I hope you had a love filled Valentine’s Day! You might think this post is a day late, but I say showing love is something we should be doing every day. There are lots of ways to show love to your husband or spouse without gifts or without spending money.
I saw a post saying that someone heard poll results on a podcast that most women would rather be quarantined with their girl friends than with their husband. What? If you feel that way, it’s time to do some serious work on your relationship.
And if you are wondering what place this has on a style/fashion blog, remember my mantra that style and beauty are more than the outside and they are a reflection of what’s one the inside. Those negative feelings dwelling on the inside are creating a drag on your outer beauty. If your relationship is out of sync, it’s time to create some balance.
I could not imagine being quarantined with anyone but my husband. He’s not perfect but I’d take him any day over of a gaggle of gals. Sorry ladies. We ladies can be competitive, judgmental, and down right mean sometimes. And when you throw in some stress, we can become unbearable. Quarantining together would not be my idea of survival. I’m willing to bet if you spent that kind of time with your gal friends, you would start seeing their flaws and faults too. My husband and I compliment each other and I need his calm, strength and reason in tough times.
And times can be certainly be tough, so it’s important to nurture your relationships during the good and the bad so they can withstand the bad trials.
Here are 7 ways to show love to your husband or spouse.
Listen Put down the phone, stop scrolling and really listen to what he has to say. If he is venting about a bad day, or sharing feelings, or trying to share his side of an occasional disagreement, listen. Make eye contact and be attentive. Don’t interrupt and don’t immediately defend your view or try to impose a solution to a problem. Sometimes all someone needs to be validated and know they are loved is to have someone listen to them. Listening shows that you are attentive to him. Our lives can be so busy and hectic that we don’t have time to talk or listen. Make time.
Love unconditionally– Unconditionally means without limits or meeting any conditions. Love him even when he forgets to take the trash out. Love him for his faults and for his goodness. Don’t let your disappointment over a behavior or unmet expectation cloud your view of him as a whole. Show grace and extend kindness as an act of love not as a reward for good behavior. Practice acceptance, not comparison. He is who he is- he is not your best friend’s husband. Odds are he does something or has qualities she wishes her husband had. Accept him for who he is and for what you fell in love with. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2
Don’t criticize. Constructive criticism and voicing disappointments in a loving way are acceptable, but don’t criticize. Never say ” You never…” or “You are so lazy…” Criticism is an attack on character and will never build someone up. They will only withdraw further. Your marriage relationship should be a place of safety, acceptance and approval.
And don’t criticize behind his back to your girlfriends. You are only fostering those negative feelings. Vent if you must, but be careful how you phrase things- He never helps me with the dishes vs I would appreciate help with the dishes.
Show respect. Another reason for not criticizing your spouse behind his back. It shows respect. If you are not willing to address your disappointments with him, you have no business airing them to others where he can’t defend himself. Would you want him running you down to a group of his friends? And definitely don’t confront or attack in front of family or friends. If it just can’t wait until you get home, then excuse yourselves and go home and have a discussion.
On the other hand, do praise and speak highly of him to others. Talk about the good things he does. It might just get back to him. Praise him at home and in private too. Showing respect shows him you trust him and allows him to be the leader he is meant to be. Showing respect is a key way to love your husband.
Learn his love language. And learn yours. You might not even know what you respond to best, so it’s helpful to know yours as well. The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman is a great book for discovering what you and your spouse respond to best. It’s Christian based and outlines the following five love languages- words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, quality time, and physical touch. I was given a copy of this book by a pastor’s wife when my first marriage was struggling. It didn’t help in that situation- I was in an abusive relationship with an alcoholic (more on that later), but it was insightful to know and recognize the differences that make us tick. We tend to show love the way we want to receive it, but that might not necessarily be the way the other person shows/wants to receive love. It becomes important to compromise. The best ways to show love to your husband is in the way he receives and understands it.
Change your attitude. This ties in with not criticizing. Stop focusing on the negative. Focus on the good qualities and things you are grateful for. Stop holding grudges. All easier said than done, right?
Keep a journal of all the things you love about your spouse. When you feel negative thoughts creeping in, go read that list of good things. Be thankful for the things your spouse does or says that you love. Remind yourself of one of these things daily. And say thank you! He might need to hear it.
Also, stop any and all negative thoughts about yourself- about your appearance or your success as a wife/spouse. Sometimes we don’t feel like we don’t deserve love, so we don’t seek it or give it. When we don’t feel “good enough” or deserving, we tend to sabotage things, even relationships. So check (and change) your attitude. Love yourself. It’s hard to love others when we don’t love ourselves. Sometimes the best way to love your spouse is to work on yourself.
Pray for your spouse. Pray, pray and pray some more. Pray for his well being and for his attitude. If you are struggling to change your attitude, pray about that. Need more ideas on what to pray for- check out this 30-day praying for your husband challenge.
In no way should these tips be applied to an abusive relationship. These tips are for bettering a relationship that is already grounded in love and respect. Sometimes we get lax and things get dull, or maybe we just get too comfortable and we need a reminder to apply these tips to make our marriage the best it can be.
If you are truly in an unhealthy relationship, no amount of attitude change will help, nor will unconditional love stop abuse. No amount of respect is due an abusive partner. There must be boundaries. I have been there. My love language is acts of service. It was back then and still is over 25 years later (I took the quiz again to see if age changed anything- it didn’t.) I cooked meals, cleaned house, did his laundry and made myself available to him when he came home and did all the things I thought a good wife should do. And he still chose alcohol, and he was still abusive.
I finally walked away. I had to love myself enough to put me and my safety first. It was the hardest yet strongest thing I have ever done.
I’m now blessed with an amazing husband who speaks my language- he washes dishes, vacuums, and does his own laundry. (And so much more.) In return I have more time to focus on him and speak his language. He values words of affirmation. It doesn’t come easy for me because I grew up in a home where if no one was complaining, nothing was wrong. My brother and I joked that things were okay when nothing was said, because if you did something wrong, you would hear about that. It was assumed and expected you would behave well, no affirmation needed. I have to be careful not to take my husband for granted. He needs to hear that I appreciate his acts of service.
He often tells others that he appreciates them and the things they do. He gives positive reviews for store employees on surveys and he praises and encourages his students. His kindness and compassion for others is one of the things that I love about him.
A lot goes into a successful marriage. For more tips on success in marriage, Focus on the Family is an excellent resource. I hope I have given you few things to think about if you are in a marriage or relationship. Your marriage should continually grow and it needs nurturing to do that. Showing love to your husband is one of the most important ways to nurture that relationship. Happy, healthy relationships can make us glow- and that’s beauty on the inside and out!