There is an excellent book called “The Love List” by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott that has a list of wonderful things for marriages. In it they have things that couple should do once a day – once a week – once a month and once a year. I thought I would take this list and add a few of my own personal favortes to it. Enjoy!
The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.
Once a day:
1. Find something that makes both of you laugh. Humor has become the foundation of our marriage – even in the rough patches. Humor can relieve the tension – and even take the focus off of the negative and prevent us from being too self absorbed and selfish. Those that are the healthiest laugh often and can even laugh at themselves.
2. Take time to touch. Even if it is just a caress on the arm or hand – and kiss on the cheek – it is still some physical contact that says much. I am a “huggy” person – so physical touch is never hard for me. If you don’t tend to be too physical – it may be just what your partner wants and needs – just a little squeeze for reassurance can mean so much. Learn to be a FLIRT!! It does wonders, that’s all I can say!
3. Say something nice. We can live off a good compliment for days – sometimes even weeks! A kind word of encouragement is so endearing – especially from one you love. This will boost their self esteem level and help them to be more positive and productive. Our words are so powerful.
The development of a really good marriage is not a natural process. It is an achievement.
David and Vera Mace
Once a week:
1. Have a date night. More often than once a week if you can manage it. It isn’t always possible at different seasons of your life – especially with young children, as that can get expensive – but budget for it – it is time and money well spent! We are in a season of our lives where we have been dating much more often than once a week and it has changed and rejuvinated our marriage.
2. Plan to do active things together. Maybe you both could take up golf or join a gym together. Greg and I love to play golf – we played it before we had any children and we began to get back to playing it a couple of years ago – we need to do it more often! It’s fun to play together! Maybe just getting out for an after dinner stroll – or driving to a scenic place and doing some hiking and have lunch together. All good stuff.
Spending recreational time with his wife is second only to sex for the typical husband.
Willard F. Harley Jr.
Once a month:
1. Plan your schedules together. Find out what is happening during what days – what times are going to work for “dates” and when you’re going to be especially busy. We do this now – sometimes even doing this on a weekly basis so we know how to plan – the schedule gets trickier when you are both self employed!
2. Take inventory of the previous month. What worked? What didn’t? Talk about it – and make a conscious effort to spend more time to put the priority of you marriage at the top of the list. Greg and I have literally spent hundreds of hours talking over the last year to make our marriage better.
3. Stay connected during the week physically and emotionally. Be in tune to the other ones needs. Greg has learned that I need emotional connection. I need it all the time. It has not been easy for him to stay alert and in tune – but he decided that it was worth it – and he says it’s been like going back to school and getting his degree in understanding me. What a high compliment to me! That he thought I was worth it. That he would relearn some things that he had not been doing all through our marriage – that led to some misunderstanding and problems. It was hard work – but he was determined! Physical connection has been a bonus because of the hard emotional work. We’ve become like a couple of teenagers – and I wouldn’t trade that away for anything in the world! So worth it. Talk A LOT!!! Get really honest and authentic. Do it. It’s worth it – not always easy – but worth it.
Thrills come at the beginning and do not last…Let the thrill go and you will find you are living in a world of new thrills.
Once a year:
Have a real vacation get away. We try to do “mini” trips throughout the year – but once a year you should really go somewhere new and have a real “change”. Plan for it in advance – put it on the calendar and then DO IT. We like to go on cruises – we plan about a year and a half out – book it – put a deposit on it and then save for it throughout the year and a half. We have been all over the place because we have not only talked about it – but we’ve been ON PURPOSE about going. If you never plan for it – you will never do it. This is our special “alone” time – just the two of us and it is not easy for us to share those times with others.
2. Don’t be afraid of change. Change is the constant in this world and we must embrace it. If we settle just for the “same old, same old” – that is what kind of marriage you will have. You must stay current and be willing to listen more and talk less – truly make the necessary adjustments for our partner. If we truly love and want to be loved back – you must resist the tempatation to take them for granted and think, “they already know how I feel”. As time goes by it is even more important to do things for your partner to let them know that they are first priority. If you do not do this – it can be like “death” to a marriage. Ask your partner what you can do to be “better”. And then really listen. Make the decision that they are worth it to you. Woman need emotional connection and a smart man will fill that need for her. Men need physical love and admiration. A smart woman will fill that need. No one wants to be accused of not doing the best thing for the one they love. Marriage problems begin because people stop doing these things. They don’t pay attention anymore. Don’t be that person.
Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads which sew people together through the years.
Here’s wishing you and yours a Happy Valentine’s week as you embrace a “Love List” of your very own.