Loving Your Spouse Using

Loving Your Spouse With Words of Affirmation

As most of you know I am a huge fan of The Love Languages. I find the entire idea behind it fascinating and more importantly-true! I’ve written about the Love Languages before and I’ve also talked about How To Love Your Children According to Their Love Languages. Today I want to share with you a little bit about words of affirmation!

My highest scoring love language always has been words of affirmation, with no shock to the people in the audience. It’s the strongest in how I love and in how I receive love. My other love languages sometimes gain or lose in momentum but words stays at the top. This is a challenging aspect of our relationship because Josh’s lowest love language? You guessed it-WORDS OF AFFIRMATION.

Thus the past six years of our relationship? A lot of me trying to explain what it is that helps me feel loved. It’s been trial and error as he, bless his heart, fumbled around in a love language he really isn’t very good at. (I told him I was going to tell y’all that, so no worries.) I wanted to share just a few ways to show the love through words of affirmation. If there are any other husbands or wives out their trying to get it right, this is for you. Straight from a word obsessed wife…how to love your spouse when their love language is Words of Affirmation!

The Basics of Loving With Words of Affirmation:

Praise Them!

When you’re out or about, compliment them! talk about how they make you happy, tell others about how strong they are. Make sure they hear it. When you’re hanging out at home, randomly tell them you love them. Send them a text message throughout the day to remind them you’re thinking about them.

Gents, take advantage of “Woman Crush Wednesday”! Ladies, use that “Man Crush Monday”! Take a moment to write a sweet message on your status or leave the compliment on their Facebook wall. Let me say this very clearly- your spouse isn’t trying to be needy. I struggle with the fact that it feels so *needy* to ask for my husband to say how much he loves me, but it’s truly not that. I feel more loved when he compliments me or says kind things than I do if he buys me expensive jewelry or does all the dishes. It’s just who I am.

Don’t insult them in front of others

And on the flip side, my friends, do not insult them in front of others. I urge you to be truly careful with your words. I can tell you almost every thing my husband has said negatively about me. As words can build me up and warm my heart to love, they also have the power to destroy. When your spouse has words of affirmation as their love language, be aware of your words. We should always strive to use words that are acceptable to God no matter what the love language is, however in these cases, you may need to be even more aware. Your words can build your spouse up-but can also destroy them.

In the chance you do hurt them, make sure you apologize using real words! The simple commentary of “I am sorry” isn’t always how a person whose love language is Words of Affirmation may need those words for an apology as well.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14

And for my favorite part of this post…a list of 20 ways to love on your spouse when words of affirmation is their number one(or two!) love language. These are all things that I would totally want for myself! 

What else could you do to show a person who has the love language of words of affirmation love?

I'm Ditching Our -Christian Marriage-

I’m Ditching Our “Christian Marriage”

I mentioned a few times over the past months that my husband and I had a rough patch for a month or so right before the holidays. Everything that should have been good-we had no reason to not be getting along spectacularly. Nothing major had shifted in our relationship and we were both doing what we were “supposed” to be doing. We went to church together, we attended groups, we were each getting our own time in the bible and in prayer. We had what should have been a good marriage.

Still, it felt as though there was something missing in our Christian Marriage.

We didn’t connect. Our conversations with each other were stilted and few. We were being short with each other(okay, mostly me) and not sharing what was bothering us(totally him). Our marriage was not thriving, despite the hours I was spending by myself, praying over it, reading about ways to make it better, studying how to make it better.

Have you ever seen this visual before? The one with a triangle and husband and wife are at the bottom, the closer they move upwards towards God, the closer they get. I enjoy that visual for the message behind it-move closer to God, move closer to each other. I think it did me a disservice, though.

I realized after awhile that growing closer to God on my own and my husband growing closer to God on his own wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough that we were both Christians, fighting to learn, love, and grow in Jesus. We needed to do that together. We needed to open our Bibles and sit together, reading over the Word. We needed to pray over our day to day choices and situations. We needed to invite God into our fighting, our cooking, our parenting, and even our bedroom. And more than invite Him in-we needed to make Him central in every step.

Which is why we’re leaving our Christian marriage behind in 2017 and we are moving forward to a Christ-centered marriage.

I know, I know. Some of you may believe that those are two things are just semantics-it’s like saying “I follow Jesus” vs ”I am a Christian”; they are overall the same exact thing. I understand that. But for us, the wording is making a huge difference for in how I look at every choice we make together.

Where, in our Christian marriage, I was quick to pray for my husband when I was upset with him, in our Christ-centered marriage I am all about sitting down and praying with him when I am upset.

In our Christian marriage, I was all about studying God’s Word alone and leaving my husband to do the same while in our Christ-centered marriage we are putting that in the middle and forefront of every one of our decisions.

In our Christian marriage, we focused on ourselves growing in Him. In our Christ-centered marriage, our focuses are on pushing the other to continuously grow in and rely on Him.

In our Christian marriage, we moved towards being at peace with ourselves within God. In our Christ-centered marriage, we are going to fight our way to peace together.

What steps are we taking to intentionally have a more Christ-centered marriage? Putting Jesus in the center, of course. But if you’re like us the idea of that is much easier to think about than actually implementing Him being the number one in your relationship. If you’re like us, sometimes it’s simpler to go to bed once the kids are asleep, instead of praying together. Or the time you do get together, it’s easier to watch a movie and laugh than read a bible verse and talk about the hard stuff. So I wanted to share with you the easy, intentional steps we’re taking.

  1. Praying together whenever there’s a choice that needs to be made. Even the smallest choices.
  2. Reading the same books about the Bible and discussing them as we make dinner, eat out, etc. Recently I read through a book my husband had read a year ago and talking over it with him has brought us closer.
  3. Signing up for the same “verse of the day” app and praying over that verse separately and together. Being in the same mindset with the same verses(or in different mindsets with the same verse) can help establish a common ground. It’s also a great way to use these mobile devices for good-we often hear negativity surrounding social media/cellphone usage, but this is something that can connect a marriage in Jesus.
  4. Use e-mail/texting/messaging for good. I’m a social media girl. It’s just who I am. I’m a millennial, who grew up with a computer in her home for as long as she can remember. My husband, while 11 years older, is a computer dude. We often message back and forth when we are not together. Why not use that to message words of encouragement, verses straight from the Bible, or things we are currently praying over?
  5. Don’t say it before you pray it. When you’re angry, take a step back and pray about the things you’re about to say in your rage. I’m guilty of spouting things off, mean and angry things, without thinking it through. I’ve begun praying, “Lord is this fair?” Is it fair of me to be angry because my husband slept one hour more than me? Is it fair to yell about him relaxing? Not at all. This also gives my impulsive self a moment to reconsider what I want to get out of what I’m saying.
  6. Don’t use sex as a weapon. Sex is a great, awesome gift from God for married couples. Don’t use the withholding of it hurt your spouse. God didn’t make it to be used as a weapon.
  7. Complain about each other in healthy, accountable ways. I hate the new belief that we should never ever complain about our spouses, instead keeping everything between God and us. First, I think it gives a lot of room for resentment. Secondly though, I also think it leaves us doubting the work God can do through our friends. I’m not saying it’s appropriate to complain about your spouse on Facebook daily, but I think having an accountability partner of the same sex is major in growing, learning and leaning into the teachings of older, wiser Christians. I’m passionate to a fault about accountability partners and can’t wait to talk more about them.
  8. Tell each other one thing they are doing great daily. How great does it feel to be recognized for the things you are doing? God made us as imperfect individuals, but he also made us as humans who have unique gifts and services made to honor Him. Show the love by praising your husband or wife for the ways they are cultivating these things. Empty encouragement is not good so find something you actual admire about them.
  9. When asking for forgiveness, remember to ask God for forgiveness as well-and if you are the forgiver, invite Him into your heart as you work to move forward. Listen, we all mess up sometimes and must ask God and our spouse for forgiveness. I do it often-like I mentioned above, I’m a hot head. I yell before thinking it through more often than not. I have to say I’m sorry a lot, and in that, I pray to God for forgiveness on my own shortcomings and downfalls and how I have stepped away from what He had in mind for our marriage. Asking forgiveness is not a weakness-saying sorry is not a sign of weakness. It’s leaning into the strength only He can give.
  10. When all else fails, dive into the Word on your own for guidance. Open your Bible and read it! Search for stories of marriage, of relationships, of love and God…read them, pray on them, memorize them. No one will give better “marriage advice” than the creator of marriage Himself.

I recommend really reading through Ephesians 5:21-33 and dissecting it as a couple. These verses are some of the most crucial to me for forging a Christ-centered marriage.

These are ten steps we are taking to make our marriage look less like a Christian marriage and function more like a Christ-centered marriage! Do you work to have a Christ-centered marriage? What do you do to keep Jesus central in your relationship?

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Four Year Anniversary-And What My Vows Look Like Now

 

Today Josh and I celebrate our 4th anniversary. We have been married for four years now and life is so different than it was the day we said I do. While I’m sure everyone’s life changes in four years, our four years of marriage have seen 7 kids, 2 pregnancies, a move and lots of good food and wine. It’s been an amazing go thus far in our run.

This past week or so, I’ve been remembering the vows I shared with him. They were simple and sweet, saturated in love for him…but they were also so naive. I promised to watch football, to cuddle him when he needs it, to trust him and love him. But when I wrote the vows, I didn’t know the struggles and trials our relationship would face. I also didn’t know the deep joy and happiness that we would experience. These past four years of marriage(and our five together) have been a daunting, overwhelming, sometimes exhausting blessing. I wouldn’t do it with anyone else other than you.

But now, four years later, I want to change up the vows I gave you a wee bit. Just so they fit a little better and describe a little more this journey called marriage that we are taking together. They may be a little less idyllic, but they are filled with love every step of the way still.

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Here’s what my vows today would look like.

My dear Joshua. I promise to love, honor and obey you. Love you, even when you need to shower but want to give me a kiss. Honor you, by walking away from other men who flirt with me in bars and proudly tell the story of my 6 foot plus tall husband. Obey you, when my money spending self is feeling reckless and you’re always logical self tells me I shouldn’t. I promise to always look to you as the leader of our home, even when that becomes difficult and I want to lead. We Marceau women are strong willed and stubborn…so I may continue to fail. But I’ll try.

I promise to love you even when I can’t love myself. You’re still the mountain to my river; you are strong and stable and sturdy and I am flowing and moving and sometimes even overflowing with emotions and thoughts. I so adore your mountain-ness. And I thank you for that everyday, even when I’m huffing and hawing at your lack of spontaneity.

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I am so excited to see the family we will create together. You lean into me and I lean into you as we fight to grow and raise our family. I won’t always have the answer; despite you proclaiming I am the better parent, you are the best father I could have ever wanted for my children. You are the best father out there and there is nothing I am more honored to see you be than a daddy. I’m sorry for the late nights I pouted in the living room while nursing or the times one of us had to take a nap instead of being together because we were just so tired, but those times are almost behind us.

And because of you, our sons are seeing the men they should become and our daughters the men they should expect when they are married.

No matter if our family is done growing, or we take that leap back into the system, or we make another—I am so thankful you are the father my children have.

Joshua, I can’t promise to never complain about watching football. I hate it so much. I will sometimes complain when you ask me to open up your beer as you plop in front of the television set on a Sunday afternoon. And I will whine when you aren’t adventurous in dressing up with us for Halloween. I may even moan over your choice in clothing still…I’m trying not to, but really? T-Shirts every darn day?!

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I can’t promise to always be a good wife or a strong wife or a top notch mama. I can’t promise to love you as well as you deserve it-and you deserve it. But I can promise that you are enough for me, for this entire life. I can promise that I’ll keep choosing my dandelion to even out the fire in me.When we fight, I will come and make you talk it out with me.  I will make boundaries and keep strong against anything of this world that tempts me to hurt you.

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(I’ve always been the crazy one, y’all!)

I want to spend this entire lifetime searching for and pleasing Jesus with you. The fight will continue to keep our marriage Christ centered in a me centered world. I will continue to make time for date nights and *wink wink* nights and prayer together. May we never forget Who made this marriage and Who is the reason for our love for one another.

I will love you forever and always.

My vows now are a bit more raw and real than the ones we shared 4 years ago, but I think that’s true about marriage for most people. Four years in and most couples have faced hardships, temptations, and heartache. But we are also four years stronger.

Are you married? If so how long have you been married?

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