My husband and I really try not to take our marriage for granted. We are crazy about each other, that is true, but it is also true that we are sinners and have our issues. We love each other, but we also argue sometimes. Big shocker, I know.
In recent months we had our lives shaken a bit when a couple very close to us announced that they were getting divorced. We were seriously thrown for a loop, as they totally appeared to be a rock solid couple who had young children and had been together a long time.
When something like that happens around you, it is easy to start looking around for ways to fortify and strengthen your own marriage. Ultimately, a strong marriage is one that is built on the foundation of the Lord. In this very complicated world we live in, it is important to keep putting in all the effort you can to make sure your spouse knows they are your #2 (after God, of course).
The way I see it, if we are going to spend our entire lives with one
person, why not make our marriages as amazing and fulfilling and happy
as we can?
So we decided that we would implement a habit that my old pastor told us about years ago. He said that every year since they got marriage, he and his wife read a Christian marriage book together. They buy 2 copies and each read it, then discuss parts in it and pray about it together. Of course, this is not the ONLY thing they do to keep their marriage strong, but it is one of their good practices.
So in searching for a book that wasn't the same old (because let's be honest, sometimes we need something to shock us out of our old ruts), we decided to read these books
Club31women, which has been such a source of encouragement for me. She and her husband wrote these books, and after seeing the great reviews on Amazon, we decided to give them a shot.
The book is literally a list of 100 ways to show love to your spouse. Each page has a different idea, from practical to theoretical. My husband and I decided we will each read 5 of the list in our books and think on them for a day before sitting and discussing them together and getting each other's views.
One of the ways that was listed in my book was the importance of greeting my husband with a smile when he gets home from work. I can sometimes be a little frazzled by the time he walks through the door every afternoon, but I do attempt to make our home his sanctuary. I want him to WANT to come home. One of the good points that the book makes is to "let your smile be one of the few and best in his life".
One of the 5 that hit me really hard was about letting little things go. In the past, I rarely let things go without bringing them up. I wasn't the type of pick a fight really, but I always saw it as preventative. If something bothered me, I'd bring it up while it was still a "small thing" so it wouldn't build up and become a big thing.
In theory that sounds great, until you realize you are bogging down your husband with "small things" all day long. My filter was just not great, and I was not letting enough of the little things go. I am learning now to take the time and think about whether something really matters before I bring it up. It sounds easy, but this is a whole new evaluation process for me.
As for my husband's book, I have been pleasantly surprised by the items recommended to him. I actually said "wow, that book seriously gets women". Because let's be honest, while we don't "need" special romantic gestures from our men and try our best not to expect them, they are so amazing to get. One of the ways listed in his book was to surprise your wife with a bubble bath all to herself. It suggested setting it all up, with candles, a book, etc (you know, straight out of the movies), and give your wife 1 hour of completely uninterrupted time all to herself.
I mean, seriously? I'm not even the bubble bath type (I'm too tall, I don't fit in most tubs), but I still think that sounds AH-mazing.
The book also suggested he take the time to ask me about my thoughts and dreams and truly listen to the answers. That truly listening shows he values and respects me. It is a good suggestion, as it is easy when 9pm rolls around after a day of dirty diapers and housework to just talk about bills or house plans or the baby.
So far most of the suggested items are things I know, but they are presented in a way that makes me take them seriously and not forget them.
So far so good; we are enjoying the very practical tips of this book much more than I thought we would.
Have you and your husband read any books together? Which were your favorites?