I spent a lot of time traveling for my job in the early years of our marriage. My wife Lynne constantly placed notes of affection or pictures in my luggage simply to remind me of how much she loved me. It was difficult being apart for many days at a time for almost 7 years. Over the years, we’ve been asked a number of times what we did to keep our marriage alive despite so many days apart. My answer is always the same, “It was the small things of affection.”
My good friend Dr. John Trent posits in his book, The 2º Difference, that it's the small things done consistently over time that make big differences and successfully turns things around. Like every other married couple, Lynne and I have struggled in some capacity in our marriage. Yet, today our marriage is stronger than ever in large part because we have been faithful to consistently give affection to each other in many small ways.
Here are a few ideas and suggestions that seem to work well for us:
Learn each other’s love languages and bless them accordingly – for years, Lynne would make certain my clothes were stacked neatly in my drawers. I tried hard to make sure I grabbed her hand or put my arm around her and consistently extended words of affirmation. Only problem was I could care a less about the neatness of my drawers and while she appreciates the attention, my consistent physical touch is not really a bright spot on her radar. When we started discovering and extending small blessings through each other’s love language, we began to grow in oneness.
Surprise each other with an occasional card or note – These cards or notes don’t always have to be purchased either. Some of the most memorable cards I have received from Lynne are those she made herself. Put them in places where you know they will be found!
Plan a surprise date night – Lynne loves it when I just tell her how to dress and give her the time we’re leaving. Some of the most fun we have is going to those out of the way restaurants, even when they are miles out of town.
Pray with each other – Our marriage thrives the most when we are consistently praying with each other. These don’t have to be lengthy prayers. Many times, we simply pray for each other’s day, and provisions for our family and friends.
Men: Get in the habit of doing things like opening the car door or seating your wife before you take a seat in a restaurant. Almost every women loves to be cherished and treasured. Start consistently doing these type of things guys and see what happens!
Women: Small things like telling your husband “thank you” or how proud of him you are might mean more than you can imagine. Most men admit that a single “I am proud of you” from their wife fills their love bank with multiple deposits.
Paul’s words to us in Romans 12:10 - “Be kindly affectionate to one another," when applied, help us build a stronger marriage.