One of my favourite blogs to read at the moment is Mummy’s Undeserved Blessings. I recently read a blog post Lisa wrote a called “The Heart Wants What The Heart Wants“. I won’t go into what she said because you can go and read it (tell her I said “Hi” 🙂 ), but at the end Lisa asked for people to comment and share tips on how to keep a marriage strong. I started thinking over all of the great marriage advice we’ve gotten over the years, and what we’ve put into practice. I’ve blogged about some before, such as the “1:5” ratio we learnt about at a marriage course hubby and I went to. I have also half-written some drafts about others.
One of the other things that stuck with me at that course, and is some of the best advice I think we’ve been given, was our need to study our spouses. We should always be ‘students of our spouse’. It was suggested that we should be creating (whether on paper, on our computer/phone or mentally in our heads) what they called a “Love Map”. This is pretty much a guide to everything we have learnt as we study our spouse. This should be added to and updated over time, as you learn more about your partner and/or they grow and change, as people do over a lifetime. I LOVE this concept.
If we are to actively love our spouse (and I’m not talking about ‘love’ as the mushy feelings, I’m talking about love as a verb – a ‘doing’ word), then we need to really KNOW our spouse. We need to know what they like, dislike and what makes them tick. It also has to be current. Their favourite hobby that helped them relax five years ago may now be something that causes stress. I got a wake-up call recently when asked what my husband’s favourite type of birthday cake was and after nine years of marriage I couldn’t say!
Example of things you could study about your spouse include-
- What they are passionate about
- How they like to unwind/relax
- Fav foods & drinks
- Emotional Triggers/stressors
- Coping strategies
- How they feel loved (eg. love languages)
- Hobbies etc.
- Least favourite household chore
- Way to spend holidays/birthdays etc or celebrate special occasions
An example of a few things I’ve learnt/observed about my hubby:
- He loves Japanese Curry Chicken.
- He unwinds by playing xbox with his online mates
- He’ll smile for a photo on occasion, but he prefers to enjoy the moment without the camera.
- When we order Chinese, he likes Lemon Chicken. Don’t bother offering him sushi.
- Ukulele’s. Loves ukulele’s. (I don’t get it, but I don’t need to.)
- Is a teacher at heart. Loves teaching our boys, teens and anyone about what he’s learnt and what the Bible says.
- Once he decides to go to bed, that’s it. He’ll be asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow.
- After he gets home from a meeting, he’s used enough words…. it’s not the time to chat.
- Don’t ask him to cook/prepare something fancy. Food is for eating, not creating a masterpiece. He’d rather takeaway.
- He misses the beach.
- If I need housework done, he’s happy to help, but he likes to be told. He doesn’t see it the same way that I do.
- When hubby needs an ‘escape’ after a huge week, he likes to go to the movies.
Perhaps in the next week, intentionally observe and listen to your spouse. Try to listen to the things they don’t say and see what you learn. It’s an interesting lesson, and hopefully one that will grow your marriage/relationship even stronger.
What other areas/observations would you include on your ‘love map’ of your spouse???
P.S. If you try this, I’d love to hear about what you learn and if this helps you to understand your spouse more and deepen your relationship!
P.P. S By the way, I checked with hubby later and he said the reason I wouldn’t know his favourite type of birthday cake is because he doesn’t have one because “food isn’t a big deal” for him (I knew that). He did say he’d been thinking of cheese cake recently, so I’ve ordered the caramel cheesecake in the kindy pie drive. Yum!
Interesting! Food for thought.
So I really will be in school for the rest of my life? Cool.
Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
This is great advice! Thank you for sharing. Hubby and I have been married for 8 years. So it makes sense that we will both change our mind on what we like and dislike over that time. I will be taking this on board! 😉
This is great, Hayley. I don’t necessarily mean all the finer details, but mainly the IDEA of taking the time to be cognisant of your relationship dynamics and the interest in your partner. Maintenance is important. My husband and I don’t do this formally often enough, we try to talk across the year about it but generally we use our anniversary dinner as the annual ‘performance review’! 😉 #teamIBOT
I think I know most of the map rules of my hubby but there is always room for improvement I’m sure. I think I know most of them but am too busy/tired/grumpy to follow them! Food is a big thing for my hubby so that’s lucky! Emily
Such a great idea. I think there are lots of things I know but forget when I need to know them. I have included your link on my post for Tuesday.