This past year (especially few months) has probably been some of the most difficult we've have to endure as a married couple. Hubby going through school, me transitioning jobs, the kids having their different struggles, time zooming by are all things that have greatly affected us. They have all kept us from really focusing on our marriage. Let's face it, we all neglect our spouses from time to time. It's just part of life. I have found myself thinking that he'll still be there when the kids are gone. While he may, I can't count on it if I continue to neglect him and his wants/needs, and vice versa. But, what about those days when I don't FEEL like I love him, or want to???? Well, one thing I've always said, is that love isn't a feeling. God defines it for us in His Word...
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
All of the verbs in the passage are describing actions. Love is something we do, not feel. Well, that's great and dandy, and I think it is VERY important to keep in mind when we don't feel like we love our spouse... but, not having that good feeling is very detrimental to one's own personal "psyche". So, what is one to do? How do you find that lovin' feelin' when you've lost it? I'm certainly no expert! But, I've gotten a little help... several, several months ago, I picked up a book called The Husband Project. I think I read about it first over at Time-Warp Wife. What I loved about this book, is that it was full of ideas and specific actions to carry out, to show your love to your husbands. . . the thing about it is, that even in grown-ups, actions sometimes precede beliefs. Sometimes, you just have to do it, in order to feel it!!!
This project was perfect for me. I didn't follow the plan perfectly as described in the book, but I never follow any recipe perfectly either, that's just me. I have to make it my own, so I did, and I enlisted a friend to hold me accountable, just like the books suggests. I worked hard (slowly) through the plans I had made to make my husband feel loved. I have heard my husband say several times over the last few months that I've been very thoughtful, and that he feels loved. And amazingly enough, it has helped me to like him more too! There is something about serving someone that just really makes you like them more.
I heard a story on the radio once about a woman who visited her pastor, and said that she wanted to get divorced. She just couldn't stand her husband anymore. The pastor said that he understood, and that he would help her. He wanted to know if she wanted revenge as well. Of course she did. So, they concocted a plan where she would pour on the love real thick, to make her husband love her more, so that when she surprised him with divorce papers it would hurt so much more. The pastor said he would contact her in one month. Well, a month later he called the woman and asked if she was ready to go through with her plans. She replied that she had in fact fallen in love with her husband all over again!!! Somehow I think that pastor knew what he was doing...
I also picked up a neat little Pinterest project. For Christmas, I made Hubby a book with 12 pages. Each page represents a month. On each page, there is an envelop with a tag that you can pull out. Each tag identifies a date that I have pre-planned- we just have to put the dates on the calendar. Each envelop also has the money/gift card needed for that date. This should eliminate any fighting over who should do the planning, any guilt about spending the money out of our budget, any nights driving around in the car saying, "What do you want to do?" and hearing "I don't know, what do you want to do?"
This month, our date was to Hilton Head Island- an anniversary weekend away. It was a nice, very relaxing weekend, complete with bike rides, walks on the beach, and a nice nap! AND, it only took 1 tank of gas! The Island was pretty slow due to it being off-season, but we didn't mind a bit! We had a nice time just relaxing.
While I know my marriage is a far cry from perfect, I also know I've been blessed with one of the good ones. I never want to be guilty of not investing in it, working at it, or doing the things that define love. I never want to be guilty of making Hubby feel like he is not loved. I want to leave a legacy for my kids that doesn't involve 5 different Christmases, birthdays and other occasions. I want to love my husband, both in action and in feelings. I know sometimes that will require work on my part, and I'm willing. Though I need to vent to friends occasionally, things are perfect, and sometimes the grass looks greener on the other side, I hope I can always get back to this point...the point where I'm working on it, and doing my part.
Hubby, thank you for 13 years together. I'm hoping the next 13 years will be blissful, but either way, I'm willing to stick it out! You're a good partner, and I appreciate you and even love you!!! ;)