The other day a friend expressed deep sadness. She shared with me that Valentine’s Day is the only day her husband remembers to give her a card and flowers — The rest of the year she receives nothing.
I was deeply saddened. It occurred to me this annual event might be the only day they celebrate their love. And it struck me this may be true for other couples as well.
Jim and I have experienced many stages of marriage. Our first years were pure wedded bliss; everyday was a honeymoon. Then reality set in. We soon discovered it was hard work to keep romance alive, especially after our children arrived. Lack of time for each other seemed to be our biggest obstacle. We both felt romance should be automatic and spontaneous, except that wasn’t reality for us. As unromantic as it sounds, we’ve found that romance requires planning and a constant, compassionate focus on each other.
I love my husband today with more passion and depth than the day we were married. I love his heart for romance in our marriage. Most importantly, he makes me feel cherished.
Here’s what works for us…
Scheduling and Intentionality
I know Jim often enters reminders on his Blackberry so he remembers important dates or needs prompting to send me flowers. I appreciate that he makes that effort, even though to him, this lacks the spontaneity he sometimes desires. For myself, I have to plan things out weeks and weeks in advance. The anticipation of surprising him is worth every moment of planning.
Words and Touch
Do you tell your spouse you love them everyday? In the midst of your busy schedules, do you kiss each other when you leave the house in the morning? Do you embrace when you come in the door at night? Physical touch and simple, loving words connect us; it reminds us we are important to each other.
Prayer and Intimacy
Reading a daily devotional and spending time in prayer at bedtime brings us closer and initiates discussion after a long day. Even though Jim is fighting off sleep (and I could go on for hours), it still connects us to each other and to God. This is the deeper, fuller, richer intimacy God intends for us to share.
Have you ever thought of making breakfast for each other? If cooking is not your specialty, ordering out from a local restaurant is something Jim has done. I don’t mind that he can’t cook — I appreciate that he made the effort to surprise and serve me. Many Sunday mornings I make him homemade waffles or French Toast. The true way to his heart is food — especially chocolate chip cookies. Doing these things is a very simple way of serving him. I’m putting him first… Before myself.
God called us to serve one another in love (Galations 5:13). He also warns (Galations 5:15) that “biting and devouring each other” will destroy us. No wonder so many relationships are in deep trouble. Our first human response is selfishness. We think of ourselves before we think of the lifetime partner God has given us. If we put God first in our lives and then our spouse, a marriage can grow in unimaginable ways.
Jim and I are refreshed most when we take getaway weekends. When the kids were small, sometimes it was only a night or afternoon away. Today our getaway goal is several times a year. It is a time to get reacquainted with each other and remember why we fell in love to begin with. It helps us leave all the stress of home behind and just have time to focus on each other. We have often made major decisions about marriage, ministry and family during these times together.
Are you up to the challenge? Start with a Valentine’s Day once a week. Go out for a cup of coffee, to a movie, or dinner together. Eat Order-in pizza over a tablecloth on your bedroom floor. Lock the door and tells the kids you can’t be disturbed for a half-hour. Many couples are opposed to having a TV in the bedroom, but cuddling in bed while watching a movie can be lots of fun. It doesn’t have to be an expensive evening. Be creative!
The love the Lord blessed you with should be celebrated more than once a year. Valentine’s Day should be every day.
Copyright © Sheri Mueller. All rights reserved.
Sheri Mueller and her husband Jim, are marriage mentors. Sheri is a Growthtrac co-founder.