We used to stay up half the night texting, and spend the other half of the night dreaming about each other. We would get up at 5 am just to go see each other and not part until one in the morning. I had a treasured section of the wall set up as a shrine to him, with pictures of us plastered about as a constant reminder to me and, consequently, my roommate, that I was in love.
I was so in love.
As the months go by the initial excitement dies down, as it should. The whirlwind of emotions settle down to a timid fire that lays almost dormant within my heart.
I love him so much, but it’s easy to take that for granted.
I don’t have to work for his love, it’s constantly there. He loves me on my best and my worst days, and as time went by my effort level in prepping for our dates gradually dropped.
I’m tired, I’ve been sick for a week, and I just want to wear my plain jeans and t-shirt. The familiar life of a young mom. *echo of every woman’s amen in the background.
He means the world to me, he really does. The saying ‘he’s the better half of me’ has never been more relevant. So why is it so hard for me to show him that?
I don’t have years of experience under my belt, but I have years of watching a great marriage, and have studied the art of a good marriage through example and books and lessons. Time and time again the key lessons stood out, convicting me and my selfish desires.
Falling in love is a constant action, and that makes it so beautiful.
When working on loving your significant other, this is a great reminder to all of us. It’s constant, it’s ever changing, and it never stops growing. To be able to wake up each day and look at that person and tell them you love them, that’s the first step to continue growing your relationship.
So welcome to challenge number one- let there be a continuous flow of love and praise coming from your lips.
I pray that not a day goes by where I have somehow failed to show my husband in someway that he is my everything.
Girls love a good compliment, trust me, it makes our day. But far too often my longing ear is waiting to hear how pretty my smile is, while my selfish heart forgets to tell him how great he looks tonight.
Men love compliments too, and I can never tell my husband enough how much he means to me. It’s not something that you can hear once and be content for life, as much as I wish that I was that low maintenance. Love should be a daily reminder that you are so happy that they chose to be with you, that you love them more than yourself.
Enter challenge number two- selflessly love him with your whole heart, even more than you love yourself.
This is shown by going the extra mile, cleaning the house each day because you know he hates anything being dirty, even if you are determined that cleaning the house three times a week is plenty. It’s taking the time to watch that sports game with him when you honestly have no idea what is going on. Or maybe it’s making his favorite meal for him instead of mac n cheese because you’ve had that three times this week already and that’s probably not that healthy anyway.
Love yourself, but love them more. Want the best things for them, and actively be searching for ways to make their days better.
Out of everything, this one may easily be the hardest. Putting someone else before ourselves isn’t in our nature, and it isn’t always convenient. It isn’t going to come natural and it can’t be mastered in a day.
But to love someone that much, that you’d give up everything for them, is a truly wonderful thing.
Challenge number three- find little ways to surprise them throughout the day.
It can be as simple as sending him a text while he is at work, or bringing her home a flower on a Thursday, but those small acts of love can speak the loudest.
One of my favorite things to do is write him love letters and hide them through the house. Sometimes I leave clues leading from one note to the other, other times I don’t tell him and let him stumble on them through out his day. He just found one yesterday that I had hidden a few months ago.
You can surprise her with a date, get a babysitter for the kids and take her out for ice cream in the city. Or you can offer to give a back massage after work.
Hold his hand while you walk, like you did when you were dating. Or come behind him and hug him for no reason. Leave work early and tell her that you just missed her that much.
I love to dance, so it’s not unusual for Jonathan to come home and find candles lit, music playing, and me asking him to dance with me.
Get creative, or feel free to call upon the mighty Pinterest to assist you in your challenge. Chances are he won’t know you got the idea off the internet and you will come out looking both thoughtful and smart. It’s a win win situation.
Challenge four- remember the intimacy
I’ve heard that if you put a penny in a jar every time you are intimate during the first year of marriage, then take a penny out every time you are intimate starting the second year, that jar won’t be emptied for the next fifty years.
Please prove whoever said that wrong.
Dr. Heller states, “By improving the sense of connection, feelings of trust and mutual respect typically increase. Once those cornerstones are in place, it’s remarkable how much easier it becomes to resolve conflicts of any nature.”
In the article Sexuality and Marital Intimacy, the author states that “A good marriage is best friends with passion. Without the passion, you just have friendship.”
Don’t let your relationship suffer because you don’t make time for each other. Remember, intimacy doesn’t always mean sex, it can be taking time to find raw moments with each other, seeing each others heart.
Which bring us to challenge number five: Schedule time to talk each day.
Remember when you used to hang onto each other’s every word? Conversation was almost effortless and just listening to him talk could be the highlight of your day? Once Jonathan and I got coffee at 6 in the morning, spread out a blanket over rocks next to a river, and just talked. Six hours later we still hadn’t moved. I’ll never forget that old man that had walked by earlier that morning coming by later and exclaiming “You’re still here?!”
I would call into work sick just because I wanted to spend all day with him. I would do my homework at times I knew he was busy, so I would be available whenever he was to go hang out.
I was obsessed, I never seemed to get enough.
I challenge you to remember what it felt like to hear him say your name for the first time, or to recall the first time you heard her sing. Savor the conversation between each other as if it is all you need to get you through the day.
Go deeper than ‘how was your day’ or ‘how did you sleep.’ Tell him what made you laugh or what the hardest part of your day was. Open up that conversation with him and be searching for new things that you never knew about each other.
Challenge number six- set an example through your actions.
If you have children, one of the best things you can do for them is show them what a good marriage looks like. Show your daughter that she deserves to be treated with love and respect, show your son that he should find a woman who will love him with all her heart no matter the circumstances.
My dad taught me what it looks like to have both strength and selflessness in leadership, and my mom taught me how to humble yourself and shower him with affection.
Lee Bryce sings it so well in Love Like Crazy.
“Be a best friend, tell the truth, and overuse I love you
Go to work, do your best, don’t outsmart your common sense
Never let your prayin’ knees get lazy
And love like crazy.”
Your relationship with your spouse should never come at the bottom of your to-do list, and it should never become another chore for you to do. Loving your significant other should be a daily act, it should be as easy as breathing to show them you care.
Love won’t always be a firework show of emotions and bliss. It won’t always be easy, and it’s hardly going to be perfect, but take one of these challenges listed never stop striving to make your love grow.
Remember, falling in love is a constant action, and that makes it beautiful.