Ways To Inspire Your Marriage!
(note: this is written from a
Catholic/Christian perspective, but most of it is valid for any marriage!)
In the beautiful relationship of marriage, a couple has a unique ability
to build up or tear down their beloved in a profound way. The ones who we love can touch us most
deeply. This is why it is important to
be reminded of the hundred little ways we can love and enrich the life of our
spouse: if we take our eyes off the ball, even without a real negative action,
just the lack of a loving one can cause hurt in our loved one.
Unity is the key to having a
happy, fulfilling marriage. When a
husband and wife are truly united, they can face anything, overcome any
obstacle and keep a joyful control in their family (despite the unending mutiny
attempts by their children!). Unity
hinges on love, which is bound to communication. One cannot be unified to another if they feel
rejected, depressed or distant from their beloved. What you will see in these little “ways” are
examples of communication, expressing love (which must be communicated –
verbally, physically or emotionally – to be felt), and fun ideas to bring your
level of unity and intimacy even deeper.
Our marital unity comes from the joining of two individuals, whose
individual needs must be cared for or there can be no unity. One more thought before the list, there are
five levels of communication & with each level, comes more vulnerability
(revealing more about oneself) and therefore a deeper intimacy: 1) cliché or small talk, 2) sharing of facts,
3) sharing of opinions, 4) sharing of feelings, & 5) sharing of needs. The deeper the level of communication is, the
more intimate the relationship will be.
A married couple should practice communicating in the last two levels
(at least once a day). This is
especially true since we will only feel truly loved if our deepest needs are met.
Our needs can only been met when we learn
what they are, how to articulate
them and how to respond to our spouse articulating
his or her needs.
further ado, 30 Ways To Inspire Your Marriage!
1. Have a
sense of humor and be able to laugh at yourself. Make jokes (though avoid negative humor that
can tear each other down); having inside jokes that are you & your spouse’s
secret laughter is so fun and unifying!
2. Flirt. Be playful!
Think about what you said/ did when you were first dating. (It might be worth it to have a fun redo of
the very first date you ever went on!
Try to remember what you said, what you did – it will make you laugh for
a “date night” once a week. Come
hell or high water, you’ve GOT to have it.
(Because THIS is where the communicating happens and begins to blossom
despite our busy life!) Can’t afford to go out?
Not a problem! Just plan one
night a week when after the kids are in bed, you don’t do anything else, but sit
and talk (well, maybe have a glass of wine too!).
4. Food. Do you know your wife’s or husband’s
favorite thing to eat? It goes a long
way to show the care and appreciation of knowing their favorite thing and
making it for him or her. (Or buying it! ;-)
5. Pray. Pray together and on your own.
(A Christian marriage calls both husband
and wife to “be subject to one another out of reference for Christ.”[i]
No spouse is boss of the other, they are
servants and lovers of each other and let Christ be the boss. But how can He be the boss of your marriage
if you don’t know Him?)
readily. (Sometimes it’s important
to say the words “I forgive you.”
Saying, “it’s okay” could allow the possibility of bringing back this
discussion at another time when you’re ticked at him or her again. But saying “I forgive you” relinquishes the
right to bring it back, and that’s why it is so healing for a
relationship. It gives the security that
your wife or your husband is loved – unconditionally.)
hurtful criticism. (There is so much
good that your spouse does for you! If
something does need to be pointed out, sandwich any criticism in between
praise. But most of the time, he or she already knows what they’ve done wrong
and are just looking for forgiveness, acceptance and love…)
away! (texting can be a way to keep
you laughing, keep you flirting, keep you united even while apart without it
having to be a formal phone call or even email.)
9-13. Do one small thing working towards fulfilling your spouse’s deepest emotional
Seems like a loaded one right? Ah,
but here’s the thing: “Most conflicts are caused by spouses feeling that their
primary emotional needs are not being met.
The primary emotional need for a woman is security – not necessarily financial
security but a sense of security that stems from knowing that she is truly
first in her husband’s thoughts, priorities and affections. The primary emotional need for a man is a
sense of adequacy – a feeling adequate to the task of being a good husband,
father, provider, lover or whatever other role is important to him.
“When a wife senses she is no longer first in her husband’s life, she
tends to criticize and attack those activities or persons who are usurping her
place. Faced with such criticism, many
husbands respond by feeling very inadequate and either erupt in anger or
withdraw emotionally from the relationship which effectively fans the flames of
the wife’s feelings of insecurity. The wife’s pursuit of her sense of security
and a husband’s need to assert his adequacy can create a downward spiral that
explodes in bitter conflict.
“Understanding this pattern and being able to verbalize our unmet needs
can help to douse the flames of a raging conflict and lead to a deeper
unpack what that would look like!]
9. When your husband gets home from work (or
when you get home – the first time you see him after a day’s work let’s say), let concern for how he is doing, affection
and appreciation be the first thing he receives from you. (When was the last time you told your husband
you appreciated his work? Or is your
first thought when he gets home, “here take a kid” or “how could you forget
____!” ? Do you look to get your break
first or to find out about his day?)
for God’s eyes. God sees only
goodness and beauty. Ask God for His
vision of your husband’s goodness and great qualities.
him! We know you appreciate your
man’s style of being a husband and all the little things he does around the
house to make it better for you and your family, does he know it? Tell him!
12. Whether voicing it out loud, writing notes,
or scribbling with lipstick on your mirror, let him know you still find him attractive and sexy! (Let him know he is well “up to the
task”. Because men do more initiating
sexually, women can take it for granted that they feel adequate in the area of
sex. They think “well, we made love
didn’t we? That affirms him!” But not always. Just the simplest comments go a long way to
building up your man.)
you see him struggle, affirm his efforts and encourage him. (Be careful not to give advice, unless asked
for, because this can feel like you don’t think he’s doing a good job.)
9. When you are involved in one of the
activities that keeps you separate from your wife, maintain contact! Text her
in the middle of the day (ex. “I love you! just sayin’ ;-)” or “miss you! this
is so boring!”), send her an email, call her – just to check in and affirm in
her mind she IS numero uno in your life.
10. When you get home at the end of the day, let kissing your wife be the VERY first
thing you do! (Yep, that’s right. Before taking care of the yard, the dog, the
house, the kids, changing your clothes, even putting your things away…let HER
11. Respond, don’t react. (When she is nagging you, which yes – she
should work to avoid, but when she is, work hard to see beyond it. She is really missing your attention and
feeling insecure in her position in your life.
Resist the urge to retaliate; let her know how much you love her.)
12. Before planning a night with the guys or a guy
get-away, check with her. (This lets
her know that her concerns are first in your life, even above your best guy friends.)
plan, and prepare for Date Night. (When you work at putting your wife and your
marriage first, both will be filled with joy!)
“I” statements when communicating with each other. (Avoid “you” statements. Avoid, “why do you waste so much time
watching tv?” say instead, “I feel pushed aside like I’m not first in your life
when you spend so much of your free time watching tv.”)
15 – 20: Ideas for Date Nights! (IDN) [caution! The Date Night atmosphere should be
a “safe zone”. Where you or your spouse
can share whatever and be met only with love, acceptance & forgiveness if
needed…and maybe flirtatious laughter.
This will come a little easier to the ladies than to the men, but it is
really important for unity in your marriage.
It’s also important for the wife’s level of security, if she knows that
she can bring things up in Date Night she doesn’t feel a pending doom over her
relationship whenever something is not quite right. She is at peace, knowing she will be able to
share her thoughts and feelings; she feels cared for.]
Dream together. Share ideas of what
you want your life together to look like in 10, 20, 30 years from now. (Jotting them down would be fun too! You could even add doodling of little hearts
and such…wait, no…that’s just for me. ;-)
16. IDN: From your dreams, which are truly dreams you yearn
for – that you would be sad if it
never happened? Share those and ways you
could together take steps now to make them a reality.
“Ten Statement Autobiography”. (If someone wanted to know you, what are the
ten most essential things he/she would have to know about you? In these statements please don’t include
obvious external facts that anyone would know.
Rather they should reveal the person you are hiding behind the masks and
cover-ups. What is your deepest
reality? Let these statements reveal
fears, hopes, trials, joys, circumstances and perceptions which make you the
unique person you are. To READ them:
exchange statements. Read it TWICE. Once with your head, once with your
heart. And dialogue about them. You take one at a time. Ex) husband talks
about the wife’s statements. Not to
discuss, dispute or question the statements! But ONLY to understand them and
how your beloved feels about it…and how much you love him or her… and when the
wife feels he completely understands what she wrote, then and only then it is
her turn to understand his.)
“I” method practice. (Answer the questions, and share as above,
reading twice and understanding… 1. I feel grateful when you _________. 2. When I think of our future, I feel
_________. 3. Lately I have felt some
anxiety about _______________ because ___________. 4. An emotion I have trouble sharing with you
is ________ I usually feel this emotion when _________. 5. I feel close and connected with you when
“Hot Spot Sharing”
(This one is sensitive, so only
go there when there is no
from anything else. We all
have “hot spots” areas that when brought up strike a sensitive nerve &
creates an emotional response – which happens so reactively, almost before we
know it! In marriage, it’s helpful to
know these hot spots so we might be sensitive to them. 1. What are some of my hot spots? 2. What are some of my spouse’s hot
spots? 3. How does your “hot spot”
affect your self-worth? Ex) when you
tease me about my weight (hot spot), I feel sexually unattractive (self
worth). I feel _________ when you
_____________. Remember: this is not a judgment on your spouse, but a sharing of a
deep feeling. Refrain from saying, “but
I think you look beautiful! I was just kidding!” It’s not about the intent; it’s about the
feeling of the person sharing.)
Share deeper ideas. (What do
I think about God? How do I feel about my answer? WDITA death? HDIFAMA? WDITA being open to having more children?
HDIFAMA? WDITA the problem we are arguing about? HDIFAMA? etc!… all these
should be written out ahead of time and
then exchanged at DN, maybe over dinner?
Read twice, etc.)
respectful. Say please and thank you. (You would be surprised how often we take for
granted the ones we love the dearest. A
little respect goes a long way!)
22 – 25
Sexual Intimacy. (Showing your love
through your sexual intimacy is another way you communicate your love to your
spouse. It is an extension of your
communication & unity that you two have in every other area of your life. As they say, if you aren’t communicating well
in the kitchen, you won’t be communicating well in the bedroom! Your sexual relationship is personal, deep
& binding. It will be up to you two
to communicate about it, but here are a few ideas to inspire your love.)
a sigh of relief; you’re different from each other and it’s okay. In fact, it’s better than that – it’s
perfectly beautiful! (So
often women can say things like “why does he think like that? he has such a one track mind!” Or men also, “she’s just too sensitive and
too emotional!” Learn to appreciate
the ways that your wife or your husband is different than you. And you are not weird nor messed up. We just were created differently. Real quick let’s look at some of those
difference in this area (to affirm to you that you are not alone!):
more physical, compartmentalized, seeks physical oneness and sex is a high
priority. Women: more relational,
wholistic, seek emotional oneness, other priorities may be higher. Men: are stimulated by sight, body fragrance
& are body-centered. Women: are
stimulated by touch, attitudes, action, words & are person-centered. Men: need respect, admiration, to be
physically needed & physical release.
Women: need understanding, love, to be emotionally needed &
time. A man’s sexual response is quick
excitement, usually initiates, difficult to distract. A woman’s sexual response is slow excitement,
usually is the responder, easily distracted.
A man’s orgasm is (did I just go there?…oh man, yep…
) to propagate
species, is shorter, more intense, is physically oriented, and he nearly always
reaches it. A woman’s orgasm is to propagate
oneness, is longer, more in depth, is emotionally-oriented, and satisfaction is
possible without reaching it. And that’s just the way God made us! And each has its own dignity and
worthiness! So let’s change our language
to, ‘I might never understand how he can think that way/ or how she can feel
that way, but I admire and love that about him/her!’)
23. Pillow Talk. Let your spouse know what you like, what you
don’t (in a non-critical way). It’s the
only way he or she can learn to express their love in a better way. (Oh, and listen!
to what your spouse says ;-)
is self-giving, not self-seeking.
Often sex is dismissed as merely an activity like playing tennis. You do it because it feels good. But the gift of sex in marriage ought to be a
loving act – a physical communication of your love. Love doesn’t use someone else for their own pleasure
but seeks to do what is best for the beloved first. PRAY with and for your spouse that you may
both continue to understand on a deeper level the great gift of your bodies to
25. Sex is
a renewal of your wedding vows. So
let it be freely, totally, faithfully and fruitfully given! Be
present to the person you are with; let nothing come between you! Discuss what this means to you and your
marriage during DN.
26. Go on
an annual marriage retreat. This
would not be a vacation or resort, but a retreat for you both to focus on your
love and your marriage.
the Sacraments – particularly confession and the Eucharist. (there is nothing like purity of heart to
give you a fresh look, a fresh love for your spouse!) note:
for non-Catholics, making a good confession of your sins to God and joining in
your Church’s service every Sunday is imperative!
your spouse’s love language.
the book “The Five Love Languages” by Dr Gary Chapman, there are languages of
touch, quality time, gift giving, words of affirmation & acts of service.
It’s difficult to learn a new language –
especially when you’ve only spoken one your whole life! But you CAN do it! And work to understand without critique and
appreciate your spouse’s efforts!
Sometimes the smallest gesture in a different love language takes the most
when your spouse just needs a break. (ex) guys, you can speak her love language til
you're blue in the face, but she might just need you to change a diaper and do
the dishes to fill her “love tank” up!
Or ladies, you might have a long “honey do” list for your man, but he
might just like an evening with you or just to sit and drink a beer and not. move.
from. the. chair…just to get the stress off.
You are each other’s lovers and protectors – not in a controlling way
but in a cherishing way. Don’t let your beloved
get burnt out, step up and help out.)
30. Remember your common passion. You didn’t fall in love because you were so
different; you fell in love because you connected on some level. As they say, “friendship starts after the
words ‘me too!’” What passion do you
share? What dream do you share for the
future? For your life together? What philosophy on life do you both adhere
to? Discuss it. Empower it.
Cherish it. And your unity and
love will grow ever deeper.
31. The more you give, the more you receive. Love finds its fulfillment when you give it
away. Each human person finds the
fulfillment of who you are meant to be, when you give of yourself to another
out of love. The more you give in love,
the more your spouse’s heart will be filled and will respond in kind. And God’s blessings will abound! J
Now you see
why I only did 30! I have more but it would
have been way too long!!! J I hope you enjoyed that. lol!
Well, that’s my view of it and I welcome yours! (Please comment
below! And please use initials or first name or even pseudonym instead of
simply “anonymous” so we can have some way to distinguish each person in the
discussion. Thank You!)
Tate, Lloyd and Jan. In Home Marriage Preparation.
You can take your Love Language Test Online! http://www.5lovelanguages.com/
How I came to write this:
There was a post going around on facebook and twitter about “50 Ways to Inspire Your Husband”. I read it and was unsettled. Some of the ideas were fine, even good, but something was awry. The more I thought about it, the more I did not like that list, because it was fundamentally incorrect. It seemed to be focused on the husband in a singular, autonomous way. Almost in a selfish way (just a hair to that side, but it’s there), like we would find in many of the American self-help themed books. It’s “he needs to find his dream, do his thing when he wants to, feel great about being him, and be applauded all the way” attitude.
Now, hold on! I am not opposed to women appreciating, applauding, supporting, inspiring or encouraging their husbands. I am all for it! But I do believe all the support and love a woman can give her man should be to bring out the best in him, and the best in them. Sometimes the best in him would not be giving him enough time to “do whatever he wants”, but perhaps creating a loving environment that makes the self-giving side of family life more beautiful and enriching.
Marriage is not two individuals hanging out and being their best individual selves under the same roof. It is a real unity of the two. The marriage itself takes on life! So, inspiring your husband ought to be towards that same unifying end not merely his successful, autonomous self.
So, with that reflection, I thought, “It’s so silly when people complain and don’t do anything about it. I should write a new list.” And here is the result, it’s only 30, because it was getting way too long and they are jam-packed points, but anyway…I hope you enjoyed it!