I love this word so.
I pointed out my affection for it in Monday’s post, and I will bring attention to it once again today.
It is a word that points out the most intentional and intimate kinds of love. It says, “I cherish you, my love. I want what’s best for you. I am willing to sacrifice for that to be made possible.”
Over the last weeks, I have been writing to some of my most beloved audiences: the single, the dating, the masses of different kinds of children of God. Today, however, I want to get back to one of my most beloved audiences: the married. I have come to realize the intentionality that must go into my marriage even only six months into it.
I have come to realize the intentionality that must go into my marriage even only six months into it. Today I want to challenge all the married people reading this, all those preparing for marriage, and all thinking about marriage, consider the effort that God is calling you to place into this holy, covenant relationship. Let us start being intentional with our most beloved, actually willing to sacrifice in ways we never imagined, leaning on and trusting in the power of Jesus to sustain us all the way.
So here are twenty of the ways I have found to intentionally love my man. They are not perfect, but they are a start. Next week I am going to have him share his ways to intentionally love on me. I would love to hear all kinds of other pieces of advice and turn this into a conversation, so please feel free to comment. Here we go!
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1. Write him love notes for when he gets back from work.
Stick it on the orange juice, write them all over your fridge, place them in the most random of places. Just that he has a visual representation of you at the most unexpected of times.
2. Shoot him a text during his work day reminding him of how much you love him.
Our days get busy–especially when we are apart. Get out of your rhythm that we might be together even when we are apart.
3. Brag about him.
With him. Away from him. Wherever you are and whoever you are with. Nothing makes anyone feel more loved than someone who brags on them.
4. Surprise him by inviting his people over one evening.
Because I am the planner of our household, I am so guilty of only inviting people I am inclined to spend time with. While my husband and I do share friends, no visit has made him happier than the two of us sitting together with his brother for days on end binge watching a Netflix series, studying scripture, and just talking with one another. While I haven’t done this tip exactly, I challenge you to invite his family or friends or whoever makes his heart smile most over for dinner one night. Join in the fellowship.
5. (If he gets up earlier) Wake up with him and pray together before you start your days.
This is my FAVORITE thing to do ever. If he gets up earlier than you, it will show him you are willing to forgo comfort for his company. When you get on your knees with him, it will remind him of the spiritual bond you share. When you pray for him by name, he will feel the bond between you, him, and your Father in heaven. What better way to say I love you?
6. Make a list of things you are thankful for and stick it in one of his pockets. He will find it randomly 😉
This one might not surface for a while, but it sure will be fun when he finds it.
7. Remind him of how much you respect him.
Respect. This can be such a taboo word in today’s society. It is only when we learn how to do this well that we can dig into the most satisfying kind of relationship. Tell him you respect his heart. Tell him you respect his willingness to support your family. Tell him you respect his relationship with the Lord. Tell him that his qualities are qualities you strive for. Nothing more will demonstrate sweet, sweet love.
8. Participate in his hobby.
You may make a fool of yourself in the process, but hey, at least we can have fun doing it.
9. Spend a break lounging rather than running.
My inclination is to run around and complete every errand I can over the weekend. Yet sitting with Austin and showing him that I value his presence over a perfect speaks volumes.
10. Make him breakfast on a Monday.
Mondays are hard. Breakfast is good. Get my drift?
11. Ask his mom for the recipe to his favorite childhood dessert.
Then surprise him with it one evening! Maybe don’t tell him you got the recipe from his mom, though.
Just in case you messed it up.
12. You plan the date night.
He’ll enjoy the break.
13. Declutter while he is out.
Everyone feels better with a clean home!
14. Remind him how glad you are that you married him–daily.
Weeks of stress can be hard on a marriage. I often find myself looking at my husband and wondering what he is thinking. Does he ever doubt our relationship? I know this isn’t true, but how much more should I be willing to tell him of my confidence in our marriage?
15. Swallow your “rightness” and show grace when he messes up.
Oh, how I struggle with this one. Last week was the first time I actually did this. He was definitely wrong–so SO wrong. But I felt the Lord tug on my heart, reminding me that our relationship is infinitely more important than proving myself right. I stopped. Took a breath. And told him I loved him, and what could I do to make it better?
We looked at each other. We loved each other more the next minute than we had the last. He admitted he was wrong, and I found where I was wrong. It was the best conflict management I had ever experienced, and it had the least method to it.
16. Put your phone down when he is trying to have a conversation with you.
Even if it’s something you don’t really care about. Like, I don’t know? Next year’s lineup of his NFL team…
17. Hold him when he is stressed.
Or happy, or tired, or upset. Initiate the love!
18. Call him when you know he won’t be busy and tell him you love him.
Just for the heck of it.
19. Offer to help with “his” household jobs (or just do it without being asked).
I don’t think anything makes Austin more temporarily happy than when I do the dishes and do them well. It’s the little things sometimes.
Closely. To everything. His verbal concerns, his nonverbal quirks. His everything. There is not much more I want than to be heard. Yet if I am not willing to grant him the same kindness–in every situation I expect him to hear me–I cannot hold anything against him.
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Thanks for reading, friends! Austin will be helping me with 20 ways to intentionally love your wife next week, so watch out! My words are limited to 22-year-old, newly married wisdom, which is so so far from what many of you have. Please feel free to comment if you have foresight to share.