You can’t commend what you do not cherish.
I am thankful for a strong marriage, and I cherish my relationship with my husband. He gave me a 20th anniversary ring, a symbol of being cherished , showing me deep love, honour and respect. This winter we’ve shared time at an Alpha marriage course watching DVD’s and working privately in our workbooks. I highly recommend the course. How can you cherish your marriage?
Time: Marriage time..the foundation of 1-2 hours per week scheduled time to look each other in the eyes, hugs, hold hands, rub feet, walk, laugh, connect with the eyes of the soul..your soul-mate. This time needs to be booked on your calendar, PDA or day- timer.
Touch: non-sexual affection, a short kiss on the back of the neck at the kitchen sink, a hug hello, or a kiss goodbye. German business men who kiss their wives goodbye have fewer car accidents, and make more money ! Meaningful physical touch. A shoulder squeeze or back rub that says I care, I love you, and I want to connect with you.
Telling: verbal affirmation. ” I love you and you are beautiful, goodbye darling”. Use special terms of endearment…Affirm with the written word of “I love you” in your journal, your Bible, your day-timer, your palm pilot, and the wallpaper of your computer, and the file of encouragement that you would grab if the house was on fire.
What would you grab if your house was on fire?
Can you list 6 things that you deeply appreciate about your spouse, and then tell them?
Treating your spouse with the cleaning of the Chevy pick-up or hauling out the compost or sweeping off the fresh snow on the back porch. Making all the arrangement for a quick overnight to a B&B in the woods, or the pool at the hotel. Cooking supper. Booking the kids at grandma’s and delivering them there so you can work on the puzzle, Scramble game and bedroom fun, uninterrupted.!
Thinking: listening intently to what your spouse is feeling, and what they are afraid of. De-coding all those fear triggers and exploring how they were listened to as a child, and now how you feel cared for. Your caring list is expanded so you can think up new ways in this season of your marriage to care for your spouse so that they feel deeply cherished.
Travelling : without the suitcase just for the day to get away from the farm to gain a new perspective. The destination can be 150 km. friends, or a farm show, or an auction or antique store to explore. The truck becomes the conversation pit, and the cell phone is shut off , with your favourite Paul Overstreet CD on the stereo.
Treasures made by hand, found in the field, or tracked down with thought and care.” I made this antique desk for you , I brought you wild sunflowers and wheat heads from the field, I tracked down that book you wanted from the library. I cashed in the piggy bank stash for this rose for you. I paid for a cleaning lady to terrorize our house while we’re away. I bought the labour of these 2 teenage church kids to help us with this special project you’ve been wanting done for a long time.”
Tickling your funny bone, sharing good jokes, funny observations and avoiding teasing in a fun way to create that inner jogging and laughter that heals, creates joy, and helps put those deposits in the emotional bank account to weather the tough times. Show each other the comics or farm paper cartoons that tickle your funny bone, or give you a lighter perspective.
Tracking short accounts, and letting go of hurt with forgiveness. Going to bed, but not letting the sun go down on your anger. Seeing the intent, action and effect by testing out the issues, and being soft on the person but hard on the problem. Knowing that grudges and grievances can be the dripping tap that erodes the relationship and becomes a huge problem later on.
Treat your spouse as if you don’t know how much time you’ve got together. Your passion to love and be loved, the intimacy that drives your relationship is a precious gift, not to be taken for granted. Widows at 45 , two who are my friends, have taught me to take stock of the present moment, and be thankful. That attitude of gratitude doesn’t need to be saved up for one day a year in February… it needs to be sprinkled extravagantly throughout the sunrises and sunsets of the year.
Elaine Froese speaks to church groups and women’s retreats.