In At Least Thirteen Different Ways
“I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline — not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.” ~Ephesians 4:3
This verse offers such great marriage advice. Even if that’s not how it was originally intended. “Don’t stroll off on your own, down some path that goes nowhere.” This doesn’t mean that we need to do every single thing together once we are married. Time apart can be good, and healthy. Sometimes, in certain seasons, it can’t be avoided. Having separate interests is a good thing. But in general, the path and direction should be the same. If a path takes one person in a direction (nowhere) that is not helping the greater good of the relationship, it shouldn’t happen.
“Pour yourselves out for each other in acts of love.” Pour. It doesn’t say drip or sprinkle but pour yourself out for each other in acts of love. A cascading of love. In a steady stream. Flooding the other one with your love. Pouring acts of love can mean many different things. But it is an action. Actions. It is not just one loving act, but ongoing, never ending, drenching love for the other person.
You could pour love by:
- Complimenting your spouse. Say nice things and remind them who they are to you. And even more, who they are to God. How you see them. And how God sees them. This can be in spoken words, a text, an email, an old school love letter, even Sharpie on the bathroom mirror.
- Tell your spouse you love and respect him/her. Mean it. And live it. (See Ephesians 5:33)
- Dream together. Maybe it’s a tropical vacation you’re dreaming of, maybe a house, or a weekend without the kids. Talk about it, fantasize, dream really big and encourage each other to dream big too. Set some goals.
- Hold hands. When you walk together, drive together, sit together. That small gesture can go a long way to make you feel connected.
- Touch his or her arm or cheek when speaking to each other.
- Rub his/her back or feet (if you can – feet creep me out) at the end of the day.
- Make a special breakfast, lunch, dinner, serve it with candles or a note tucked in the lunch box. Something that says “you are special, and don’t ever forget it.”
- Do one of his/her “chores” – do the dishes, pick up the kids, run by the grocery store/hardware store.
- Go to coffee, or dinner. Out to breakfast, or ice cream, or whatever s/he likes. Talk and listen. Really listen. That means putting your phone/laptop/tablets down.
- Do what s/he wants to do (give up the remote, let them choose the movie, restaurant, etc)
- Buy or make something your spouse likes. Even if it’s little. Even a pack of gum stashed in the car console, or a single red rose in a place they’re sure to see it, is meaningful.
- Have a favorite coffee or dessert delivered to the office.
- Pray together. As often as you possibly can. It connects you to one another. It connects you to God.
Do anything. You know what will make your mate feel most loved. But do something. A bit of you poured out for your loved one.
And finally, be “quick at mending fences.” Alert to them. Noticing them quickly before they become big. Don’t let offenses sit and fester from a tiny scratch in the relationship to a giant wound. Recognize it early. And take care of it quickly. Forgive. And let the pouring of love continue. Amplified love. With the “volume” cranked up. Unmastered love. Sometimes rough and bumpy. And imperfect. But love. Just love.