Charles Spurgeon is quoted to have said, “It’s not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.”
When my husband and I got married we had a tough time transitioning from being two strong-willed independent people into a unified couple. We didn’t have huge marriage issues to overcome — we had a lot of little everyday annoyances that started to chip away at the foundation of our relationship.
Slowly, we stopped seeing all we had and started focusing on all that was lacking in each other.
Honestly, enjoying each other got lost in all the efforts to fix each other. If you’ve ever been in this place with a relationship, you know how disillusioning it can be. You know how it can open your marriage up to a world of attack and the temptation to think, “Did I marry the wrong person? I didn’t know it was going to be this hard.”
One day I was pouring my heart out to God in utter frustration. I desperately wanted to get off the hamster wheel of aggravation we seemed to be stuck on. We just kept going around and around with what was lacking in our relationship but never made any effort to progress in doing something right.
As I was praying, an idea popped into my head… The Love Jar Activity.
This would be an activity where each of us would have a jar with 5 slips of paper inside. Art would write one thing on each of his papers that I could do for him that would speak love to him. And I would do the same with my papers.
Then we’d switch jars and once a week for 5 weeks straight, we’d draw a piece of paper from each other’s jar. Whatever that paper suggested, we’d do that special thing for the other person sometime during that week.
Of course, we established some parameters going into the game that fit our schedules and budget. And I can’t say Art was jumping up and down when I introduced this idea to him… but eventually he warmed up to the idea and in the end wound up loving it!
As the weeks went on this simple activity did 3 crucial things in our relationship…
1. It reintroduced a sense of fun that had gotten lost in the minutia of life.
2. It taught us how important it is to be a life long student of your mate… Really seeking to understand how this other person receives love and needs to be loved.
3. It reminded us that love is a choice. We can’t rely on “that loving feeling” to always find us… we have to choose love and let the feelings follow.
Honestly, I think this simple activity did more to help recapture the love in our relationship than anything else we could have done in this really tough season.
If you would like more ideas like these and marriage advice from a very imperfect couple, I’m giving away 3 sets of my marriage books today: “Capture Her Heart” — for husbands to read… and “Capture His Heart” — for wives.
These are short books power-packed with stories from my marriage, life-lessons, and simple marriage advice… perfect for people who don’t have story book marriages but would like to invest wisely in their relationship.
If that’s you… leave a comment today. I’ll read your comment, pray for your marriage and randomly choose 3 people to win.