What do you invest in?
I’m not talking about stocks, bonds or companies, but I can’t think of anything better to invest in than your marriage.
We are foolish if we believe that our marriages will grow stronger on their own.
It takes work.
Are we REALLY interested in having a thriving, healthy marriage?
How do we invest in our marriages?
First, we need to discover (if we haven’t already) what our spouse’s LOVE LANGUAGE/LANGUAGES are.
The writer of the latest couple’s devotion that Yvonne and I are reading, Gary Chapman, is entitled: “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate,” written in 1995. It outlines five ways to express and experience love that Chapman calls the “love languages.”
Words of Affirmation-
Acts of Service-
Chapman’s book claims that the list of five love languages is exhaustive. Chapman argues that, emotionally, people need to receive love. He also writes that people should not use the love languages that THEY like the most but rather the love languages that their loved ones can receive.
Here is a link to the “Love Language Quiz.” It only takes a few minutes.
Mine are “Words of Affirmation” and “Physical Touch.”-Bryan
Most men need to hear that their contribution to the family/household is making a positive difference. We are wired (by God) to provide and protect our family. So we need to hear that we are being effective for those whom we love. So, when Y tells me that she appreciates and values me, it makes me feel loved.
For me, I need her physical touch. Silly sounding, but I’d rather her scratch my back than to receive a massage. I can actually tell by the way she touches me what her mood is. I feel loved by her touch.
I’m a firm believer that once you are able and willing to put your spouse’s “love languages” first, your marriage will be stronger and able to thrive.
The perfect example is how Christ put US first.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”
Jesus put US first, laying down His life so that we might live.
Galatians 6:10 tells us to “be mindful to be a blessing” to everyone God brings across our path. We are called to be a blessing and build up others (including our spouses) in their faith, to not be afraid to reach out and to speak the truth in love.
Thinking of the New Year coming quickly upon us, everyone is most likely making their lists of resolutions. When we picked out our yearly devotion book, we chose one solely devoted to our marriage. I wondered if on anyone’s resolution was to spend time investing in their marriage.
I can only write from a woman’s point of view. But I doubt the list of things that make a difference to me is not that far off from your wife’s as well. So, instead of writing what I am gonna do… I’m gonna write what a husband can do to make a difference to his wife. I’ll frame it much like a resolution list… Maybe one will speak to someone & make a difference in 2014. Here goes…..
1. Know your spouse’s love languages. One of mine is physical touch. It’s as simple as B always holds my hand in the car. He always reaches for my hand when we are walking and I love when I have my head laying next to him and he brushes my hair away from my forehead with his finger tips. This is physical touch for me.
2) My other love language is quality time. I am not talking about date night or a mini extravagant weekend. I am talking about undivided attention. I work and commute. So, I like his attention when I get home. I like him to lay and watch TV with me. We , at one time, had a no phone call rule when we were together to protect our couple time. I think that also can include unnecessary
distractions like games on smart phones & social media. Nothing tells your spouse that your time together is unimportant or taken for granted more than playing a game or facebooking when you haven’t seen them all day. Before you know it you’ve been on your phone for 20 minutes or you grow apart and no longer have a friendship.
3) Put your spouse second only to your relationship with God. This includes your job, your family, your children & your hobbies. This consistent behavior will build up your spouse and your relationship. It tells them they are worth it.
4) Tell the truth. Even if its difficult. Always tell the truth. Once trust is broken, it can take years to repair. In the same way you crinkle up a piece of paper…. as hard as you try to smooth it back out, it is never the same.
5) Be a good listener. Women usually tell you what they need. It is a matter of wanting to hear. Once someone tells you how they feel or what they need, if you continue to ignore it, the signal is clear. You don’t care.
6) Protect your integrity. No matter if your motives and intentions are pure, it’s very important how it looks. Once your integrity is questioned, it’s downhill from there. Don’t ask your wife “Do you care if I do this or that?” You’re making her the bad guy if she says yes. Choose to not do anything that may appear inappropriate . Choose for your marriage. Choose for her.
7) Pray for a hedge around your marriage daily & mean it. If she knows your concern is the safety and security of your marriage, you’ve won the battle.
8) Have William Wallace moments. Look for ways to be her hero. Sometimes it’s as easy as speaking kind or in a calm tone. She looks to you to protect and defend her. Showing kindness is the easiest way to be her hero.
9) Unexpected gestures of love. Simple. Leave a note in the seat of her car telling her you are thinking of her. It means even more scribbled on the back of a random receipt. I promise. We don’t always need the pretty card. They are nice but an unexpected note on an old deposit receipt does the same. It lets her know you still love her.
10) Fight Fair. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Your spouse is the person you should be the most understanding with, the one you are the least stubborn with & the one you should want to compromise with the most.
What are your spouse’s love languages? How do they feel loved by you?
Began a conversation and ask those questions. Take a few minutes and take the quiz. (Link above) Share with your spouse your results.
Then commit to each other and God that you will both strive to love each other the way the other needs.
Why not commit to a couple’s devotion? You say “Well, we don’t have time.” No, you MAKE time.
Most devotions offer a verse of scripture, the devotion and a “prayer starter”. Use that time to discuss the content and then pray together.
Reading, discussing God’s Word and praying together will strengthen your marriage and relationship.
Invest in your marriage. Commit to fight and be a WARRIOR for your family.
Whether you’ve been together 5 days or 50 years, Make 2014 your best year.
The Hutsons 2013