When we think about showing love, what often comes to mind first are fancy dinner dates, flowers or expensive gifts, and romantic vacation plans. While these gestures can be precious and meaningful, they’re likely not gestures we can sustain every day. And so big demonstrations aside, daily displays of affection are just as important (if not more) in ministering to your spouse.
Throughout the Gospels, we see that Jesus didn’t just preach about God’s love for the world. He showed it through his service (Matthew 14:14-20, 20:34, Luke 18:16, John 13:14-15).
In the same way, being intentional in going about your daily life together and serving as the main support system for each other can make a huge difference in your marriage. As you learn more about your spouse through the ups and downs of everyday life, you’ll also get to see how your spouse understands and receives love, which can be different from how you like to receive love.
When I started dating my husband, I wrote him notes—long and short ones—and hunted down gift items I thought he would like (Pokemon or Ghibli collectibles). I wanted him to know he mattered to me, and I thought doing these would help express my love, since that’s how I feel loved by others.
I soon came to realise that as much as my husband appreciated my efforts, he wasn’t a fan of reading or collecting figurines. Instead, he felt more loved whenever I spent time with him. After we got married and started living together, I noticed he also felt loved whenever I kept our home clean and orderly. Since then, we’ve made more effort to show love in ways that really meet the other person’s needs.
If you’re looking for some ideas to grow your relationship, here are some practical ways to express your love every day:
- Hug and kiss when you greet each other
- Say “I love you” often. Don’t assume that they already know, so there’s no need. Saying “I love you” emphasises the commitment you’ve made to each other and fosters intimacy.
- Write little notes for them (e.g., an encouraging verse, a reason why you love them). Tell them how much you admire a certain talent or skill they have, how well they take care of you, and how you appreciate them.
- Help out around the house without being asked
- Understand their need for personal space (e.g., letting them read a book or use their phone/computer without interruptions).
- Observe what is important to them and try to join in as much as possible. For example, I noticed that my husband loves playing board games, so I decided to put effort into playing some games with him, which has meant a lot to him.
- Be available as a friend—spend time to talk to each other about your everyday life.
- Listen quietly and attentively when they talk to you or open up about something.
- Pray for them and with them—even just for five minutes out of your busy day.
- Support their dreams—encourage them in the plans/ideas/goals they have, ask how you can be of help, check in on how they’re doing along the way, celebrate the milestones and accomplishments.
If you’re still not sure where to start, here’s an idea: ask them. Sometimes, communication can be so basic that we overlook it. Directly asking them how they feel loved and cared for can save you a lot of guessing and frustration. Keeping lines of communication open will greatly help with finding balance in your relationship.
In the weariness of everyday life, perhaps you or your spouse may be feeling burdened and worn out. You may find that you don’t have it in you to put these ideas into action. We all need respite every so often, and so in your tiredness, remember that you can go to God and ask for rest and restoration, and to be reminded of His great love.
Reminding your spouse that they are your priority through words and little acts of love can go a long way in refreshing your marriage. Many times, it will even inspire your spouse to reciprocate! And by God’s grace, the result will be a sweeter and stronger marriage.