Jun 202017 5 Responses

Love Is Best Expressed in Small Ways

Love is most often expressed in small ways.

It’s possible to communicate love dramatically. A man loves a woman. He pledges his life for her. The two walk into a convenience store not realizing it’s in the middle of a robbery. In accordance with his vow, he stands between his lover and the man with a gun. In one dramatic act, he proves his love by the giving of his life.

Yet more often than not, a man will not need to physically give his life for his wife in one powerful act. Instead, his love will be tested (and hopefully proven) not in one dramatic act, but in a thousand small acts over the course of a lifetime.

Big vs. Small

People often assume for marriage to work, a couple has to find agreement on the big issues. There is little doubt that finding common ground on the big issues of life is better for a marriage. Differences in politics, religious practice, and philosophy which intrigue us at first, can irritate us later. As important as the big issues are, marriage is often lived in the small issues. It’s the ability to make the day-to-day work which often determines marital satisfaction more than finding common ground on politics or some philosophical issue. (For more ideas of the importance of love expressed in small ways, see the first section of Friends, Partners & Lovers)

Just as life is lived in the small issues, so must love be expressed in small ways.

Love Expressed

It’s important to occasionally express love in big ways. The luxurious trip, long vacation, or expensive gift can be a dramatic expression. But it’s far more important to communicate love in small ways every day.

While it’s true of both genders, men tend to fail in this area more than women. I’ve had many men looked confused when their wife has felt unloved. He talks about the big house, the big trip, or the big ring as proof of his love. What he doesn’t see is the small rejection, unexpressed gratitude, and ignored emotional needs are a much truer expression of their feelings. She appreciates the ring, but what would speak more to her heart are small expressions of thoughtfulness, concern, and care. Sometimes a hand-written card is more valuable than the ten thousand dollar necklace. A re-creation of a first date when you had no money is more precious than an expensive dinner. A daily attitude of service and devotion is greater than the annual trip. (See: No Wonder You Don’t Love Each Other)

Big expressions of love only work if small expressions of love are regularly communicated. Without the daily affection, the big expressions will come across as cheap, manipulative, and artificial.

10 Ways to Express Love in Small Ways

Here are some ways to express love in small ways:

  1. Hold hands
  2. Asking about your spouse’s day and actively listening to their answer
  3. Saying “please” and “thank you”
  4. Find small actions your spouse enjoys and intentionally do them (i.e. get her coffee, record the game for him, warm up her side of the bed)
  5. Vocalizing your appreciation for routine tasks (i.e. cooking dinner or mowing the yard)
  6. Identifying stress and doing something to alleviate it (i.e. tell them to leave while you take care of the kids or you finish what they are doing while they lay down)
  7. Daily kiss, hug, look each other in the eye and say I love you (and mean it)
  8. Restraining anger or a frustrated reply in order to lessen the tension
  9. Pray for one another
  10. Spend meaningful time together (i.e. take a walk, sit on the porch)

Love must be communicated, both in words and action, in a way that will be best understood by the recipient. One big act might feel more meaningful, but a thousand small acts are far more effective. Ask your spouse what you can do to make them feel appreciated and loved? Put a reminder on your calendar to do those things until it becomes natural for you to just do them without the reminders. How much better would your marriage be if your spouse did small things to make you feel loved each day? Start a new habit to express love daily and watch how much it grows your marriage.

What action by your spouse makes you feel most loved?

5 Responses to Love Is Best Expressed in Small Ways

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