Think of fondness has a tender affection, a warm feeling of attachment. It is a devotedness to your spouse that is comfortably powerful. It is that feeling you had the first time you realized you were in love. It is the feeling you get even now when your spouse does something awesome and you just look at him or her with eyes that say I cannot believe how wonderful you are. It is the way you felt when your love was young and fresh and pure.
John Gottman discovered that maintaining fondness is one of the most crucial elements in a rewarding and long-lasting marriage.
Successful couples continue to grow in their fondness for each other throughout their lives. But this is not an easy thing to do. The struggles of life, especially now when you are in this period of forced confinement, combine to make it easy to focus on your partners flaws more than his or her virtues. It takes work and effort to ignore the defects and focus on those attributes in your spouse of which you are so fond.
If you have never read the song of songs in the Old Testament, this would be a good time to do so. It is an incredible collection of love lyrics. It presents a passionate picture of human love.
Look at the beauty of the following from the 4th chapter: You have ravished my heart, my sister, my bride; you have ravished my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one bead of your necklace. How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride, how much better is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your perfumes than any spice! Your lips drip honey, my bride, honey and milk are under your tongue; and the fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon.
Wow, talk about fondness. Wouldn’t it be great to feel like that every day?
John Gottman discovered that fondness often resides in your memory. Couples that are able to recall happy memories build up the reserve of fondness that can be tapped into during the difficult times. So, I would like to propose the following assignment. You can do this by yourself, but it would be much more powerful if you do it as a couple. Take out a piece of paper and a pencil and answered the following:
- What is the first memory you have of your spouse when you met?
- What do you remember about your first few dates?
- What do you remember about the moment when you first realized you were in love?
- What do you remember the first time you heard your spouse say that he or she loved you?
- What do you remember about the day you got engaged?
- What do you remember about your engagement period?
- What do you remember about your wedding?
- What do you remember about the wedding reception?
- What do you remember about the honeymoon?
- What remember about your first year together?
Feel free to add whatever other questions you would like. The idea is to resurrect as many happy memories about your spouse as you can. Reconnect with those feelings of fondness that were so positive, so all consuming, in the first period of your love. Reviewing these memories with your spouse during your 15 minutes together each evening (during your 1% commitment) is a phenomenal way to grow closer together and to rekindle the love that you had in the early days of your relationship. This exercise will produce rich dividends.
Remember: We are enriched through our spouse’s friendship.