Parents, if you are looking for a way to strengthen your family, start by focusing on your spouse. Treating your spouse like royalty – and keeping them a priority among your many relationships – is an important and intentional choice that takes work. Yet, this is a most important work that will serve to keep your family healthy and stable. Here are ten tips for maintaining the “magic” between you and your spouse.
1. Keep saying “I love you.” These three little words are very powerful! Few people, if any, tire of hearing that they are loved. When you say “I love you” do your best to be giving your spouse your full attention. Make sure you mean it when you say it!!
2. Provide genuine, meaningful affirmations regularly. “Gee, your hair smells terrific” may be appropriate, but affirmations like, “You do so much to keep our family working. I can never thank you enough for all you do,” are more powerful and meaningful for making your spouse feel special. Affirmations come in all shapes and sizes: from verbal affirmations given in-person, to voicemail or e-mail messages to notes and cards.
3. Create and maintain a regular, non-negotiable date night – just for you and your spouse. (By the way, this means time away from the kids – and other friends.) Relationships need one-on-one nourishment to stay healthy. A regular date night can provide the quality and quantity of time needed to keep your relationship with your spouse strong.
4. Take a vacation together. Same idea as the regular date night noted above. A vacation with your spouse will provide you with more time to focus on one another and will give you opportunities to rekindle the romance in your life!
5. Give your spouse veto-power over your schedule. This empowers your spouse and sends a message that they are special. It acknowledges the fact that your spouse is a partner with you in life – not just another person making demands on your time.
6. Work together to learn more about marriage. Go to marriage retreats or conferences. Read books on marriage together and discuss what you’ve read. You are never too old – or have been married too long – to work on improving your marriage.
7. Buy your spouse flowers or gifts. Gifts don’t have to be extravagant, but should be simple reminders of how special your spouse is to you. Keep these gifts personal, rather than practical!
8. Surprise your spouse. For example, kidnap your spouse from work and do something you know they would enjoy. (Be sure to check with your spouse’s boss – if they have one!) Give gifts or flowers at totally unexpected times.
9. If you travel away from home, try to communicate with your spouse everyday while you are away. Phone calls are best, followed by voicemails and e-mails. If you want to keep your spouse feeling special, don’t make comments like “This is the best time I’ve ever had in my life” even if it is. “I really miss you” works much better!
10. Here is a list of creative dating ideas for you and your spouse…
• Go for a walk
• Work on a jigsaw puzzle
• Play a board game
• Play “hide and seek”
• Cook together
• Have an overnight campout in your yard
• Participate in community service or mission
• Get some exercise
• Find some quiet space and listen to music
• Learn a new hobby together
• Fly kites
• Write poems and read to each other
CREDIT: Jim Burns