Well, I didn’t get to this the very next day but here it is. I encourage everyone to try these for your relationships be it a marriage, parent/child, friend/friend, boyfriend/girlfriend. Try them and then come back and let me know how it went!
1.) Be Honest – Well, not completely but seriously, tell the truth but remember to say it in a helpful and loving way. Like when someone asks you, “Don’t I look great in this!” That really isn’t a question. If they think so then they do. End of discussion. If you feel like you have got to tell them they look like a clown then say, “That’s fine, but I really thought you looked amazing in the ——.” Don’t hurt people with your personal “truth.”
2.) Give genuine complements – I once heard a relationship expert say, “When You say, ‘I love that color on you.’ You are complementing yourself.” “I like”, “I think”, statements are about the “I” not the other person. If you truly think someone looks pretty tell them so. “You look pretty.” Not, “I think you look pretty.” It is also really important to acknowledge more than how people look all of the time.
Think hard about what a person does that makes them special. Complement them on that. If your wife always does your laundry, remember to let her know you noticed and appreciate her for it. Everyone likes to receive complements.
3.) Give kisses – Everyday. Kiss you husband/wife passionately everyday! Seriously! Studies have shown that kissing passionately daily is one of the ways couple can help improve the intimacy in their relationship. If you aren’t feeling it, fake it till you make it!
Even my teenagers liked to be kissed on the head or cheek and even come looking if I don’t stop in before they go to bed. Demonstrating affection is so vital in making someone feel loved. Kisses are a wonderful form of touching. People need to be touched.
4.) Take walks together - (in quiet places so you can talk) Talk about anything that comes to mind. This also makes it easier to talk about the tough stuff when it comes up. You can even walk for long periods without talking but make an effort to talk.
5.) Hold Hands – Hold your little child’s hand. Hold your husband/wife’s hand. Touching someone in a loving way shows them you love them without you constantly having to say the words. Let’s be honest, words with no actions are just words. Holding hands makes a person feel safe, cared for, loved.
6.) Give Gifts – I don’t mean rings, toys, IPADS, etc. I mean real gifts. Gifts that you know will demonstrate that you listen to them; that you know them inside. For Valentine’s Day this year, Ben gave me several gifts. They were all about me.
He gave me two new shirts (I was just telling him that I’m sick of the old raggedy ones I have.) in my favorite color, he gave me my favorite flowers (not cut but as growing bulbs…I love gardening), he gave me a wonderfully romantic letter (I love letters!), and lastly, he gave me an account card for our credit union. It was stuck to one of the shirt packages and I thought he had accidentally lost it (it was stuck to a piece of tape dangling from the edge of the package. I gave it back to him and said “I think you dropped this.” He said, “No. It’s yours.” I smiled and said I still had my original.
He got tears in his eyes and said he opened me a new account and had been saving the dollar a day that he normally would spend on a soda at the gas station. He opened me a new account with the money he had saved so that I would have some money to use for my trip to see my terminally ill niece who is only 14. Now that’s a gift! He knew how I felt about having to put the trip on my credit card and he knew how I felt about getting to see my niece again and he gave up something that he LOVES to have so that I could have something that was important to me. He put my needs before his own. Give gifts from your heart to theirs. It really does make a difference.
A little more on gift giving:
They don’t have to cost you any money at all. Pick your wife wild flowers. Better yet, come home early and make supper or send her to take a long hot bath while you make dinner or take care of the kids. If your husband is in charge of yard work, make him feel appreciated. Surprise him by mowing the lawn before he gets home. When he asks why tell him you thought he deserved a break.
If you pack someone’s lunch everyday, add a special treat or a little note to let them know you’re thinking about them. Make time for someone. It shows them you love them. Read an extra book with your child. Better yet, have a family reading time! We read a chapter book together as a family and we don’t read without everyone. It isn’t a chore or a scheduled activity. It’s a special time for us to snuggle together and listen to whomever is reading for the night. We talk about the book, where we think its going, what might happen, other books by the same author….whatever comes to mind.
I feel really strongly about the giving of the greatest gift you can give, YOURSELF. Give of yourself to those you love. You do need to remember though that giving too much of yourself can lead to a shortage. It is also important to remember that too many gifts can make it seem regular.
Like I said in the beginning, try these out and come back. Tell me how it went for you. I am excited to see what happens in your lives!