By Emma Danzey, Crosswalk.com
Being married is both a blessing to be received and a selfless ministry. After being married for a while, the intentionality can easily be a lost art of the dating phase.
Today I want to talk about five unexpected ways to love your spouse. There is value in taking time to think about how to see your spouse and bless him or her. When we step back and look at our marriages, we can observe ways we can improve at loving our spouses like Christ.
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1. Praying for Them Daily
I cannot tell you how many times when I am daily praying for my husband that he does better in life and in fighting temptation. Prayers are an unexpected way to love our spouses. It may not naturally be the first thing that we think of or go to, but it matters.
Ephesians 6:18 says, “Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.” The phrase, “All the saints” includes our spouses. I would even argue that God has brought your spouse into your life so that you can champion them in their faith.
One of the ways we do this is by regularly praying over them and for them. The enemy wants to diminish godly marriages, but when we are praying, we are expressing the power of Christ within us. Loving your spouse starts from loving God and allowing His love pour out through you.
2. Take On a Responsibility That They Normally Carry
In homes, husbands normally take on certain jobs and wives take the other ones. Part of this could just be that your jobs around the house are your strengths and vice versa. However, what if we took the weight off of our loved ones in the area of housework or finances.
Maybe mow the lawn if that normally falls on your spouse? Take a turn to cook dinner. Clean the bathroom. Balance the checkbook. Show your loved one that you value what they do and not only verbalize that appreciation, but step in and serve them by removing some of their responsibilities.
Hebrews 13:6 says, “Don’t forget to do good and to share what you have because God is pleased with these kinds of sacrifices.”
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3. Plan a Special Date
Maybe you have been out of the dating game for so long that you no longer take the time to plan an official outing together. Take the effort to make a plan or reservation, and invite your spouse on a date with you. This could be preplanned or a spontaneous surprise to them. You know your spouse and what they would appreciate the most.
Carve out the time to continue to pursue one another romantically and as friends. Marriage is about the whole person, don’t go straight to the bedroom all of the time, but also don’t avoid it. Don’t only talk about your feelings but never embrace one another physically. We need emotional, physical, and spiritual connections to keep us strong and healthy in our marriages. 1 Corinthians 16:14 says, "Do everything in love."
4. Do Something Extravagant Based on Your Spouse’s Love Language
Everyone has a different love language. Commit to doing something above and beyond for your spouse in the love language of their choice. If you spouse like gifts, go out of your way to purchase something of great significance to him or her. If quality time, carve out some extra special time together or even take the whole Saturday to spend the entire day together.
Words of affirmation would be met abundantly by writing out a beautiful hand-written card, or leaving notecards all around the house for your spouse to discover. Service can be met through doing jobs around the house or a specific task such as detailing your spouse’s car. Physical touch can be met in extravagance by having a lengthy cuddle session or giving your spouse a massage.
John 15:12 says, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
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5. Show Up with Their Favorite Drink or Treat at Work
Depending on their work setting, consider stopping by on a weekday and bringing a special treat that he or she loves. Brighten your spouse’s day with an unexpected visit and favorite drink or treat. Everyone has hard days and work can be long, but learning their schedule and showing up as a surprise can be a sweet way to encourage him or her in their day.
Who doesn’t love surprise hugs and kisses at work from a spouse? Even if it is a two-minute drop by and you text them on the way, it can help show love to him or her in an unanticipated way. Galatians 5:13b says, “Rather, serve one another humbly in love.”
We have the unique opportunity to love our spouses. We made covenants with God to be committed to them. This was not just on our wedding day, but for our lives. As time goes on, sometimes we need ideas on how to love our spouses in unique and fresh ways. There are many ideas out there for dates, devotionals, and questions for emotional connection. Never be afraid to explore new ways to support and encourage your loved one.
We can pray daily, take the burden off of some of their responsibilities, plan special dates, love them in extravagant ways, and show up with a treat at their place of work. Can you think of special ways in which your spouse would be extremely blessed by your sacrifice and service to them? Remember, we are not called to keep score in marriage, we are called to love one another. Romans 13:8 says, “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” May we serve each other by the power of the Holy Spirit in abundance of love.
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