This week we’ve been talking about marriage. It started with a glimpse at my date plans for my 21st anniversary, then I shared the results of those plans (and how part of the night almost backfired), then I shared the secret to surviving 21 years of marriage… something I called “flove.”
Now that we know flove isn’t something we can accomplish by trying really hard, we don’t want to misinterpret that as an excuse to just sit on our butts! Flove doesn’t mean “don’t try.” Flove is the motivation behind “try.”
Without flove, love can become a mere list of tasks we should do but don’t want to. Flove produces a bunch of tasks, not because we should do them, but because we want to do them!
Sometimes people feel the flove but don’t know how to express it. We understand the principle of surrendering to God and letting his love flow through us, but we struggle with real life day to day application.
I hear you! I’m right there with you. So here’s 3 simple expressions of flove that I’ve learned along the way, practices that can literally change your marriage! (I’ll post 1 and 2 today, and the third tomorrow)
1. Hallmark Cards and Panties
Remember when you first dated your spouse and you would surprise him/her with a note, a gift or a creative date?
Then you got married.
Why is it that so often the fun romantic stuff ends at marriage? Years ago pop music star Kid Rock told Rolling Stone, “Getting married is f**king fun. Being married sucks.” (Rolling Stone, August 9, 2007, p. 24) TV shows and movies regularly joke about this marriage stigma. “Once you get married, it all goes downhill.”
Don’t let this happen in your marriage. If you are surrendering to God and allowing his Spirit to flow His love through you (flove), then you’ll want to express that through spontaneous acts of love.
Most men would astonish their wives by buying her a card (and actually writing something in it!) for no reason other than to say “I love you.” Similarly, wives can give their husbands a pleasant surprise by putting on a really sexy pair of underwear in the morning when she’s getting dressed, waiting until they’re in public, then whispering in his ear that she’s wearing them! (Or better yet… just skip the underwear totally… and tell him that!)
Discover your spouse’s biggest needs (I’ve probably nailed some of the big ones in my examples above) and spontaneously meet that need.
One of the best way to discover your spouse’s need is to…
Spy on your spouse! I know, it sounds kinda creepy. But I’m not talking about you standing outside the bedroom window in an overcoat. What I’m saying is, notice your spouse when you typically don’t notice them.
Whenever I got to the mall with my wife Lori and she covets a pair of earrings, I take notice. Sometimes I even throw them on a different hook when she’s not looking so I can come back later and buy them.
I also try to practice the art of “noticing” when Lori is telling me about her day. It’s amazing what you can pick up from daily conversation. “Oh man! I’m loathing that huge load of laundry I have to do this weekend!”
Yes… if you notice these things, they often will require some action on your part. But these actions will yield amazing rewards. When you buy your spouse that gift they wanted, or when you do a task that they mentioned that they hated… you’ve done more than just doing something for them… you “listened!” (Men, if you can do this, this is huge! It might even lead them to doing Step 1 above!)
Often, we’re too tired to notice. “Me” gets in the way of noticing our spouse.
Don’t fall into this trap. As you surrender to God and feel his love flowing through you, notice your spouse for who they are. That might even require you to…
(Tune in to my post tomorrow when I’ll share with you the 3rd Expression of flove)
What about you?
How do you let God’s love flow through you to your spouse?
How can you implement the principles above in your marriage?