It’s been commonly said that marriage is hard, but I’m not sure any of us actually take heed to that statement until we find ourselves in the thick of it. Early on loving your spouse is easy. After all, his cute little habits haven’t started to really grate on you yet (trust me, you’ll get there).
But down the road a bit, when life has really set in and begun to take its toll, showing love to your husband can become more of a chore than a blessing. What do you do when the feelings begin to fade, and you’re not in the mood to set up a romantic date or to write a note filled with sweet nothings?
Many suggest rekindling romance by creating dramatic settings to spice up your intimacy, but there is a better way to show love.
15 Easy Ways to Show Love
God (who is the ultimate definition of love itself) is the very one who created the institution of marriage, so I think it makes more sense to take His approach to showing love. Let’s see what the Bible has to say about the ways to show love to those we’re committed to.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
I urge you to prayerfully consider how you can implement each one of these into your marriage.
Starting out with a big one, patience is probably one of the hardest ways for me to show love to my husband. But slowing down and recognizing that he may not do things the same way as me, or that he might grow at a different rate than me, gives him the freedom to be who God created him to be. Being patient with his mood swings, or with his lack of enthusiasm to go to the coed baby shower we’ve been invited to, gives him room to be human.
The Greek definition of the word used here can also be translated as long-suffering, or slow to anger. I know it’s easy to flare up quick, especially if it is regarding a topic that has been left unresolved for any length of time. Take a breath, walk away, and ask God for help. Keep your anger away from the conversation and it will make a tremendous difference in the outcome.
RECOMMENDED FOR A DEEPER DIVE: CAN YOU FIND JOY IN PATIENCE?
Nobody likes to be bullied or nitpicked. Sometimes (usually when I’m feeling impatient), I can bite back in an unkind way so that he can feel a little bit of the hurt that I am feeling. It would be better to carefully communicate my feelings, rather than to spread the pain. It’s just not nice to make somebody feel bad because you are feeling bad.
Do Not Envy
Do you know the difference between being envious and being jealous? Jealousy wants what somebody else has. Envy wants what somebody else has and doesn’t want them to have it. I’ve been watching the show Once Upon a Time with my kids, and we’re on the season that introduces the Wicked Witch of the West. The show depicts her skin as an emerald-green color because of the envy that is deeply seeded in her heart. They explain that she wasn’t raised with the love and support that she sees the others experiencing, and instead of just wishing happiness for herself, her goal is to ruin theirs in the process.
How disastrous would this kind of heart be in a marriage? We are called to want the best for our spouse, even if that means that they might have something better than you. Rejoice in it with them, rather than allow it to turn your heart in to dark envy and bitterness.
Do Not Boast
On the flip side of envy, do not boast, or brag, in the things you’ve been given. Don’t rub your husband’s nose in your blessings or flaunt them with the purpose of sprouting a jealous heart.
A few years ago, my husband and I made the decision for me to leave my career to homeschool our kiddos. What I didn’t realize at the time (and probably should have) is that he sacrificed an early retirement in order to make this happen. How unloving would it be if I constantly flaunted how good my life is now that I’m home? Now, obviously I can’t hide the fact that life is good homeschooling our kids, but I don’t need to be dramatic about it knowing how miserable he is in his career.
Now arrogance is something I have always struggled with. I mean, I’m seriously smart and amazing after all (insert winky and eyeroll emojis here). Although this is something I’ve really worked on, I still have a way of making my husband feel like less than valid in his approach to life. Stepping aside in humility goes a long way toward allowing him to take the lead in our family. He really does have so much to offer, and the more I can step out of the way, the more blessed I am to see it.
Don’t Be Rude
Consideration is something I value highly and is often how I receive love the best. But do I always show the same consideration to him that I expect? Probably not. It is easy to disregard another’s needs or feelings in light of your own. Slow down, and consider him first, whether in action or in word.
Don’t Insist on Having Your Own Way
Ah…..compromise. Or better yet……submission. Two words that are probably the hardest for us to swallow in our post feminism culture. When my husband and I met, I was in the middle of working my way up the corporate ladder in my banking career. The mindset that I brought into our marriage was one that fought to prove my value and worth. I approached every conversation and disagreement with the idea that he was my adversary, trying to control me as a dictator controls his subjects. The moment I relinquished my control, and how hard I was fighting to get my own way, life began to feel lighter. Our relationship began to run smoother from that point on.
Take a moment to ask yourself why it is important that you get your way. Show love to your husband by stepping back and giving him the reigns. Show him that you trust his approach to life.
Do Not Be Irritable
Why do you let the little things grate on you? You know, those things I mentioned above, that you used to find endearing and cute when you first got married. Why do they now annoy you? Let them go. Don’t hang on to insignificant annoyances. Give them up to the Lord and choose differently.
Let Go of Resentment
Resentment can grow into a really ugly thing if it is not turned over to the Lord early on. Do not harbor such awfulness in your heart. It will only create a wedge in your relationship that can only grow larger if not dealt with appropriately. Whatever it is, surrender it right now and work instead toward reconciliation.
RECOMMENDED FOR A DEEPER DIVE: WRESTLING WITH THE FRUIT OF UNFORGIVENESS
Don’t Delight in Their Mistakes
Everybody makes poor choices, nobody is exempt. But to rub your husband’s nose in his mistakes, is just not nice. As good as you think it might make you feel to kick him while he’s down, don’t. And don’t gossip about his mistake to your friends.
Instead, come alongside him and help him up. Help him to trust you, to see you as a safe place, someone to be human with. Pray for him and for his healing. Remind him that he has a partner and be transparent with him about your own mistakes.
Speak truth always. Encourage truth always. Create an environment in your home and in your marriage where truth is valued and respected. Being transparent with one another, while wholeheartedly seeking God’s truth together, will instill a trust and security that only God can bring.
But truth delivered without love can be a cold and heartless thing. Read the book of 1 John and learn to balance truth and love in a way that is healthy and honoring to both your husband and to God, your Father.
Bear All Things
My first instinct in life is to isolate and live independently from the emotional intensity of others. And my husband can be really emotionally intense at times. One of the greatest struggles that I have had in showing love to my husband has been in staying close when the fire gets hot. Walking through his hard times with him has been a challenge, and I have to say one that is not over. I believe that this will be something that I will have to fight to learn until the day one of us is gone. My desire to self-protect and to not be affected by his heavy emotion is not a way to bear all things.
My husband and I are two halves to one whole. When he is struggling, God gave me to him to walk with him through it. While it is not my job to carry him (that would be God’s), it is my job to remain by his side.
Believe in Your Husband
Be his greatest cheerleader. If he thinks he can do something great, believe that he can do it. Pray for him in it and encourage him. Be his sounding board. A man can go far if he knows he at least has his wife in his corner.
Hold onto Hope
If your husband is struggling in any area, don’t give up hope that God will work in and through him. We are all mere humans and are all on our own paths to sanctification. Pray for him regardless of where he is on that path and maintain hope in God’s ability to reach him where he’s at.
Sometimes too, our spouses need us to have hope when they cannot. My husband has gone through a number of medical difficulties this year and has lost hope so many times. It is in those times that my hope keeps me praying when he cannot. Just as Aaron and Hur lifted up Moses’ hands until Joshua defeated the Amalekites (Exodus 17:8-13), so must we hold each other up when we don’t have the strength alone.
RECOMMENDED FOR A DEEPER DIVE: WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT HOPE?
Endure All Things
This one can easily be misunderstood, so I want to be clear right from the beginning. Enduring it all does not mean to remain silent through abuse, or to stay through any sort of danger to yourself or to your children.
This does mean that you need to put in the work, and to make your marriage a priority. This means that the purpose of your marriage is not to make you happy, but to point you towards holiness. And it means that your marriage is used by God to sanctify you in all of the areas listed above.
Your marriage will be hard at times. You will be angry with your husband at times. You might even feel as though you hate him at times. But if you can remember to pray and seek God’s help to show love in these ways, you will both be blessed exceedingly, abundantly, beyond anything you could ever ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).