Most people enter coupledom hoping it will be a beautiful jewel box full of all the dreamy things they’ve been longing for: perpetual attraction and intimacy, the ultimate companionship, solid trust, unyielding stability, and yet never ennui…
The truth is that marriage, at the start, is like an empty box. Something must be put in before anything can be taken out. Marriage doesn’t secure love. Love is in us, and we must put love in marriage, day after diligent day. What I mean is, we can get carried away focusing on what’s lacking in the way our partner shows us love, and so initiate a game of “I’m not giving, since I’m not getting.” But you know as well as I do, that doesn’t work in anyone’s favor. The key is to always be in a mindset of giving FIRST. The key is to give or show what it is we want in return. If not, it is just an endless game of tit for tat—with tension, resentment, and (hopefully never in your case) contempt.
Romance does not magically spring from the box of marriage. It is up to each in the couple to infuse it into their marriage, regularly. Marriage is a masterful art that a couple must learn, practice and hone day in and day out. A habit of giving, serving, and praising is the only way to keep the box full. If more is taken out than is put in, the box will eventually remain barren. But if and when it is full, only then can a couple reap and receive from its bountiful wealth.
[Understably, we all have different love languages. That is why it is de rigueur that we become aware of our own and consider those of our partner.]
-A surprise doodle or note from the ❤️ on his breakfast paper napkin
-A love sticky-note on her dresser mirror
-An unexpected embrace (not a rushed one) as you pass each other in the hallway
-A love note in his golf bag or work trip carry-one (something as quick and simple as a squiggly heart or pornographic comment 😜 on a scrap of paper)
-Appointed movie date in bed (after kids are deadbolted in their rooms. Take me only 90% seriously please)
-A flower (even if hand-picked from your backyard orchard)
-The sickest new tech gadget or a proper stripey Sleepy Jones p.j. (via surprise mail)
-Doing the dishes when it’s normally the other’s purview
-Keeping the arms of mass destruction in storage (i.e. remaining QUIET when provoked by the skunk in the room)
-FORGIVE, IMMEDIATELY (practice makes perfect)
-Allowing the other to be human (i.e. flawed, i.e. not perfect, i.e. not as you would like them to be)
-Being humble and taking accountability when one errs
-Giving your opinion strategically (choose the right moment to give your opinion. This means when the other is not nervous or stressed. This means giving your opinion gently—beginning and ending with a compliment and leaving out insults, accusations, belittling, and comparing)
-Avoid complaining, even if this time you should be allowed to (no one likes a complainer—that is what therapists are for)
-Have that light conversation about each other’s individual love language
-Realization and clear establishment of each one’s roles and where they overlap, so as to avoid misunderstandings and unnecessary battles
You get the idea.
The key is commitment.
The key is consistency.
💎Invite the work because the dividends are even greater💎