
My favorite picture of marriage is from Ephesians. The Message says it like this:
“Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing…” (5:22, 23)
How to better understand and support my husband? How to better respond to his way of loving me? I want to grow in the following areas:
- Care for and invest in myself
It sounds like a contradiction to care for myself in order to invest in my marriage, but it’s one way to make sure I have more than leftovers to give my husband. Other than caring for my spiritual growth, I try to get regular exercise and read. My husband loves to discuss both American and international news at the dinner table. I try to be diligent about following the headlines, so I can contribute to the conversation.
- Be fully present.
Do you ever notice how you can be sitting next to someone physically, but your mind is on another planet? You’re so caught up in your own thoughts and plans that you’re not really listening. When we’re together, I want to focus more on my husband and less on myself.
- Encourage rather than complain and criticize.
Why is it that the day I married, I became more a daughter of Eve? I mysteriously became more prone to complain and criticize. (Am I the only one like this?) Complaints and criticism drive my husband crazy faster than anything else. I want to be more intentional about encouraging him instead.
- Remember that conflict can be a “win-win” opportunity to grow closer.
- Thank him for all that he does for me and the kids.
- Give him a kiss or a hug several times a day.
- Smile and say “I love you.”
These are ways I’m seeking to be a contributor in a growing relationship.
My question for you: What is your favorite thing to do on a date with your spouse?