Have you ever gone through a rough patch in your marriage?
Most of us can probably say we have. Some of us can say we’ve experienced multiple. These tough, dry or frustrating times are so hard, but they are normal in a healthy marriage.
Without these tough times, we’d miss out on an amazing opportunity.
Maybe you’re sitting there wondering if you read that right. It’s quite a backwards concept!
But without times to test the love in your marriage, you might miss out on the opportunity to strengthen your love for each other.
It was this mindset shift that powerfully changed how I approach my marriage.
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So often, we want to connect, we want to feel loved and we want things to go smoothly. But having this as our goal in marriage isn’t quite as beneficial as we think.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure, just like me, you work hard to serve and love your spouse.
But do you notice the energy you have to serve them and love them fades in those tough times and rough patches? I do.
Even when life is good but my marriage feels dry, disconnected or tough, I struggle to make it a priority to love on my spouse.
It is in those times that the priority of actively loving your spouse is the most important.
A few weeks ago, my husband and I got a puppy. Although she is adorable, it was an exhausting few weeks. With such a silly example of something tearing at our energy and time - it has brought me to the conclusion that it is the most important to love your spouse during these times where energy is low, quality time is limited, and you just don’t feel loved.
This is where the mindset shift comes in - after all, it’s so much harder to love someone when you don’t feel loved yourself.
But God doesn’t call us to love only when we feel loved. He calls us to love All. The. Time. Regardless of circumstance.
So, let’s get to the practical and powerful ways to make your spouse feel appreciated this week. Because when you act on these things, you will not only notice a difference in your spouse, but in your approach and feelings in your marriage as well.
1. Know their Love Language and love them in that way
Take the time to discover your spouse’s love language. And try to do at least one thing each day that falls into the category. If it’s physical touch-be sure to spend a few minutes cuddling, grab your spouses hand while walking or give them a few extra hugs. If it’s words of affirmation-write them an encouraging note, offer them a compliment or end the day with reminding them how much you love them. Make these intentional acts of love a priority each and every day.
Suggested Reading: The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts
2. Kiss them more!
It can be so hard to forget the power in a passionate kiss. I once heard the advice not to let a day go by where you don’t spend at least one long moment kissing your spouse. How many days do you let go by without a passionate kiss? Let’s change that!
3. Spend time doing something they love most!
And be all in! Don’t simply go along, but find ways to get invested and excited!
4. Plan a date night
Don’t wait for them to be the romantic one or the planner. Take the time to plan out a nice and thoughtful evening.
5. Do one of their chores/responsibilities
So often we get caught in the rut of our patterns and roles. Roles are important in a marriage, but every now and then, it can be a powerful gesture to take on your spouse’s responsibility or chores. Do they always do the dishes? Grab a sponge and get washing. Is it there responsibility to rake the leaves? Spend an hour clearing the yard!
6. Praise them
It is so important to praise your spouse both privately and publicly. Let them know how much you appreciate them! Compliment them often.
7. Pray for them daily
This is one of the most powerful ways to love your spouse in action. Lift them, their life, their needs, their struggles before the Lord every single day. I LOVE the book, The Power of a Praying Wife (there’s also one for husbands). This book walks you through praying over a specific area of your husband’s life each day. God has changed my heart tremendously by praying over my spouse daily.
8. Don’t just offer your time, offer your heart - be vulnerable
Being vulnerable in a rough patch can be hard. No one wants to go first when they’re hurting. But in a committed marriage relationship, you are called to go first. Vulnerability is key to a healthy marriage relationship. Start with a small step towards sharing your heart. Ask God to show you when and how to be vulnerable with your spouse.
9. Spend time with God alone EVERY day
Don’t give up spending time with God. This is so important in fueling your heart and mind to loving others. Be in the Word daily, pray daily and spend quiet moments with the Lord. When I notice my time with God slipping, I see my patience, love and selflessness fading with my husband.
It is the time with God that gives me the strength to love my spouse well.
10. Learn to sacrifice
To be honest, one of my husband’s strengths is being selfless almost all the time. It is impossible to keep up with because I’m quite the opposite. I struggle to be selfless, to sacrifice and to do it whole-heartedly. I notice that when I finally muster up the heart to selflessly sacrifice something, my lips betray me and I find myself saying something to let him know just how un-selfless I’m feeling.
Learning to sacrifice is a process and it takes the Holy Spirit’s chipping away, especially in tough times when time is stretched and energy is limited. Ask God to teach you to be selfless, humble and to sacrifice daily for your spouse.
What has helped you love your spouse well in a rough patch?