“Recently, I was talking to my financial adviser on the phone…
when he asked me a question about our retirement planning that I couldn’t answer. I conferenced in my wife and in the next few minutes I realized something important about our marriage. When she answered the phone, I said, “Hey, Sweetheart,” in an upbeat loving voice.
“Hey,” she replied in an equally loving voice, and within minutes we had the issue resolved. We hung up satisfied with the solution and happy with each other.
Days later, I was still thinking about that call. It occurred to me that sometimes when we talk to each other, my wife and I sound like we’re employees of the company we call ‘Our Family’, a group that includes my wife and me and our three busy teenagers. We’re just taking care of business – rushed, matter of fact, kind of unaware of how we sound to each other. But having that conference call with our financial adviser made me more aware of how I think we should sound when we’re talking to each other.
It’s hard to keep that in mind all the time, isn’t it?
Most couples, unless they’ve got it more together than we do, have bills to pay, homes and gardens to maintain, kids to raise, food to shop for and prepare and eat (and clean up), and any number of other mundane things to do. But in the day-to-day of our lives, do we really want our words to sound too irritable or unkind, especially to the ones who love us most? Before long, it could become contagious and spread to other areas.
Personally, I would not like it if we looked at our phones more than we looked at each other. I would not prefer binge-watching Netflix in place of intimacy with my wife. I never want to look up one day and realize that the only thing we have in common is taking care of family business.
I’m not saying every conversation we have is going to feel like a first date.
And not every text is going to have a happy face emoji in it. It’s not always practical to be romantic in those moments when you’re talking about how you’re going to pay for college or figuring out who’s going to pick up the dry cleaning this week.
But that doesn’t mean that we avoid romance in daily life altogether! Life is better when we shake up the ordinary day with an unexpected infusion of lovey-dovey-ness. And it doesn’t have to be a big shake-up. Wives, grab your husband’s favorite chocolate bar when you’re at the drug store. Husbands, buy some flowers from the corner grocer and surprise your wife. And not just when you’re in the dog house!
Start holding your complaints and give more compliments to each other. Husbands, when was the last time you told your wife she was beautiful? Wives, when was the last time you thanked your husband for something he does really well? Hold hands. Go on a real date. Tell your friends the good things she/he does. Tell the kids to take a number and then sit down with each other regularly to share your days and have meaningful conversations.
Just do something.
Love is not just a feeling; it’s a verb.
As such, keeping love alive and well in our marriages is going to require not just one, but a series of good choices, and most likely a few changes, in our everyday interactions with each other. Because if we’re smart, we’ll remember how little things become big things over time – for better or worse. Let’s honor our spouses and decide to choose well.”