If you are one of those guys who forgot today is Valentine’s Day, thank God for this blog right now! You’re going to get a few tips that you can implement into your love life today – and into the future. And pay close attention to the end of the article, where we offer our “Valentine’s Day Emergency Response Plan” with a few ideas to impress your spouse last-minute.
And ladies, we didn’t forget you! These same tips can help you keep the romance going as well.
So, whether you’ve been married for five days, five years, or fifty years, here are a few ways to keep your marriage engaging, fun, and meaningful.
1. Know your spouse’s love language
If you haven’t already read the book, The Five Love Languages, give it read – or at least a quick glance. In short, the book shares that there are five ways we feel and express love – and most of us value one or two of these methods more than the others.
The list of love languages are:
- Gift giving
- Quality time
- Words of affirmation
- Acts of service (devotion)
- Physical touch
Generally speaking, we express love in the languages that we most value – while paying less attention to those that don’t matter to us.
The key, however, is to focus on expressing love to your spouse using their love languages, not your own.
For example, you may love gifts, so you offer your spouse jewelry or a new watch for Valentine’s Day as you run off to work. Although that may mean a lot to you, your spouse may value quality time over gifts. Therefore, what he/she may prefer is a dinner at home with just the two of you and some engaging conversation.
Your marriage will be far richer once you discover what love languages your spouse values, and you begin spending time focused on those.
2. Plan for an exciting future together – build anticipation
There are a plethora of reasons why marriages struggle and die, but many of these issues can be brought back to a single motivator: a depressing future together.
When one, or both, partners in a marriage feel that the future looks grim, it’s time to make a change! After all, no one wants to live miserably.
Fortunately, this can be combatted.
Regardless of how difficult life, and marriage, can sometimes be when you and your spouse have hope for an exciting future together, your marriage will be far more likely to endure.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that abuse and other poor behavior should be accepted. If there are serious issues in your marriage, counseling (either with your spouse or alone) is a good idea.
However, for those of you who may feel as if the joy of marriage is fading, you can find ways to create an exciting future together – and build up the anticipation! How do you do this? Here are a few ideas:
- Plan a vacation together for 6-12 months out – and make sure that you are both involved in the planning process.
- Flirt with your spouse and build excitement for an upcoming evening alone. Leave a sticky note on the bathroom mirror, send a compliment via text during the day, smile and wink from across the room, and take care of activities or chores that frequently consume your spouse’s time. Although it may seem cheesy, this type of behavior keeps a marriage exciting!
- Buy tickets or schedule time to do something that your spouse loves several weeks in advance. Does your husband love a particular music group? Is your wife a Mets* fan? Did the two of you fall in love while kayaking together? Find an activity that would be fun for your spouse (and, ideally, you as well) and schedule it!
- Financially prepare for the future. Most women want to feel taken care of financially. Most men don’t want to feel trapped in a dead-end job. Money is often one of life’s biggest stressors – and a frequent cause for divorce. Discuss finances together and develop a plan to allow both of you to feel financially secure and independent. This will make your marriage, and your life, far more enjoyable.
Although there are plenty of issues that require far deeper evaluation, for many marriages, having future activities scheduled (romantic, adventurous, intellectual, social, etc.) that both partners can look forward to can keep the marriage alive and fun.
3. Worship Together
Sadly, Christian marriages have the same struggles and divorce rates as secular marriages. However, there is a lot of value that can come from engaging in religious and humanitarian projects together.
Here are some of the ways that worshipping together can keep your relationship strong:
- Daily prayer/devotion keeps you both connected. When you commit to reading or praying together daily, it gives you a time to ask deeper questions and learn how your partner is really Then, by bringing these challenges and requests to the throne of God, the weight and stress can be removed from your shoulders.
- A strong church community keeps you connected. Seeing your spouse tell a funny joke to a crowd or watching her enthusiasm playing a game can remind you of why you fell in love in the first place. Meanwhile, knowing that others have had difficult times in their marriages, and learning how they’ve overcome, can give you wisdom for your relationship. In short, having a community that supports your marriage and allows you to socialize can provide tremendous strength to your marriage.
- Clear moral values encourage a healthy relationship. When both members of a marriage seek to be morally sound, they will be less likely to give in to temptations (anger, infidelity, harboring of wrongs) that hurt a marriage. If both partners have a strong moral compass, the relationship will benefit tremendously.
Humans are social creatures. Having a morally strong and socially active community can give your marriage an extra layer of enthusiasm and protection when focused on properly.
There you have it! Three ways to keep your marriage healthy and strong for the long run.
The last-minute Valentine’s Day Emergency Response Plan
But what about today? What do you do when you suddenly remember that it’s Valentine’s Day at noon on February 14?
Here are a few things you can still accomplish:
- Make a reservation for dinner. Don’t be foolish and think you can just show up somewhere to eat – the wait will be ridiculous! Instead, make a reservation if possible.
- Plan for an evening at home. If restaurants are already booked, then stop by the grocery store to buy the ingredients necessary to create your spouse’s favorite meal. Think of a few movies that you can rent on Amazon or Google, and come home with a plan for dinner and a movie. Note: Have a list of movies ready to go! Don’t just jump on Netflix and start searching – give your spouse a few options to pick from, but keep the process timely (no one likes spending twohours trying to find something to watch on Netflix).
- Buy flowers! I recommend going to the store right away to purchase those flowers, but even on your way home from work, there will likely still be flowers available. So grab some flowers and keep the party rolling.
- Write a note, poem, or song. It doesn’t matter how cheesy it is, writing something for your spouse will likely be either romantic or hilarious. Either way, it will be endearing.
- Propose that you spend the evening putting together a photo book on Shutterfly. What better way to pretend that you didn’t forget about Valentine’s Day than to offer a gift that requires your lover’s involvement? Spend the evening deciding what pictures to include in the photo book, designing the book, and then purchasing it to be deliveredlater .
- Introduce a plan for a vacation/getaway. Whether it’s a two-week trip to Europe or a weekend getaway to the mountains, come home with a plan (and perhaps print out a coupon/ticket/etc. for the activity) toget away together shortly.
There you have it! If you’ve found yourself trapped without a Valentine’s Day plan, try one of these activities – or build off of them to create your own. It’s amazing how romantic you can appear with just a few minutes of planning.
By spending a few moments every day to brainstorm how you can keep your marriage fun and engaging, you will rediscover why you married the love of your life – and why spending the rest of your lives together is a worthy endeavor.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?" Ecclesiastes 4:9