Valentine’s Day is great—it nudges us to celebrate romance. But we don’t want to celebrate only on special occasions, not when we can weave romance into the rhythm of our lives.
How do we keep celebrating romance all year long?
Between kids and jobs, home responsibilities and extended family, it is easy to let our marriage relationships go on auto pilot. But if we want to have a good marriage, a romance-filled marriage, we choose to be intentional about it.
We love intentionally
1. Discovering the best in our partner — every day — and celebrating it. Set this standard in your marriage and hold on to even in the most stressful times. Nothing builds romance like knowing your husband well and expressing appreciation for those things that are easily taken for granted.
2. Speaking to each other with respect. It makes me so uncomfortable to overhear couples speaking sarcastically to each other. It is a bad habit we fall into without even being aware of it. It costs nothing to speak well to each other. And when we don’t — it’s a romance-buster.
3. Dating each other. Dating is what helps us fall in love in the first place. It is the thing that most married couples give up first after saying “I do.” But dating is a great way to take a little retreat from those things that can pull us away from each other. At first you may have to look at dating as a project – setting aside time, money and energy for something (or someone) that is important.
I know that it can be expensive to date, but if you are creative, you can have a great date without breaking the bank. You can find inexpensive date ideas here. The point is, to go out and have some fun, to recapture a little of that romance you had early on and saying, you know what? We enjoy being together. We like each other.
4. Doing thoughtful little things. Little things add up to ongoing romance. Write a love note, buy him his favorite sweet treat, send a flirty text – have fun with it! Just let your man know you think about him when you’re apart. Do some of the little things you did when you were falling in love. There is real impact in doing these simple things, they say to your husband, “You matter so much to me.”
They sparked romance before, and they can ignite it again.
In our marriage, we learned that more effort had to be put in after the vows than before them. Today, I see my husband die to self every day to make sure that I know I am loved and that I’m happy. And I try to do the same for him. I can’t think of a better way to be married than how we are right now. It took us a long time to get there – we had to get past some things – but I can’t imagine anything better.
When we choose to love intentionally – by design and not by default – our wedding day becomes the beginning of a great romance story, not the end of it.
We’re talking about Loving Intentionally this week, and I want to share one of my tools for guarding my heart and tongue against the bend in our culture (and often our friendships) to demean, belittle, and yes, bash our husbands. We can be intentional about setting boundaries around what we let into our hearts or out of our mouths. Here’s one way I do both.
An Open Letter to my Friends who Talk Bad About Their Husbands: Why I Love You, But Can’t Hang Out with You Anymore
This is really, really hard for me to do, but I have to tell you why I can’t hang out with you anymore.
I get that marriage is hard. I do. I’ve fought with my husband (remember, when we got married, we had four teenagers, so we had plenty to “discuss” those first years of marriage,) disagreed with him, and sometimes (OK, many times) not been the wife I needed to be.
But here’s the thing: I want to do better. I want to be the wife my husband needs. I want to speak well of him and to him. I want to improve, a little bit, every day.
And when I’m around you, it’s hard. I feel like, because you throw your husband under the bus, you want me to throw my husband right under there as well.
I will not have the kinds of conversations that make men the butt of the joke, because not only am I married to a man, but I have two boys I want to respect as men as well.
I will not agree with how awful your husband is because I don’t know his side of the story.
I will not laugh at TV or movies that feature the guys as “Doofus Dads.”
I will not let you bait me into bashing husbands, yours or mine.
I’m sorry if this seems like an unexpected change-up – like I’m changing the rules of our relationship. But that uncomfortable laugh I make when you put down your husband?
From now on, I’m speaking up. It’s not OK to talk about any man like that in my presence. Ever.
Now don’t get me wrong. If you want me to pray for the tough time you’re going through, if you want to cry on my shoulder and have me recommend books on how you can improve your relationship, I will bring the coffee, milk chocolate and password to my Amazon account. I am there for you friend.
But if you only want to complain, and not let God make a miracle out of your marriage, I need to step away. Because I need to be with women who support the men in their life. I want to surround myself with women who are not perfect wives, but will inspire me to be a wife who follows God and blesses her husband out of the overflow of that relationship with God.
So if you want to be that kind of girl – come on over to my house.
But if not, I’m going to need to bow out. I know God wants more for you than what you have now. I’ll be here when you want that cup of coffee.
This question comes up a lot when I’m speaking: What should I do when my husband is overwhelmed?
And I get it – we are all looking for ways to connect during the hardest times.
His struggle could be because of work – or finances. Or there’s stuff going on with his parents, or in your family. Whatever the reason, we all know when it’s happening.
Maybe he gets really quiet and withdrawn. He may be in a place where talking about it (or about anything,) is overwhelming. He’s exhausted, so either he sleeps all the time or he doesn’t sleep at all.
You know what it looks like for your man. But when you see it happening, don’t just wait for the wave to pass. There are things you can do to actively help your man during this difficult time.
Here are ten things you the right away when you realize your husband is overwhelmed:
1. Feed Him Food. It makes him feel like everything might be okay for just this one hour. I don’t want it to seem like I’m making our guys into cavemen, but there is something about knowing where his next meal is coming from that can really make a man feel more secure. Cook him one of his favorites. 2. Brag on Him. Let him hear you bragging on him – to your friend, to your kids, to his mom. Pick one thing he did this week (went to work on a hard day, played tickle monster with the kids,) and make sure he knows how much it meant to you. 3. Unburden Him. Are there things around the house your husband normally does, that you, (or an older child) can do for him right now? Even hiring a teenager to mow the lawn could be just what your husband needs to know that you’ve got his back. 4. Seduce Him Again. Not trying to go caveman here, but sex is — for most men — the best tension reliever. Setting aside some time will do more for your husband than just about anything else. However, if sex is an area of discouragement, offer a no-strings-attached massage, or head, hand or foot rub. 5. Date Him. Plan a date geared for him. Take him to his favorite dinner spot and to a movie that involves a ball, something blowing up, or robots. 6. Treat Him. A Jamba Juice can improve my husband’s outlook on the world. Surprise him with a little something to let him know that you were thinking of him. 7. Encourage Him. One of the reasons your husband may feel overwhelmed is that he is feeling undervalued. What can you say to make him know that he is valued and respected? Tell him. Need some ideas to get your encouraging words flowing? Download my 21 Post-it-Note Encouragements. 8. Tag Him. Give your man a Facebook or Instagram shout-out and let the world know why he is just that awesome. 9. Pray for Him. Set an alarm on your phone and stop and pray for your husband every single day. Need some inspiration? It’s important to let your husband know you’re praying for him. Roger walks with new confidence when he knows I’ve got his back, prayer-wise. 10. Surprise Him. I have an alert on Amazon any time my man’s favorite author releases a new book. Surprise him with something he loves.
Today is the final day of our love challenge, but the reality is, we can keep up these simple habits every day. For our Day 5 challenge to love on your man, I want you to love him with scripture.
I know it comes as no surprise to you that I believe one of the most powerful ways for a woman to love and support her husband is to pray for him. So that is what I’m asking you to do today! Putting some power behind those prayers by putting some scripture into it.
Here are some of my favorite scriptures to pray for Roger:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
What is your husband going through right now? Is he feeling overwhelmed or in a season of life where he feels depressed? Is work stressful or does he just feel a little bored with life? Search out scripture to pray for him for his specific season in life. Envelope him in the love of his Heavenly Father and YOU!
Want more? I am over at Focus on the Family radio broadcast today where I share “Simple Ways to Help Your Husband Feel Loved”.
Listen In and leave a comment about your favorite tip!
Today is the Last Day to Win!
Answer the Question of the Day on Kathi’s Facebook page for your chance to win a copy of 101 Ways to Tell Your Husband You Love Him!
Today’s question: What Scripture will you prayer over your husband this week?
For today’s challenge, we are talking about how to love your man with actions. I hit the streets … OK, I asked my Facebook peeps to write the blog post for me. How do you love your man with actions?!?
Here are 41 Ways that you said you love your man with actions
Naomi Williams – Mine aren’t appropriate to post openly in the comments section.
Heather Harbeke Prouty – Change the sheets regularly! Nothing like having amazing smelling sheets when it’s time to go to bed!
Angela Springer Hood – I mailed him a thank you card full (front and back) with things I was thankful for that he does for our family.
Olivia Myers – Clear the driveway of a million feet of snow (slight exaggeration?) before he’s home. This avoids tire marks … something he despises!
Shirley Devuono Rempe – l making sure my kids are calm, the house is tidy (maybe not perfect but toys away, etc), and supper ready to eat when he gets home! Not always easy when i run a home day care, but I try daily to do it
Vicki Limes One thing I do is have someone take my phone number to him. It might say something like this “You’re HOT! Call me 214-555-5555!” (My real number of course) I usually ask an older teen or young adult because it also reinforces to them the value of flirting with your husband!
Nancy Whiting My husband gets up very early, so to make it easier for him, I have his work clothes put together in a ‘clothes package’ for him, and set on the table by the wood stove the night before so he doesn’t have to take the time to even have to think about it in the morning.
Laurie Batdorff Hays Asking what would help him most at home. He may not care about something you think he does! Cooking his favorite meal. Time and space to collect his thoughts after work so he can switch gears.
Melanie Barnard Witkovskie – I try to make his favorite meals and cook for him in general. I also try to make sure I don’t look like I just rolled out of bed when he gets home. Being a stay-at-home mom with a baby, it’s sometimes difficult, but I try to at least put on a little makeup and fix my hair! I want to look nice for him!
Dana DeVries – I text him love notes while he’s at work. I became interested in football and basketball to cheer his teams with him. I ask him how I can pray for him and follow up on those things. I make sure to look him in the eyes and smile when he comes home.
Traci Sheldon – I help him find reasons, resources and opportunities to do his hobbies. I also supported the remodeling of the “man cave” and did not complain about the cost or time it took to accomplish for him to have a space for himself.
Sue Hall Walsh – I put sticky notes in his work bag, lunch bag or car to let him know I’m thinking of him during the day. It gives me the chance to let him know how much I appreciate him. Something I often think of after he’s left the house for the day.
Lisa Evans Fulton – Last night my husband was snowblowing the driveway in the dark so I wouldn’t get stuck this morning, and he slipped and fell on his back. He insisted on finishing the job, so I passed some Advil out the window to him and then had a heating pad ready when he came inside and rubbed his sore spots. He insists on taking care of me .. .a few Advil and a heating pad hardly seemed like adequate thanks, but he was grateful.
Karey Lehrman Spidell – Keeping his favorite snacks stocked. Making sure the lunch stuff is stocked. And easy to grab!
Simone Dankenbring – My husband enjoys watching sports, especially the Blazers and Seahawks. I acknowledge and show how much I’m interested in something that he enjoys. I also keep him company and snuggle next to him during the games. When they win, I cheer along with him and when they lose, I always remind him that there’s “next time.”
SueAnn Kavanagh I set the timer on the coffee maker, so when he gets up the coffee is all made! I know it is a little thing, but it makes his heart smile every time I do it!
Susy Flory – Buying his favorite red licorice from the gourmet chocolate shop!
Lisa Johnson Blose – Sleep on the couch because he works so hard during the week I don have the heart to wake him when he’s snoring. (He also will do the same for me.) Love my man!
Bonnie Wild – Cleaning his trophy BBQ smoker so it’s ready for the next wonderful meal by the Bobby Flay wannabe (I say that lovingly).
Tonya Walter – Make his lunch every day. Even when the kids are off school.
Carole Landrith Hanna – Ironing his work shirts … without whining
Anna McCullough – Ditto Olivia’s post about clearing the snow from the driveway before it’s driven on! Also giving him time to decompress when he comes home from work.
Jeannette Shields I would eat a piece of fish for him … I hate fish but if he likes it, this is what I’d do, but definitely not all the time!!!
Robin Lord Dilallo – I stop what I’m doing, if I can, and help him with whatever is stressing him out at the moment. Wallet? Keys? Need to talk after a tough day?
Chris Moss – Today I had the emissions test done on my husband’s car and registered it at the MVD. Then I had it washed, buffed and hand-waxed.
Michelle Brown – I like to leave frequent voice mails for him to thank him for providing for our family and wishing him a great day! Once in awhile I will deliver a milkshake or smoothie to him in the middle of the work day.
Melissa D. Gillispie – My husband and I are a team. I cleaned the kitchen while he helped our daughter with her homework. He always has a clean bathroom.
Angie Bell – He likes when I go outside and shoot hoops with him. He loves basketball and he loves me. Double bonus.
Cathy Lo Davis – He loves freshly brewed ice tea, so I make sure to have the pitcher full when he comes from from work.
Tanya Aitken – I have his favorite drink in the freezer so it’s nice & cold (usually tea) waiting for him. I set a pair of his comfiest lounge clothes on the bed and when he walks in, I don’t say anything. He gets dressed and walks out with a smile, as I hold out his drink for him. He smiles and says, you did it again.
Heidi Bonner – Actually doing those small jobs he asks me to do.
Heather K Seay – Feed our animals (3 outside dogs and 1 cat). A chore he despises.
Jamie Jerome – I stock up on his favorite cut of meat in advance, when on sale, make beer bread in advance and freeze it, and make sure that his favorite brew is on hand. (Plus, it’s fun to be preggers and at the liquor store. People are hilarious.) This keeps us ready for a “stay home date” any night for 30 minutes or less. He also won’t go to bed until things are picked up and tidy and the dishes are done even if he is coming off an 18 hour shift. So on nights I know he won’t have energy left, I do it, no matter how exhausted I am from my day.
Sara Graham – I baked brownies filled with Reeces Peanut Butter cups and Reeces Pieces. I also made fancy sandwiches for his lunches and had coffee ready in a travel mug. Also I cleaned up some of the things around the house that drive him crazy
Jo Leneb – Make sure there is always something in the fridge for lunches and snacks.
Renee Simpson Holden – Taking out the trash, instead of asking him to do it.
Pam Wood Humphrey – Polish his shoes.
Amber Schumacher – Picking up dog poo before he gets home! Making his coffee and setting the timer so he wakes up to fresh brewing coffee. Making his lunch for the next day (something out of the norm).
Christie Terry McKay – Buying his favorite snacks and candy and giving him time to decompress every day when he comes home from work.
Emily Wilkerson Wilson – Take out the trash so he can sleep 10 more minutes.
Lindsey Cuartilon – This is good stuff! All I can come up with is that I don’t run away and leave him with all these kids! Lol.
So, there you have it — 41 ways to love your man with actions. Tell us in the comments below how your love your man with actions.
WIN! Day 3
Answer the Question of the Day on Kathi’s Facebook page for your chance to win a copy of 101 Ways to Tell Your Husband You Love Him!
Question of the Day: What is one thing you can do for your man this week that tells him how much you love him?