10 Ways To Love Your Spouse When You're Not Together
“The Lord watch between you and me, when we are out of one another’s sight."
– Genesis 31:49
Is it true that absence makes the heart grow fonder?
The answer to that question all depends on what you are doing while you are apart.
If statistics* are right, research shows that couples today spend an average of only 150 minutes a day together doing shared activities. That is only two and a half hours together per day! That is A LOT of time spent apart.
Ken and Trudi Berding personally understand those statistics. As the mother of four daughters, Trudi also homeschools, teaches women’s Bible Study and hosts numerous dinners in their home for Ken’s university students. Ken teaches fulltime at Biola University, writing and researching. They know first-hand what it means to spend hours apart throughout their day.
Yet they are also deeply committed to each other and to protecting their relationship. They work very hard at staying connected to one another and communicating the priority each holds in the other’s heart and mind throughout the day when responsibilities and activities keep them apart.
So the CMR (Biola University Center for Marriage and Relationships) asked Ken and Trudi to share some of their more creative ideas on how we can love our spouses when we are apart. And considering today is Valentine's day, we hope this list is just what you need to make sure your Valentine knows how much you love them.
10 Ways to Love Your Wife When You’re Not With Her
by Ken Berding
- Let her know you’re thinking about her throughout the day (texts, e-mails, notes through social media).
- Speak well of her when talking to others.
- Turn your eyes away from temptation, and by all means stay away from pornography.
- Think loving thoughts about her; don’t dwell on negatives.
- Take responsibility for the kids so she can get some time alone. (It’s not babysitting; they’re your kids, too.)
- Leave her handwritten love notes. Even post-it notes on the bathroom mirror will be appreciated.
- Plan a surprise date.
- Buy her small gifts to remind her that you are thinking about her.
- Do something for her that she doesn’t want to do (wash the car, wash the dishes, take the dog to the vet, call the insurance company).
- Pray for her.
10 Ways to Love Your Husband When You’re Not With Him
by Trudi Berding
- Do what you can to make your home a place he wants to come home to.
- Cook him some really appetizing food or a dessert he loves. It’s not without reason that our forbearers said that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.
- Don’t complain about him when you are with your friends (“he doesn’t fix…” “he doesn’t listen…” “he doesn’t understand…”). Remember that your heart often follows your words.
- Do something to relieve the pressures in his life. Ask how you can help him.
- Don’t be inappropriately friendly with other men.
- Plan a special date to do something that he would like to do.
- Don’t leave all the disciplining of the children for your husband to take care of when he gets home (“…just wait till your dad gets home!”).
- Save the grubby clothes for working out. It would be a shame if the only time you dress cute is when you are going out to see other people.
- Take the initiative and prepare ahead of time for a romantic night. Remember that you are the only one who can minister to your husband in this particular way.
- Pray for him.
While we can’t always have more time together, we can make the hours we are apart work for us, not against us as a couple. It just takes a little time and forethought. Hopefully, by putting the Berdings’ suggestions into practice, this Valentine's Week we will find that absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder. And that sounds like a great way to kick off Valentine's Day.
*UK 2000 Time Use Survey, National Office of Statistics.
The Biola University Center for Marriage and Relationships exists to build and sustain healthy relationships and marriages in the church and broader culture. Visit our blog to view articles, videos and more resources on marriage and relationships.