Last night, we had the pleasure of speaking with one of our former client couples who just got married last summer. During our conversation, we briefly discussed a trip the couple had taken together. He is like Eric. He appreciates structure and feels unsettled without it. She is more like me. She does not need to have every detail in place to feel at ease. During their trip, she stopped what she was doing and took care of some travel arrangements simply because she knew the lack of structure was causing her husband stress. She would have been just as happy going with the flow and figuring out details along the way, but he needed a more ordered trip.
It sounds like they are on the right track!
Over the years, Eric and I have made multiple adjustments for each other whether the need made any sense to us or not. I do not need to remove every K-cup from the Keurig as soon as it is finished brewing and he does not have an irrational need for symmetry; but, I pull those cups out as soon as I can because it is important to him and when he kisses me on one check, he knows to kiss me on the other so I feel balanced. ~smile~
Sacrificial giving is foundational to thriving relationships. Any couple who has been happily married for fifty years has made thousands of small concessions for each other along the way. One of the biggest surprises marriage brings to us is the realization of our own selfishness. Before marriage, I thought I was a fairly giving person. After marriage, I realized how determined I can be to get my own way. We have to be willing to step out of our comfort zones and set ways if we want to grow into functional married units.
Eric likes his shirts folded a certain way… and, after ten years, I am still trying to get it right! I think my way is faster and better, but I do it his way because he appreciates it done that way. I could fuss and say, “If I am folding your shirts, then I am doing it my way!” But, is it really that big of a deal for me to give an ounce of extra effort to make him happy?
Show Love in the Little Ways…
They say to cherish the little things because one day you will look back and realize they were the big things.
This is so true. The summer evening bike rides, the road trip conversations, the simple dinners – they are not wow moments, but they constitute 99.9% of our lives. In our lifetimes, we will only have a handful of amazing moments (e.g., graduations, our proposal, our wedding, the birth of children, getting our dream jobs, etc.), but we will have thousands of little moments.
This is also true in how we treat our significant others. If we show our love in exuberant ways once or twice a year, but fail to love each other in the simple ways, our connection will not survive. I could spend hours planning an unforgettable, I love you so much birthday party for Eric, but if I do not show him love and respect in the little ways – making the bed the way he likes it, packing his lunches, taking care of small errands to free up his schedule – those major love moments can only take us so far.
Eric has surprised me with many special occasions over the years such as a surprise 30th birthday party, an elephant ride, and an amazing marriage proposal; but, if he did not love me in the little ways, I would feel unloved most of the time.
Big acts of affection are like Thanksgiving feasts. They are wonderful and important to have, but if you only eat once a year, you will end up starving.
One of the joys of serving the Lord is in knowing that when I show love and respect to Eric, I bring glory to God. There is a greater purpose in those moments than simply making my husband happy. When I seek to do him good, I am being obedient to God and that in itself is precious. Eric’s happiness is temporal, but Heavenly rewards are eternal.
The temptation to say, “I am doing it may way; deal with it” has been great at times – especially when I am convinced of my rightness (which is often ~smile~); but, my soul is blessed when I humble myself, submit to his desires out of love and honor God by loving Eric as I love myself (ref: Mark 12:30-31).
I have no problem making Heather happy. I make sure she is dressed warmly on winter days. I make her coffee in the morning. I occasionally buy Heather her favorite treat. When she is sick, I take her to the doctor and pick up her medication. It is natural for me to love myself. I am called by God to pour that same love and care onto Eric. And there is joy in that obedience.
As you grow in your relationship with your special lady or gentleman – and eventually become someone’s husband or wife – remember to cherish those “insignificant” moments as they will make up the fabric of your lives. The little sacrifices you make for your sweetheart add up over time. Those acts of love create the texture of your relationship – soft and comforting or harsh and irritating.
It is those little ways we show love, which really matter and are the big ways we show our love – over time and through faithfulness. I hope one day when we are old, Eric can look back over our marriage and say with complete confidence, “Heather most definitely loved me.”
Are you showing your sweetheart love in the little ways? [Comment below!]