50+ Ways To Love Your Lover

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It’s interesting how we often express love to others the way we desire to receive love ourselves. What makes one person feel loved is not necessarily going to make another person feel loved. Gary Chapman wrote the best selling book “The Five Love Languages.”  He describes five basic ways for expressing or experiencing love: Service, Time and attention, Touch, Gifts, and Words.

My husband is very touchy, not surprisingly, his primary love language is physical touch. Holding hands, kissing, hugging and sex speak volumes to him.  Nothing communicates love to Jon like physical touch.

Fate would have it that physical touch is at the bottom of my needs spectrum so I’ve had to learn to speak his love language consistently to meet his need.  We have a special kiss we begin and end our day with as well as when we part and reunite.

Gifts are my primary love language so I was always buying Jon thoughtful cards, gifts, etc..  Even today, with my friends and children, I get excited when I hear something they desire because later I will buy it and give it to them. Buying gifts is my way of saying not only am I’m thinking about you but here is something thoughtful to show you.  Imagine my disappointment when Jon, early on in our marriage, did not reciprocate. Honestly, it’s really not the gift I receive but the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind a gift.  These days he will occasionally surprise me with an orchid, my favorite coffee drink or the gift of time.

Dr. Gary Chapman said, “There is an intangible gift that sometimes speaks more loudly than a gift that can be held in one’s hand.  I call it the gift of self or the gift of presence.  Being there when your spouse needs you speaks loudly to the on whose primary love language is receiving gifts.” 

Unfortunately, we both still miss the mark communicating love to each other but thankfully we keep getting better with practice. The “How Do You Spell Love?” Exercise has helped us and others to better express love to one another.  We were introduced to this exercise via Dudley Bienvenu in his workbook “Married Happily Ever After?”

For my birthday this year, Jon didn’t make time to shop for a gift so there was not a special, thoughtful gift for me to open on my actual birthday. As I was preparing this, we both had to laugh as I read aloud from the chapter on gifts that “A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous.” So true as the day after my birthday Jon went shopping for me and bought some hasty gifts. I think he now has a better appreciation to my reaction. I confess I could have been more gracious.

What’s your Love Language?

Take the on-line assessment by clicking here to decipher what your Love Language is. Be sure to get your spouse to take the assessment and if you have children I encourage you to have them take it so you can understand theirs as well.

Discover 50+ practical ways to love your lover. Learn how to best express their love language by following the instructions of the appropriate document below:

Please let me know if you found this helpful.  What new insights did you receive?

 

 

32 Ways To Keep Your Marriage Healthy

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This June 1st Jon and I will have been married 29 years and been together for 32 years. While we have experienced our share of ups and downs, I’ve come to realize that by investing in our marriage we have fewer breakdowns.

We landed ourselves in counseling back in September 2008 because we were not practicing some of the advice we recommend to others. It had been more than 5 years since we had a marriage tune-up. We were three years past due.

Consider how often we take our cars in for tune-ups and adjustments especially when they start to show signs of breaking down. By doing the scheduled maintenance, vehicles tend to function well.  The same principle goes for marriages.

Jon and I unknowingly began to drift apart as he was extremely busy with starting a company; as a new love is always exciting.  I threw myself into mothering, home schooling, and ministry.  Even though we did not argue and outwardly our marriage seemed ok, inwardly I was lonely and we were distant.

I had been suggesting we seek professional help as our marriage has been through numerous trials.  However, it wasn’t until our eldest daughter approached her dad that he saw the severity of neglect.  She shared with him how she did not see us loving each other and feared we were on the road to divorce. Rarely did she notice us holding hands, kissing, laughing, and going on dates, etc. In short, the older girls did not see joy so our marriage was not bringing glory to God.

Working through personal hurts and acknowledging the pain we had caused to each other allowed us to experience more love and peace.  We are more relaxed and gracious to one another because we sought help. This ongoing investment we are making, God willingly, will bear fruit to a legacy our girls can be proud of.

These days we share with couples via home groups, pre-marital counseling, and one-on-ones the truths we have learned as it’s best to learn from others mistakes.  The following are helpful tidbits we have gleaned over the years:

  1. Be 100% committed to your marriage.  Adopt the attitude that there’s no way out but the grave.
  2. Never use the D word = divorce.  When divorce is not an option you tend to seek help.
  3. Be intentional.  The more you are willing to invest in learning the more you will get back.  Make your marriage a priority.
  4. Protect and prioritize time together.
  5. Be committed to your personal growth (emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually).
  6. Invest in your marriage.  We all need a good tune-up from time to time. We purposed to participate every other year in one of the following:
    1. A marriage conference or seminar.
    2. Read a book on marriage together.
    3. Read aloud a daily marriage devotion.
    4. Participate in a group or class study related to marriage.
    5. Find an older/wiser couple to mentor us.
  7. Preventative maintenance is less costly than legal fees.  Don’t let pride or your ego get in the way of asking for help.  Godly counsel with accountability is invaluable.
  8. Money issues cause more problems in a marriage than anything else.
  9. Maintain short-term memory when it comes to offenses. Be willing to forgive as God has forgiven you.
  10. Be slow to become angry.
  11. Assume the best in each other.
  12. Remember your spouse is not the enemy. You are on the same team.
  13. Realize that your marriage goes through various seasons.  When you come through hard times you have a greater appreciation for the good times.
  14. Date your spouse.  It’s important to have weekly dates and occasional weekend get-a-ways without children!
  15. Have fun together. Remember, laughter truly is the best medicine._MG_8195
  16. Learn and don’t assume you know your spouse’s intimacy or emotional needs.  This is key in communicating love to each other.
  17. Learn how to express love to each other by knowing their love language.
  18. Listen, listen, and listen some more when talking with your spouse.  Men, don’t try to fix things right away when your wife comes to you with a problem as they often just want to be heard. Women, when men come to you with a problem they usually are looking for a solution.
  19. Look at the heart not just the delivery of information being conveyed.
  20. Reflect or mirror back what you hear being said to be sure you heard it correct.  “So I heard you say ________________.”
  21. In regards to sex, men tend to be like a microwave oven and women tend to be more like a crock-pot.
  22. Romance comes and goes.  Friendship is forever and you married your best friend.IMG_1756
  23. Treat your spouse as you would your best friend, only better!!
  24. Find some hobbies to do together.  We personally enjoy walking and talking.  Also, let each other explore individual interests.
  25. Pray together.
  26. Greet each other with a kiss as each day begins and ends.
  27. Lavish your partner with love and grace.
  28. Accept and don’t try and change the other. If they need to change, God will take care of that.
  29. Be each others loudest and proudest fans.
  30. Don’t use the words “you always” and “you never”
  31. Express gratitude daily.
  32. We really need Jesus.

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Well there you have it, everything you need to know, less a million other tidbits.

Now it’s your turn. What would you add?  Please do share.

Mothering, Impacts the Life of Others

Over fifty years ago God ordained my time, place, and gave me a Mother as seen in Psalm 139: 13 You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb

I am extremely grateful for the bravery of my mom who chose life as today I realize her decision created a difficult road for her.  Her choice allowed me to have a place in this world.

Abraham Lincoln said, “All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” These are my sentiments as I know the road I’ve traveled has allowed me to be who I am today.  

When one spells mom upside down, it spells wow.  Indeed being a mother is wowful 😉 I am thrilled to have my mom here in Austin this week so I can celebrate Mother’s Day with her. Grateful for her love and support in my life.  It beautiful how our relationship has grown over the years. I love you dearly.

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Happy Mother’s Day Mom. Thank you for being here so we can celebrate with you.

I have one biological sister and a step sister.  I appreciate how God has knitted our hearts closer together as we have grown and matured.  My mother’s mom in the generational photo is no longer with us but is not forgotten on this day of remembrance as without her, well there would be no mom or me.

July 12, 2012 I became a spiritual mother to my sister 😉 when she accepted Christ. It’s been a blast to watch her love for Christ increase. I’m so proud of her.

As a family normal is totally overrated.

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My mother, sisters (Francois & Alyce) and four generations shown.

When I met my husband, the unexpected gift I was given was an incredibly generous, accepting mother-in-law.  I am madly in love with her only child, my husband, Jon. Thank you for always being there and for loving me like your own. If you weren’t my mother-in-law I’d choose you as my friend.

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Thank you for raising the man of my dreams and accepting me into your life.

One of my greatest callings and blessings has been being a mother to Cayley, Courtney, & Caryn.  Indeed children are a gift from the Lord and I am so thankful for my gifts.

Having two independent adults I am amazed that they have become my best friends. I only wish they lived in closer.  I have learned so many truths from Caryn and Courtney as their lives are a living example of what it truly looks like to have a thriving relationship with Jesus.  3 John 1:4 puts it this way, “I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth.”

Motherhood has been the most incredible job that God gave me to do. It has been through the task of bringing up my daughters that I have matured and learned to love abundantly, to be selfless, and gracious. Oh I still have much to learn as my youngest reminds me 😉

I thank God that He knew I was far from ready for the empty nest by blessing us ten years later with our Cayley.

I am so proud of who my daughters have become, are becoming, and how they make the world a better place to be. To the world, a child is only one person, but to a mother, her child is the world. 

It’s because of my daughters I have the greatest privledge of being called “Mother.”

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It’s because of my daughters I have the greatest privledge of being called “Mother.”

There have been many women who have graciously, laboriously, and lovingly invested in my life and for this I say thank you.  I am unable to adequately pay them back but I pay it forward by following your example of investing in others.

Me with some of my spiritual moms and those I am blessed to be a spiritual mom to.

From my experience, there are many who do not have a mother due to death or abandonment. Others have strained relationships or are geographically separated from their mothers.  Regardless, it has been my privledge to pour into the lives of women that God has brought into my life. I am grateful for the many ways God had made me a spiritual mother. It is a privilege to nurture and invest in the relationships of many college students, friends, and others over the years. I am in awe of those who have made significant steps toward Jesus as a result of God using me in their lives. It is an unspeakable joy to journey alongside others, helping them nurture their relationship with the Lord and experiencing more of his love in the process. The blessing of spiritual motherhood is the reminder that you are making a difference in the lives of others and they are loving and following Him. Romans 15:13 I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

As women, we are called to both mother and to be mothered regardless of our age or what season of life we are in. 

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Our love to God is measured by everyday fellowship with others and the love it displays.

It’s been said “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring: all of which have the potential to impact the life of others.”

May we all desire to deeply invest in others.