In my last blog post I talked about how successful couples show appreciation for each other each day. John Gottman in a recent post stated that successful long-term relationships are created through small words, small gestures and small acts. All of which qualify as acts of affection. And I believe that that is very true. Little things can be really big things.
The two most important times of the day for a married couple are when they leave in the morning and come back together in the evening. But because of our current home confinement, if no one’s leaving then no one’s coming back together. So that would make the two most important times of the day when you first get up in the morning and then when you are getting ready for bed in the evening.
Mutual affection is a critical component in marital happiness. Affection is shown in the gentleness and tenderness of those small words gestures and acts there are parts the fabric of everyday life.
Affectionate words: Having pet names for each other is often a sign of a healthy marriage. Honey, darling and sweetheart all ways of expressing affection. Couples who are good it is showing affection also do a good job offering gentle praise and compliments about each other’s qualities and virtues. Virtues such as kindness, gentleness, tenderness, compassion, and caring for others are things that happy couples notice and express to each other often.
Small gestures: True affection is not satisfied with mere words. True love is driven to show affection through touch and facial expression. Holding hands, the soft caress on the cheek, or just brushing up against each other as you pass are ways to communicate affection. A smile, a wink, or saying I love you just through the look of your eyes are all powerful ways to show gentle affection.
Small acts: True love wants to be spent in service to the one who is loved. Small acts of kindness demonstrate affection in a big way. Making the bed, emptying the dishwasher, filling up your spouses coffee cup are powerful ways to demonstrate the depth of your love.
So, the question now is how you score yourself on the affection you show to your spouse. Perhaps the better question is how would your spouse grade you. Certainly, you would have to admit you could do a better job in the small words, gestures, and acts that go to show affection each day. So how do you go about this?
I believe the answer is to keep score. Not to keep score of your spouse demonstrations of affection to you, but to keep score of how many times you show affection to your spouse. I believe it all starts in the morning with that old Christian tradition of the morning offering. We fall to our knees at the start of the day, and we offer our day to our Lord. That is the time we ask His help so that we say and do things throughout the day that conveys our love to our spouse. As you start your day, identify things you can say, things you can do, and ways you can nonverbally show affection to your spouse. Be specific. And then, keep track.
Then, at the end of the day, when you practice that other ancient Christian tradition of the nightly examination of conscience, reflect on how well you did showing affection to your spouse. Be grateful for your successes and then resolve to do even better the next day. Making a daily investment in small words, gestures, and acts will pay huge dividends in the daily expression of affection that will make your marriage a terrific one.