Now that Valentine’s Day is behind us, what are you doing to grow closer to your spouse through the rest of the year?
As my husband and I were writing our book, When Couples Walk Together, we realized that a closer connection in marriage doesn’t just happen. We must be deliberate and intentional with each other. And that includes having a Post-Valentine’s Day plan to continue to show the love.
Here are five things you can start doing today to cultivate a closer connection with your spouse:
- Start your day with a kiss. Simple, but effective. Studies show couples who kiss each other daily (even a quick peck on the cheek) are happier, overall, than couples who don’t.
- Say encouraging words. It doesn’t take a lot of effort, but it reaps marvelous results. Ephesians 4:29 says “Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them” (NLT). Think in terms of “I’m only going to say it if my spouse is encouraged by it.” You’ll notice, within days, how your relationship improves.
- Plan a regular date night. If your children are young and you can rarely afford a babysitter, find another couple in the same situation and exchange babysitting once a month so each couple can have a monthly date night. Dating was important before you were married and believe us, it’s even more important after you’re married.
- Read through a relationship-building book together. I know, it might sound like “work” to you or your spouse, but it can be fun, and a great investment of your time together. Maybe it will consist of you reading to your spouse before bed. Or taking turns reading a chapter to each other once a week. I tried for years to get my husband to read through a relationship book with me and finally he insisted on writing a couples book with me that he — and other men — would enjoy reading. Working through a devotional book together will help you see deeper into your spouse’s heart, as well as your own.
- Pray together regularly. We’ve heard this advice as often as you have, but it took us years to get to that place. We will admit that, even as a couple in ministry (my husband is a pastor), it’s difficult to find concentrated time to pray together. But when we started spending just a few minutes praying together before work in the morning, we found that a short prayer also included a hand held, two hears shared, and a connection with God together that made all the difference in our day. If it’s still a struggle in your marriage, pray about how the two of you can make time to pray together.
As you practice these five things, remember 1 Corinthians 13:8, which tells us that love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (NASB). When it comes to a closer connection in your marriage, take the first step, willingly and lovingly. It’s what Christ did for you.
Which of these five steps can you start taking today?