Seven Ways to Keep Your Love Flourishing
by Dani Pettrey
The Bible tells us in Proverbs 5 verse 18, “Rejoice in the wife of your youth,” and verse 19 ends with, “May you ever be intoxicated with her love.” As a romantic suspense writer, I get to spend a good portion of time writing love stories. I’m a sucker for happily ever after in novels, but even more so in life.
My husband and I have been married for 26 years, and I can honestly say I love him more now than when we met. I thought I loved him deeply then, and I did; but after so many years, two children, a son-in-law and two grandsons, the love I hold for him is deeper than words can describe. How is this possible and how can you and your spouse rejoice in the spouse of your youth—whether you’ve been married one year or 50?
Today I’ll be sharing seven ways to keep your love flourishing throughout the years. The first four are from my point of view and the last three are from my husband’s. I thought you’d enjoy both a wife’s and a husband’s perspective. I hope you find them as helpful as my husband and I have.
Small Things Matter: It’s one thing to pay attention to and appreciate the big gestures of love, but it’s entirely different to pay attention daily to all the little things your spouse does to show love to you, and you to show love to your spouse in return. For example, my husband brings me flowers when I least expect it, he sits on a chair for hours in a bookstore I adore called the Book Barn that is literally four-stories high and filled with hundreds of used and rare books. He does it because he knows it makes me happy, and he’s happy to do it. In addition, he works hard daily to support our family—even working multiple jobs for years so I could stay home and homeschool our daughters. I love to look for ways to show my appreciate and love to him. I leave him love notes now and then, rub his back at night as it helps put him to sleep, buy little treats (his favorite candy bar, a sign with a loving quote for his office, a movie I know he’ll love) and leave them on his pillow so he’ll find them unexpectedly. Taking time to do the ‘little things’ adds up to a lifetime of love.
Say Thank You Often: It’s one thing to notice all the things your spouse does for you, but remember to let him know how much you appreciate it when he takes the trash out or brings you flowers or doesn’t mind when you leave the light on so you can read for hours after he falls asleep. I think we often get in ruts and forget to show and voice our appreciation. Saying thank you, offering a smile and giving him a hug can go a long way. Time, attention, affection and appreciation are invaluable ways to show your spouse how much you cherish him and how he shows his love for you in a million ‘little’ ways.
“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24
Let the Adventure Continue: Just because you’re married doesn’t mean the adventure of dating or courting is over. My husband and I plan date nights. We’re going out this weekend for dinner at a restaurant we love, and we’ll sit on the patio and enjoy the atmosphere. Sometimes we go to the movies or take a long Sunday drive or a fun Saturday hike. Remember how you spent your time as you were falling in love, and continue to make time, even if it’s only occasionally, to get dressed up and go out on a date.
Marriage Takes Three: God needs to be at the heart of your marriage, and that goes far beyond weekly attendance at church. Praying together and praying alone for one another, your marriage and your family is vital to a healthy marriage. Read Scripture together and attend a Bible study, Sunday school and/or a small group together. Our favorite is discussing what we’ve recently read or sharing our thoughts on the sermon we’ve heard. Asking God to be the third Person in your marriage, trusting Him to lead you through the hills and valleys, begging Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit so you can love your spouse the way God intended—that can only happen through God’s grace and the working of His Holy Spirit.
Now, a list from my husband. I figured it would be fun to share a male point of view as well. I hope you enjoy!
The 2-Minute Pause: When you arrive home or if meeting your spouse out somewhere, take a pause and remind yourself the next interactions you make are the most important in your life. No matter what the day has brought—for at least the first 10 minutes, your entire world should exist only for your spouse.
Be a Gentleman:
Open her door first—especially if it is downpouring (you will dry out).
When she leaves the table, STAND UP and help with her chair.
Guess what happens when she comes back—same thing.
Be Her Hero: The world is a cruel, beat down place. When the world is cruel or your spouse messes something up, remind her that the next time she is at bat she will knock it out of the park. Everyone messes up—remind her that perfection is in the messy bits you work through together holding hands. Everyone is kind when things are great—it is how you handle the difficult times that lets your character shine. And, while you can’t fix everything, you can certainly make sure she knows you are going to die trying.
Praised by New York Times best-selling author Dee Henderson as “a name to look for in romantic suspense,” Dani Pettrey has sold more than 400,000 copies of her novels to readers eagerly awaiting the next release. She researches murder and mayhem from her home in Maryland, where she lives with her husband. For more information about her novels, visit danipettrey.com.
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