At the beginning of your marriage, you most likely felt deeply in love with your spouse and could show love to them all the time. But that honeymoon period doesn’t last forever, and you may now find yourself wondering if the love that you once shared is still there.
It can make your marriage difficult when one or both of you begin to doubt the love that you felt so strongly back at the start of your relationship. Remember though, that you made vows, and those vows very possibly included the words, “I promise to love…”
Maybe that needs to be changed to I promise to show love. We tend to think of love as an emotion, but it’s at its best when we consider it a verb and take action on it.
Knit together in love
Paul talked about love in Colossians 2:2 and had this wish for the believers in Colossus. When you read this, understand that when Paul spoke of the heart, he was not referring to emotions. Instead, he used the Greek word for the heart to describe the mind and its ability to think, reason, and make decisions.
“that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ,” Colossians 2:2 ESV
By referring to the heart and love in the same verse, it seems that it takes a decision coupled with action (heart) to knit yourself together with someone else in love.
God wants us to be “knit together in love.” Paul referred to all believers in this verse, but it’s just as true for a marriage relationship. When you knit something, one of the worst things you can do is drop a stitch. When you do that, the entire project can begin to unravel. As we build our marriages, we have to be aware of times we may drop a stitch and let our marriage open to unraveling.
How to Show Love
The best way to stay knit together in love is to take actions to make sure your spouse knows every day that you love them, and they are important to you. Here are some actions you can take to ensure they don’t forget.
Remind your spouse that you love them with a little flirtiness. When you first fell in love, flirting was almost second nature. Now, after you’ve been married for a while, flirting with your spouse reminds them that you still find them attractive.
Keep it fresh
Show you love your spouse by putting effort into creating some excitement in your relationship. We may like predictability in our lives, but when things become “same-old, same-old,” it can begin to chip away at marital satisfaction. Keep things interesting by making new choices for restaurants, trying new things on date night, or even being a little adventurous in the bedroom. Hint: The more you aim for “exciting” over “pleasant” activities, the higher that satisfaction will be.
The better you listen to your spouse, the more you show them you love them. When they have something to say, listen closely without thinking about what you are going to say next, or how what they are saying affects you. When you begin actively listening to them, the number of arguments you have will start to go down.
Remember your vows
Sometimes you have to remind yourself of the importance of the vows you took. Repeat your marriage vows or say, “I promised before God that I would be with you for better or worse, and I plan to keep that vow.” Telling them that you still hold yourself to that promise tells your spouse you expect your marriage to be permanent.
Just say I love you. When you do, you add another layer of security and allow your partner to blossom– both in and out of your relationship.
What does your spouse do really well? Show your love by telling them how those positive qualities affect your marriage and how much you appreciate what they bring to the relationship. You can tell them directly or write it down in a note or by text. Buy one of those “just because” cards or make a homemade one. You validate them and make them feel loved when you tell them you notice the remarkable things about them.
Tell the world
Don’t just keep your praise for them private. You can ensure that they know you love them when you make it public. Put it on Facebook or say something to mutual friends. It boosts their self-esteem when they hear that their spouse has been bragging on them in public. Make sure that you do this in a way that respects their comfort zone with public attention.
Spend time together
Date nights are one great way to do this, but don’t forget about making a daily connection. Even taking ten minutes each day to focus your attention on your spouse demonstrates that you love and value them. These daily interactions give you a chance to express your emotions and recognize subtle changes in your partner over time.
Keep in touch
Many research studies show that physical touch in marriage is linked to higher relationship and partner satisfaction. Make a point of demonstrating your love with some physical contact every day. This is not just about having sex. Hug and kiss your spouse. Hold their hand. Each small touch creates a stronger bond. (I talk about all the benefits of holding hands in this blog post.)
The Bible tells us to serve others, and who should be at the top of your list, but your spouse? When you put their needs ahead of your own, you reinforce your words with action, reminding them you love them. Serving them reduces selfishness on your part and helps you achieve peace and harmony in your marriage.
Have date nights
Create regular, special times on the calendar for more than a five-minute catch-up. Being willing to give up your time shows your spouse how much you love them. Date nights give you a chance to dream about your future together or have in-depth conversations creating a stronger bond.
The marriage bond is strengthened more by having sex. It brings more fun to your relationship, and it makes it richer, deeper, and more connected.
Have a relationship check-in
If you want to keep your love for your spouse in the forefront of their mind, have a marriage checkup now and then. Ask each other how you believe the marriage is going, and what you may be able to do in the future to improve.
These check-ins keep issues out in the open and stop them from getting out of hand and overwhelming your marriage. Some people do this every week, and others may only officially do it once a year. Whenever you do it, you reinforce your love by showing that you want to make the marriage last.
It doesn’t take a lot of time or money to remind your spouse just how much you love and appreciate them. The results of doing so, however, can lead to a happier permanent marriage, so the return on your investment is fantastic!