“Treasure each other!” It’s the wise advice my husband gives at weddings. Yet what does treasuring your partner look like on a Monday morning when the week starts in a hurry?
“I love honeymooning!” My friend posted after being married 3 days! We smile. Honeymoons fade, schedules evolve, bills come, life happens. After the honeymoon, the simple act of two people heading off in different directions each day can move us subtly apart. We do need to keep growing as individuals. Yet we also need to be intentional about holding each other as a treasure, highly valued.
Keeping that sense of treasuring one another is much like stoking a fire in the hearth. You need to stack the wood close enough to share the flame. If it’s too far apart the fire will blaze briefly but soon go out. Yet you also want the wood just far enough apart to allow air to flow through or the fire will soon suffocate.
Love needs enough air to let each partner breathe as individuals, yet enough closeness that the fire is nurtured by your partnership. Life experiences change all of us. Take time to navigate changes together, sharing how they are impacting you as a team.
Neglect is a subtle thing and can sneak up on a couple whose best intentions are to nurture and treasure one another. Day to day realities can quietly erode that intent as the urgent over runs the important.
Intentionally create a warmth that draws one another in and, like the fire in the hearth, is inviting and comforting and welcoming. Make your togetherness a fresh priority as you focus on how to L-E-A-N in to treasure your marriage.
L – LIFT each other up. Your words are so important! When we’re tired and stressed our venting often falls on those we love most.
It’s easy to slip into a habit of venting, sarcasm, tones that can erode affection. Where might you be sending vibes of disapproval? Disapproval is deadly. As you LEAN in to treasure your partner be wise and intentional about using words that LIFT them. If issues need to be addressed do so carefully and not at bed time. Address things in a way that builds life into your relationship. Praying for and with each other is one of the best lift tools you will ever find. Choose LIFT words.
E – ENJOY each other. If you realize that you are just getting done what needs to get done, stop and evaluate your energy management. Energy management is even more important than time management. Conserve some energy to enjoy one another. Build moments in for “we”, not just “me”. Quietness at the end of the day. A walk around the block, holding hands and sharing one thankful thing from your day. Small things can actually change the trajectory of a relationship. Find what’s fun for the two of you and re-capture it with the tenacity of going after hidden treasure.
A – APPRECIATE each other. Sometimes strangers and co-workers get nicer treatment than those at home. If you need some down time, then specify it and come back recharged. Manners at home are important. Take time to appreciate what your partner does for you and say “thank you”. Lack of appreciation feeds slow erosion. Look for ways your partner enriches you and for ways to willingly help too. Show appreciation.
N – NOTICE each other. Paying attention is a small thing that has big consequences. The hair cut or new clothes. An attitude. “You seem /happy/sad/upset/worried/pleased/today”. Greeting one another. Some couples simply stop noticing each other. The fray of life can fray a relationship in small ways. Even a hug can bring that breath of refreshing out like a polishing cloth on tarnishing silver. Take time to notice your partner.
For your marriage hearth to keep burning brightly, give enough breathing room for your partner to grow, but keep yourselves close enough together to find the warmth that makes your relationship a treasure for years to come. LEAN IN and to truly treasure one another!
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