By Linda Gilden, Crosswalk.com
We are coming upon Valentine's Day. What a perfect time to creatively show your spouse how much you love them. Have you ever thought about what your spouse really enjoys? Much of that depends on your spouse's personality. Much has been written about personalities and what is enjoyable and what they don't like. If you are unsure of your spouse's personality, you can learn a lot about the personalities at linkedpersonalities.com, built on the LINKED Quick Guides to Personalities book series. There is also a personality quiz on the site.
For example, those with the Mobilizer personality work daily from a checklist. Their most important thing is to get every item on that list checked off by bedtime. Help with that list is an act of love to them. The Socializer personality likes everything to have an element of fun. Crowds, parties, and groups are their favorite types of gatherings. If your spouse disagrees, taking time to attend a social event occasionally will make them happy and make a statement of love to your spouse. The Stabilizer personality, however, is much more low-key and is happy to stay at home reading a good book or watching a television program, preferably educational. The Organizer's personality is, in some ways, like the Stabilizer. They don't enjoy large crowds, but being anywhere with their mate is a treat. They like things in order, so the more their spouse helps to keep things where they belong. As you can see, personalities affect how that personality receives and gives love.
You may think, "Well, I tell him or her I love them every day and usually give them a peck on the cheek before we go to bed. He or she knows I love them. After all, I married them, didn't I?"
We will not be discussing whether or not you love your spouse. We will talk about new, fun, and exciting ways you can show that love to them in a way they understand. We will consider their personalities as well as their primary love languages. People have different ways of receiving love; we will explore those along with some ideas for showing love to our spouses as Valentine's Day approaches.
Dr. Gary Chapman wrote a book called 5 Love Languages. This book outlines five different ways or "languages" that people show love, which is a new way of looking at relationships. Dr. Chapman developed this system of identifying the love languages years ago, but many decades later, people are still discovering things about their spouses when they read this book. The five different love "languages" are words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, gifts, and quality time.
If you observe those around you, especially those you are close to, you realize that one may light up when you say something sweet and encouraging. Someone else may smile and get very excited about small gifts. For some, when your spouse reaches out and takes your hand, you still feel a thrill of electrifying excitement run through your arm and body. The number one love language in a recent survey was quality time – understandable with the busy lives most couples have today.
Let's look at some ways to show your spouse how much you love them on Valentine's Day and all year long. You can plan regular date nights regardless of your personality or love language. Weekly is best, but if that doesn't work for you, make it biweekly or monthly.
Words of Encouragement and Affirmation
1. People who value words of affirmation love to hear frequent "I love you's" and words of encouragement. Texts, emails, and other forms of digital communication are always welcome. Unprompted encouragement and praise, especially in front of others, greatly impact your mate.
2. Sweet notes – The candy manufacturers have made it easy for us to affirm our mates. For instance, grab a few chocolates kisses, or hugs. Write a note that says, "Here are a few kisses and hugs for you." Cookie- "You are one smart cookie. But I think I was the smart one when I picked you." Dum-dum pop – "I am so proud of you. You are no dum-dum."
3. Notes are an excellent way to affirm your mate. Find a special place to use as a mailbox – a briefcase, a shoe, under the pillow, in the cereal box, under the coffee cup, or any place you know your spouse will go.
4. You can even leave a paperless note on the mirror in the bathroom. You can write on it with a dry-erase marker, which will wipe right off. Don't write with lipstick because when the room steams up from your shower, you will see the note. Not a bad thing when you are at home alone with your spouse. However, if you have guests...!)
Today many couples both work. Two incomes are necessary just to provide the basics for their families. So time together as a couple is a treasure. People who value time together with their mates know the value of keeping their relationship fresh and close.
5. Time spent together can be simple, such as snuggling on the couch and watching a movie once the children are in bed.
6. Take a walk while holding hands. Your children need to see positive signs of affection between you.
7. Seeing your mate write your name on their calendar is a thrill and creates a surge of love for your mate. "I am important enough to be on his or her calendar!"
8. Quality time with your spouse is giving them your undivided attention. When you go out to dinner, leave your phone in the car or at home. Even at home, put your phone in another room during meals and don't jump up to get it when you hear it ring. Every time you answer the phone during a meal, it says to your spouse, "You are not the most important thing to me." You may not even know who is calling, but everyone at the table understands that they are not your first priority during meals.
Acts of Service
9. For those who value this kind of attention, this is a perfect way to show your mate how much you love them—doing something that makes their life easier, no matter how small. "You cooked, I'll clean" are welcome words at any house. "Let me take the children to school today so you can rest." "When the dryer timer goes off, I'll get the laundry." "Can I bring you coffee in the morning?" "I notice you are cleaning out the garage. "Can I help you on Saturday?"
Serving your mate is a strong declaration of love to your spouse. It indicates that you want to help make their lives easier.
10. Cooking his favorite meal or going with him to watch a movie he would like is definitely an act of service and a show of love to your spouse.
Who doesn't love a present? It may be a small trinket, some new underwear when his or hers is all frayed, or an expensive piece of jewelry, but when you look at it, you think of your spouse gratefully and remember their love. The gift is nice, but it reminds your spouse you are thinking of them even when you are not together.
11. When possible, give your spouse the gift of a trip. That is not only a nice gift of quality time together but also a very special gift of memories. Some hotels offer special rates if you spent your honeymoon with them and will give you the same price. Be sure to purchase your spouse a memento of the trip so you can display it at home and remember it every day. Holidays, birthdays, or anniversaries are special times to show your spouse how much you love them.
12. Why not celebrate the twelve days of Christmas and give your spouse a small gift on each of the twelve days? Day one could be a book your spouse has been wanting to read. The first year Will decided to do this, he knew how much his spouse loved the beach. So after she went to bed, he went into their oversized bathroom, sprinkled a little sand around, set up her beach chair and umbrella, and laid the book on the seat. On day two, he purchased a pair of earrings she had been admiring. On the third day, his spouse found three magazines she liked tied together with a bow. Day four included four calling birds. Will arranged a phone call from Robin, Wren, Mrs. Parrot, and Miss Crow. See how this works? One year his spouse turned the tables and gave Will presents on each day of Christmas. Each day matched the number of the day with the number of gifts received.
13. Purchase a pretty notebook or journal and start on Valentine's Day of this year. Call it something like "How Do I Love Thee? Write one thing on every page, and next Valentine's Day, you will have an unforgettable gift that your spouse can treasure forever. And on nights you are not at home or traveling for business, they can curl up in a favorite chair and remember how much you love each other.
14. The best gifts are those that are surprises. Think of something your spouse would really like to do, like attend a movie or concert, and surprise them with tickets. Make it something they don't expect. Remember to arrange a babysitter and supper for the kids.
Plan a little ahead, and you will have a wonderful and fun Valentine's Day.
Linda Gilden is an award-winning writer, speaker, editor, certified writing and speaking coach, and personality consultant. Her passion is helping others discover the joy of writing and learn to use their writing to make a difference. Linda recently released Articles, Articles, Articles! and is the author of over a thousand magazine articles and 19 books including the new Quick Guides for Personalities. She loves every opportunity to share her testimony, especially through her writing. Linda’s favorite activity (other than eating folded potato chips) is floating in a pool with a good book surrounded by splashing grandchildren—a great source of writing material!