About 18 months ago a sweet newlywed started following my blog, and her comments and encouragement have been soul-lifters to me ever since. Today, while I’m off trying to have quality alone time with my husband in celebration of our 11th anniversary, I’ve asked Jaimie to post here with what she’s learned about how we can love our husbands and build strong marriages. You can check her out over at Living in the Light where you’ll get spiritual guidance, great recipes, and lots of advice on building a home that’s rooted in Christ.
The source of all love—whether love between friends, between children and parents, or between husbands and wives—is God.
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God, and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8
We know what love is because Jesus has modeled it for us. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” 1 John 3:16 “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
God has described to us what real love looks like. 1 Corinthians 13 is a great starting point, although that kind of love is only shown perfectly by Jesus himself. Jesus said that the greatest commandments are these: to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:36-40).
These Scripture passages all give us a great definition of what love is and where real love comes from. But what does love look like, practically speaking, in a marriage?
I haven’t been married for long—just over two years. But I have learned that love in a marriage does not necessarily look like I expect it to. Love does not equal romance. First of all, love is not a feeling: it is a choice. When we made our marriage vows, we promised to always choose to love the other person, no matter what the circumstances.
Loving our spouse means making the conscious decision to act in a loving manner toward them. I have found it very useful in the pursuit of this love to find out what my husband’s love language is. (If you haven’t read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, I highly recommend that you do so!) Each person gives and receives love in a unique way, and just because my husband and I love each other doesn’t mean we give and receive love in the same way. For example, my primary love language is touch. I need to hold hands with my husband, be hugged by him, and touched in other not-necessarily-sexual ways to feel loved. I also generally express love and affection through touch.
My husband’s primary love language is quality time. That means he values spending time talking with people, or doing things with them, where he and they are focused on their relationship and spending time together. Sitting in front of a TV together generally does not equal quality time. Neither is time spent together quality if the other person is distracted.
In order for each of us to make the other feel loved, we have to “speak” each other’s love language. My husband has to be intentional about touching me throughout the day (not hard for him to do!), and I have to be intentional about spending real, quality together time with him (sometimes very hard for me to do).
Learn to love your husband the way he needs to be loved.
Keep in mind, however, that most people receive love in ways besides just their primary love language. I feel loved when people do things for me (acts of service), like when my husband does dishes or takes out the trash without being asked. Some people like receiving gifts, others need affirming, loving words spoken to them to feel loved. Try expressing love to your spouse in a variety of different ways.
Spend time together doing one of his favorite things (even if it’s not your favorite).
Send him texts and/or emails throughout the day, leave a romantic message on his answering machine, or write a letter for him and leave it somewhere he’ll see it.
Speak well of him to others in his presence and when he’s not around.
Praise him to your children and to his family and friends.
When you’re planning meals for the week, ask him what his favorites are, and include them in your meal plan.
Buy his favorite food/drink/candy when you’re out shopping.
Find out something he’s been wanting for a long time and get it for him or do it with him (tickets to a big game of his favorite team? A new tool to work on the car or in the woodworking shop? A new fishing pole? A camping trip, just the two of you?).
Let him know you’re proud of him. No matter what your man does for a living, thank him for it, praise him for it, and affirm him in his work. Men really appreciate this, and most really need it, too.
This last thing is a big one. It’s probably the biggest. It’s one of the easiest things you can do. It’s also the easiest one to mess up. Ready?
Have sex with him. No, really. Did you know that when you’re willing to make love with your husband—and enjoy it—on a regular basis (at least two or three times a week), he’ll feel more connected to you, more energized, more sure of himself, and more confident in his work? This is the biggest thing you can do to boost your man’s self-esteem and confidence, to nurture your relationship, and to make him feel loved, wanted and respected. Please don’t neglect this. On the negative side, if you regularly turn your husband down for sex, or don’t make love with him often enough, your marriage will suffer drastically.
If you’re having trouble with loving your husband, for whatever reason, remember the beginning of this post. Love comes from God. It is a gift from him. The ability to love your husband is not something you have to find within yourself. It comes from the love that God has for you. Ask God for help loving your husband if that’s something you’re struggling with. He will answer your prayer!
Visit Jaimie’s site and show her how bloggers love 🙂