My inbox is flooded with junk on a daily basis. Groupon, Pottery Barn, Pinterest, etc. Most of the emails are subscriptions I consistently delete instead of clicking the fine print “unsubscribe” option. Good Housekeeping sends out “Good Advice” emails that, despite the subject, usually go out with the rest of the spam; but Monday morning I indulged, opening it to see what they thought was so pertinent to me.
The feature link: “10 Ways to Live Like Honeymooners.” I’ve seen a thousand articles like this and I’ve read a handful that carried the same messages of spunk and spontaneity. It’s true that Andrew and I haven’t been married for so long that I feel that the freshness is gone from our relationship (4 years next week!); still, with two very little ones and plenty of fatigue, it’s easy for us to sludge into monotony. I thought a little married maintenance couldn’t do any harm.
You’ll have to check out the article yourself, but my favorite point was “Dressing Up.” When Andrew and I were dating/engaged long distance, you can bet that I looked my absolute best every time we visited each other. Hair and make-up flawless. Clothing cute and coordinated. I put astounding effort toward my appearance because I wanted to continue attracting and impressing him. Even after we were initially married, I kept things up, which was easy since I was working; but once I became a housewife, my efforts slipped. To compensate for the more-often-than-not sweats and t-shirt, I made sure that my face and hair looked at least presentable when he came home each day. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t morph into a total slob, but wearing a cute skirt and top didn’t seem very practical since we had had plenty of spit-up and spills at our place.
Our boys are able to hold the milk and food pretty well now, so away with practicality! Why choose practical clothes over impressing your spouse? Though I have to say, I think I’ve found a decent balance of both in cotton attire. Every day since Monday, I’ve dressed as though I were going out with friends. (If I’m eager to look so nice for them and the rest of the unknown public, then I should be even more gung ho to be pretty for the person who should feel the most privileged in my life.) A couple of cotton skirts with cute tanks and coordinating jewelry, a bright top with white shorts and colorful earrings, hair and make-up done well instead of quickly brushed on or none at all. Nails and eyebrows neat because we all know the devil’s in the details. I spent more time on myself and got excited to present the finished product to Andrew. I wanted him to know that I value his opinion of me and that I respect him. Dressing nicely is an outward expression of my deep esteem for him.
And you know what? He noticed.
And he sweetly thanked me once he caught on that impressing him alone was my intention. Every day that I have put extra effort toward my appearance, Andrew has complimented something about me. At first, his remarks were directed at my appearance like my flower ring or earrings; but they developed into more meaningful reflections. Today he held me and told me that he admires the way I mother our children and that he’s noticing that I not only do I handle them well, but that I’m improving. In another instance, he said that he felt loved and appreciated by my consideration lately.
I assert that putting more time into your appearance for your spouse will have a direct, positive correlation with being more generous and considerate of him/her. I found one small way to show Andrew that I love him, and I wanted to do more! If one of our kids was down, I took the other to the store so he could have time to himself. I cooked better meals. I surprised him with ice cream. He noticed these things too, and felt valued. And because he felt valued, he made me feel the same way by his hard work and sweet compliments.
Shoot, that’s what any wife wants, isn’t it? We’re all just hoping that our husbands still find us attractive, that they are enchanted and in love with us, that they want to talk about something other than the kids! I received all of this by simply dressing up from sweat-shorts and a t-shirt.
I’ll close with my own brief list of maintaining wedded bliss – they’re all such little things that point to the love that means so much more! 2-4 are a big deal, not just to spouses, but to all individuals’ sense of worth.
- Pray together! The couple that draws itself closer to Christ will be more tightly knit itself. “Where one alone may be overcome, two together can resist. A three-ply cord is not easily broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12).
- Everybody wants to be…Looked at: Dress up! (see above), admire your spouse’s physical qualities
- …Spoken With & Listened To: Turn off your screens. When techno-gadgets are off, Andrew and I can engage in high-quality conversation without distraction. We can enjoy each other so much more.
- …Touched: hug, kiss, hold hands, rub a shoulder (or both!) Touch brings a sense of closeness to any relationship, especially because it involves trust and comfort. Whenever Andrew touches my face or squeezes my hand, I feel so soothed and treasured.
Do these things with your spouse and, even during stress, tension can melt and you can feel like a team. You can feel strengthened and confident in the freshness of your marriage.