Chocolates melt, flowers die and jewelry can be broken or stolen. So why not give your spouse a Valentine's Day gift that will improve your marriage and result in a closer connection?
I (Hugh) did this for my wife without even realizing it.
After attending our first marriage conference, I wanted to do something tangible to remind me to put into practice what I'd learned. I'd been discovering that Cindi responds well to words of affirmation and physical touch. But sometimes at the end of the day, I'm still thinking about unresolved issues at work or how hungry I am and I don't come through the door thinking about what she needs. So I printed out a phrase on a strip of paper and taped it to my car dashboard: "Talk more, touch more."
Cindi saw it one day and asked "What's this?"
"That's a reminder to me of what you need every evening when I come home," I said. (Now guys, I probably don't need to tell you that I scored big time on that one.)
Our wives need our words...even if just to say 'how was your day?" or to say "my day was rough, that's why I'm not talking much." And our wives need our touch in a way that says "I care about you" and "I consider you my best friend."
Guys, sometimes when we talk, it's about us. And when we touch, it's for us. But when "talk more, touch more" is for your wife, it goes a long way in affirming to her that she is on your heart.
I (Cindi) wish I could say that "talk more, touch more" is something I offer Hugh, as well. After all, that would be quite easy for me. But actually, "listen more, understand more" is what he needs from me in this season of his life. On a day when he is wiped out, physically and emotionally, from dealing with a lot of demands at his job, I need to let him talk less and I need to be understanding of his need for silence - or at least less commotion - at times.
Lest you think we are stereotyping, you might be the couple in which he wants "talk more, touch more" and she wants "listen more, understand more." That's okay. The key is for you to understand what it is your spouse needs to feel affirmed and loved, and not only offer that on a daily basis, but post it in front of you, if you need to, as a reminder to offer that to each other.
Can you both come up with a phrase or a reminder to yourself of what your spouse needs from you the most?
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Cindi and Hugh McMenamin, Co-authors of When Couples Walk Together