“Let us not love in word or speech but in deed and truth”
1 John 3:18
It’s the timeless adage that actions speak louder than words. Certainly we want our words to reflect truth, but how we act will leave a stronger impression. There is probably no place where this is truer than in our family and specifically within our marriage. We can all conjure up ideas of grand gestures we would love our spouse to make, but those ideas are hard to coordinate and afford while raising young families. However, there are small ways we can show our spouse how much we love and care for them.
Learn Your Spouse’s Love Language
“The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman is a great resource to learn about the experience of love. He has many resources including quizzes at 5lovelanguages.com. The love language quizzes are available to download in PDF version – print off, pour a glass of wine, and complete together – an easy at home date night. The opportunity to understand how our spouse feels loved is priceless. Understanding our love language can give concrete ideas of how to act accordingly.
Keep Lines of Communication Open
With so much shared experience, it is easy to think our spouse knows what we are thinking or expecting. Not true. Our inner dialogue is never going to match our spouses. If a certain action our spouse takes is hurtful, gently communicate that without judgement. If communication can happen without accusation, our spouse has an open door to rectify the situation and change the action. If a certain action really makes us feel loved and cared about, share that too. A “thank you” goes a long way.
Make Small Windows of Opportunity
This could be as simple as making sure to greet each other at the end of the day with a hug and kiss. Maybe it is a text during the work day to say “I’m thinking about you”. Or perhaps we can call a babysitter ahead of time to make date night planning simpler. There are a million ways to show our spouse that they are on our mind and in our heart that have nothing to do with driving car pool or changing diapers.
A dance through the kitchen, hiding the toothpaste with a note in its place, or remembering an old inside joke is a great way to bring levity to each other’s day and enjoy laughing together. A chance for our kids to see us enjoy each other is a gift to the whole family.
A 6 Second Smooch
Kissing for 6 seconds allows feel good chemicals to mobilize. As our brains and bodies recognize this input, it builds romance, connection, and opens the door to further intimacy. A short kiss goes a long way.