By no means does 2+ years of marriage make me an expert, but I have picked up on a few things over these last 26 months. 🙂 Most importantly, I’ve learned that it really is the little things that count most. The subtle things we do (or don’t) communicate so much of our love and appreciation that they really can’t afford to be skipped.
Of course there are countless ways to show love, but here are just 10 that I strive to implement on a regular basis.
1. Encourage him daily. As wives we are our husbands confidantes and biggest cheerleaders. We know what he loves, what bugs him most, and what his greatest fears are. Taking just a few moments everyday to build him up will make him all the more confident to go out and face the world for our family.
2. Say thank you. It’s easier to forget than we’d like to admit, but a simple thank you for even the smallest thing goes a long way. Whether it’s doing you a favor or going out of his way to do something nice, or even finally getting around to that one thing you’ve been asking him to do, be sure to thank him for it. Let him know all he does for you and your family is appreciated and doesn’t go unnoticed.
3. Acknowledge his progress/Lead with love. Nobody gets it right every single time. Not even us (admit it!) But when it’s time to have those tough conversations to address something that’s bugging us or that we’d like to see changed, it’s critical to lead with love. Acknowledge the positives first before mentioning the negatives. No one like to feel like they’re being railed on and not given any credit for trying. So if you’re sick of still seeing dishes in the sink when you wake up in the morning, maybe start the conversation by thanking your husband for being so handy around the house, helping with the kids, or working so hard to take care of you guys. Acknowledge the importance of those things and their value to you before reminding him that it’s also really important to you that the kitchen is clean when you get up in the morning because it really helps you start your day off better. The critique will be a lot better received that way than if you were to just fuss about how he “always” leaves the kitchen dirty and it drives you nuts. 😉
4. Initiate. Whether it’s romance, his favorite activity, or cooking his favorite meal, go out of your way to do something he really likes with/for him without him asking. Maybe it’s just me, but things mean a lot more to me when they just happen and I didn’t have to ask for them first. The thought and the effort almost mean more than whatever the gesture is itself. It’ll let him know you’re thinking about him and really want to make him happy.
5. Just go with it. I’ll speak for myself with this one: it can be really, really hard to not be right. Like really hard. When I have a point, it almost always must be proven. But sometimes, you just have to go with him and let him lead. You’ll know when those times are, because you’ll have that familiar “Meh, this isn’t really that serious” feeling in the back of your head fighting against that urge to just be right. Truthfully, it’s even more rewarding to see how your husband feels validated and respected when you just go with his opinion or decision on things. Respect is the ultimate currency in marriage, so sometimes you just gotta give. No fuss, no debate, just go with it.
6. Let him hear you praying for him. It’s one thing to pray. It’s another thing entirely to let the words you pray sink into your husband’s mind and heart as he listens to you seeking God on his behalf. I must admit, this is something I don’t do enough. But after thinking about it and reflecting on the value I’ve gained from specific prayers I’ve heard prayed over me, I know this is a huge difference maker. It’s really the best way to encourage him because he know’s you’re right there fighting with him and going to God for him. And in moments where he may not even know the words to pray for himself, your prayers will make a transformative impact.
7. Do his chores. It sounds crazy, I know. As if you don’t already have your hands full, right? Well, here’s the thing: every once in awhile, when you notice he’s especially tired or busy from work, giving him the slightest break like not having to do the dishes or take out the trash can bring abundant relief. Especially if you do it without him having to ask for the favor (see #4). He’ll be so appreciative that you were so thoughtful that you’ll earn bonus points and a maybe even a few nights off yourself when it really counts.
8. Buy him a special gift. Don’t feel obligated to break the budget here, but one thing I really love to do is surprise him with little things I know he likes when I happen to see something that reminds me of him (good Lord I’m turning into my mother faster than I thought!). A great-smelling candle, a cute coffee mug, a new workout shirt, or even one of those vegan gingersnap cookies from Whole Foods is a simple way to brighten his day and let him know I was thinking of him. Lingerie’s good too. 😉
9. Make time for just the 2 of you. You know how we feel about date night. No matter what, it’s critical to protect the time reserved for you two to just be together. Whether you choose to go out or stay in, make it quality time to connect and really just enjoy each other. Which leads me to #10…
10. Show him you want him. Also consistent with #4. I’ll let you get creative with this one, but you get the point! 😀