It happened again. I read an article that just rubbed me the wrong way about needing to be nice, sweet, flirty, thoughtful…whatever… about my spouse. And of course it bothered me that I was feeling that way, because I’m a marriage blogger. I think people should be kind, sweet, flirty and all that good stuff. So, why in the world was I offended by being told to do those things?
I really got to thinking about what my problem was with what I read. Honestly, I think it’s because we aren’t addressing the actual problem.
It’s Not a Problem When You Are Dating
I’ve know a couple that is dating after divorce. No one is having to tell them to be sweet to each other or do silly thoughtful stuff. It’s just coming naturally. And I know darn well that those actions weren’t happening in their previous relationships after a few years.
It’s really easy to stop doing nice things for your spouse after you’ve been married for a while. There’s all kinds of speculation as to why that is, but my thought is this- you haven’t given yourselves the space to be each other’s lovers.
In a dating relationship, you get together with the intention of going out and doing something fun. Flirting, kissing, being nice…all that sickeningly sweet stuff comes naturally. But when you have been married for quite some time and your entire life has been reduced to chores, work, and bills, there’s no space for that creativity.
You’re Not Dating Enough
Honestly, I think that what couples need to hear, instead of just be nice and kind- is to make dating a priority. I’m not saying you have to make a big to-do of getting a sitter and spending a ton of money going out. At home date nights are a perfect idea. We are huge proponents of those anyways, because it makes sex so easy.
If you give yourself the space to be your spouse’s lover, I believe those things will come more naturally. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be told something else I need to be doing when I’m stressed to the max.
Other Marriage Advice That Leads to Being Nice
Jerry Stumpf, author of Cracking the Marriage Code and marriage mentor, shared these tips with me-
My wife and I have done 2 basic concepts through out our 43 years of marriage:
1 – We both serve each other with “agape” – servant love doing what is in the other persona’s best interest. When we make love, have dates, or discipline our children (many years ago) we considered each other first.
2 – We are committed to our marriage. That means when I don’t understand or like and action she does (and she feels the same about me and my actions), I seek to understand rather than to be understood. I try to ask “Why did she do that?” or “Did I do something that caused her pain?”
Ours is not a perfect marriage but it is one where we ALWAYS enjoy each others company and look forward to being together. We are not bored with each other and have a blast with each other!
Nice and sweet are by-products of placing my spouse’s needs before mine.
I encourage you to look at your life and figure out where you and your spouse can set aside all responsibilities. Don’t look at your phones, talk about work, or how to handle problems with the kids. Instead, just hang out and find ways to have fun.
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