4 Ways to Splurge on Your Spouse When Money is Tight
by Cindi McMenamin
I know what you’re thinking. Money is tight. And here comes Valentine’s Day. How do you do your spouse justice when you’re still reeling financially from what you spent at Christmas?
There are many ways to show you care without breaking the bank. In fact, I’ve learned through the years that I can actually splurge on my spouse, thereby investing in my marriage, for half the cost of a dozen roses, an expensive dinner or even an over-priced box of candy.
When was the last time you really splurged on your spouse?
We don’t seem to have a problem splurging on our children when they do something fantastic, or on a best friend, or someone who has helped us out a great deal. But how often do we take the time, money or effort to pour it on for the one we are married to?
Some couples are able to splurge on each other all the time. But having always lived on a pastor’s salary, my husband and I have never been able to splurge regularly on each other, especially when it comes to spending money. Thankfully, splurging on each other doesn’t have to cost a lot, financially. You can splurge by being creative and working with what you have. That’s what Hugh did during one of our “tight budget” weeks.
We were getting ready to watch a movie. Hugh likes eating ice cream while watching movies. But we only had enough for one of us. I conceded. I didn’t need it anyway. And really, I was fine going without the extra calories. But Hugh, to my surprise, got an idea. He told me to get the movie ready and not come into the kitchen. In the meantime, he whipped up a treat for me—a banana split complete with the remaining ice cream, slices of our last banana on either side of the dish, some chocolate syrup and some blueberries. It was creative. It was a sacrifice (because he went without any that night), and it was a splurge. A banana split never tasted so good!
Splurging on the one you love implies going the extra mile, whether it be effort-wise, financially or with your time. You are giving beyond what you normally would because the one you love is priceless.
God set the splurging model for us. In 1 John 3:1, we read of how God splurged on us: “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” He set the splurging bar rather high when He spared no expense in sending His Son to be the sacrifice for our sins. We’re also told in the Bible that God is able to do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20). That is not a God who holds out on us. That’s a God who splurges to show just how “wide and long and high and deep” His love is for us (Ephesians 3:18). If God lavishes that kind of love on us daily, can you splurge a little to show the extent of your love for each other?
To splurge on each other does not mean heaping material blessings on your spouse, although you might take that approach once in a while. Here are four ways you can splurge on each other when money is tight. And some of these tender ways of saying “I love you” may go further this year than the traditional box of candies or expensive dinner:
Write It Out – Remember what it was like to receive a love letter? There’s nothing quite like it. Yes, firing off a text from your phone is easier, but a hand-written letter is much more personal. There’s something about seeing your spouse’s own handwriting and being able to keep that slip of paper. Write out what is on your heart. If you haven’t said it in awhile, it should be said about now, don’t you think? And what better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than to write your own “Valentine” letter to your husband or wife?
Plan It Out – Sometimes the best gift we can give our spouse is our time. Are you a couple that is often over-scheduled? Take some intentional time off this year just to be with each other. Plan a date and take your spouse as a surprise. It could be as simple as lunch out and a walk in the park to reconnect. If you’re the busy type, taking time for the one you love is a splurge that may be much appreciated.
Whip It Up – It’s been said that the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. But cooking for your wife might melt her heart as well. Plan an evening to whip up your spouse’s favorite dish or dessert. It’s a wonderful way to say: “You were worth the time this took to prepare.”
Give It Up – How long has it been since your husband or wife had a day off to him or herself? Try giving up something you need to do to offer your spouse some much needed time to relax or work on a project he’s really wanted to complete. Take the kids for an evening, or take back the “to do” list on a Saturday and say, “Do whatever you want to do today and enjoy it as a gift from me.” Then reconnect later and ask about how he enjoyed that time.
To splurge is to show God’s incredible love toward your spouse, as God has shown it to you. You can lavish each other with love, patience, kindness, gentleness, trust, forgiveness and understanding. To experience more with your husband or wife, splurge on each other—and love each other—as God loves you.
Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and author of 17 books. She and her husband, Hugh, have been married 30 years and have co-authored When Couples Walk Together: 31 Days to a Closer Connection. Cindi’s newest book, 12 Ways to Experience More with Your Husband, is now available from Harvest House Publishers. For more on her resources to strengthen your walk with God, your marriage or your parenting, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.
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