Keeping the Spark

Try to surprise each other from time to time.  How do you do that? Early in the year, ask question about what they like or like to do; write it down and start planning the surprise in advance, and if it includes the entire family, get the kids involved in the planning process if you trust them with keeping it a secret

-Sam

Don’t you just love this idea? I know I do! How amazing would it feel to know that your loved one had spent months on end planning a special surprise for you, just from asking about things you enjoy? The time, the care, the consideration that would go into something like this would be more than you could imagine, and the dedication to see it through…come on guys, it’s awesome! Let’s be honest, this is the kind of thing people only do for weddings.

So, keeping Sam’s advice in mind, I wanted to give you a few ideas on ways to keep the sparks flying in your relationship, based on their love language.

words of encouragement

Years ago, in the very early stages of my marriage, I bought a plain black journal and turned it into a book. The idea was that each year, around Christmas (or his birthday?) I would write down a bunch of reasons why I loved him or why he is a good husband. It only lasted about 3 Christmases but I think he appreciated it. Especially if I gave it to him when we happened to be going through a rough-patch. It wasn’t just a list though. I would write down a paragraph or 2 on each page about a specific thing that I liked about him. If I wrote that I respected him, I also wrote down why. If I wrote that he was funny, I’d recall an instance when he made me laugh. This is a simple and easy way to show your partner affection if their love language is words of encouragement.

If you feel like you’re not great at writing in detail or making things sound special on paper, then buy a card from the store and cut out all the sentimental parts and glue it on there. It still comes from you and that’s what matters most!

words of encouragement (1)

You can really take this one and run with it. Especially when it comes to things around the house. I generally handle the household chores (not because I have to but because I don’t like the way my sweet husband does it) but I despise cleaning the kitchen and it just so happens that my husband goes just a teensy bit crazy when he sees a messy kitchen. It takes forever to cook a meal and I don’t feel like standing around for another hour cleaning up the mess I made LOL. But wouldn’t it be an awesome act of service if I cleaned up after myself so that my husband would go bat crazy looking at a sink full of crazy dishes. (In reality this is a chore my 2 oldest children do nightly)

Maybe your spouse can’t stand tall grass in the yard or crumbs on the floor of the car you drive. What about grocery shopping? I personally can’t trust my husband to grocery shop, since his love of Cheetos puffs runs strong, but maybe you could do the grocery shopping for your spouse? Aside from household things you could bring lunch to work every so often. Buy their favorite meal and have it at their desk hot and ready to munch! Pick up the dry cleaning…take the clothes to the dry cleaning without being asked. There’s so much you can do, just get creative and go with it. If it becomes a bit too routine for you, then find something else and start doing that.

words of encouragement (5)

This is my love language so, before I give you any ideas on how to spend quality time, I’m going to give you the 2 things that I consider to be a ridiculous waste of quality time with your loved one.

  1. Movies- NO, NO, NO. You don’t interact when you watch a movie together.You don’t connect, bond, talk, look at each other…the movie is getting ALL of the attention! I like going to the movies with my husband, but if we haven’t had any alone time in a while and he suggests a movie, it angers me to no end. Movies are fine but they are not quality time
  2. TV- Sitting at home watching your favorite show together, catching up on a season you missed on Netflix, watching the game, these are all things I consider to be a waste of quality time. Again, not bad things, and if you do them with your spouse that’s awesome, but you don’t bond, talk, or even look at each other when the TV has your attention

I only mention these because to me they have been quality time killers. My husband is in the army, which, in a nutshell, means he works a lot. Like a lot, a lot. So when we get time alone, the LAST thing I want to do is stare at a screen for 2 hours. I want to go out, have fun, experience something new, see something I’ve never seen, have a nice meal, and finish it all off with a night of marital intercourse. Now that, my friends, is quality time.

words of encouragement (3)

Speaking of marital intercourse, is there a better way to answer the needs of a loved one whose love language is physical touch? Not to me there isn’t! I’ve heard it said, by multiple marriage experts, that men always desire sex more than women. I’m no expert but I can say that is not 100% true. Perhaps there is a greater percentage of men who think about sex more than women, but there are definitely a lot of women out there who want it just as bad as the men, if not more.

In our daily course of life we aren’t really going to have sex every day, so it is important to think of the little things. Wrapping your arms around your loved one and giving them a sweet kiss on the neck. Holding hands. Sitting close together when you’re on the couch. Kissing…not the peck before work but an actual kiss. These are just a few ways you can feed your loved one the affection they need

words of encouragement (4)

Phew! We’re down to number 5.( Man, my brain is on a roll with this one. The words are coming faster than I can type!) A common mistake that people make when they give gifts, is giving something they want the person to have, instead of giving something they know the person wants. I’ve certainly been guilty of this myself. My husband used to do this too. He’d ask me every year to make a list of things I want for my birthday and Christmas (which are only 2 days apart). Then, each year he’d get me nothing I put on my list! Instead he got me something he thought I should have instead. Dude, what kind of logic is that? It’s parent logic is what it is.

As a mother, if I tell my children they can have a snack, the first thing they’ll want is candy or ice cream. Of course, right? They’re kids. Instead I have to offer them a healthier alternative that still tickles their sweet tooth. That’s good, but when you do that with your loved one’s birthday gift it’s just foolishness. Know your spouse and get them something they actually want!

Well there you have it. I’m sure I didn’t do all of these categories their proper justice, given the format, but I hope this helps you (men and women) to think of ways to show affection to your loved one. I’m not endorsing the book or anything, but pay attention to how your spouse reacts to different ways you show affection, or you could just come right out and ask. It’ll definitely be worth it to find out.

If you’ve ever taken the time to plan out surprises for your loved one, just because, please comment and tell me how it went! I would love to hear about it!

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