What We Learned About Acts of Love

This month’s focus for "The Couple Project" was doing acts of love for each other because “there's no such thing as love; only proof of love.”(— Jean Cocteau). We chose to show our love by doing nice things for each other every day. These small acts demonstrated that we were thinking of our spouse and that we loved them.

It isn’t always easy to remember to do nice things for each other. We are busy people with work, children and other commitments that fill our day. To reach our goal we had to decide that our spouse came first. This doesn’t mean we couldn’t do anything until we did our nice thing but we did have to make it a priority. Each day we needed a plan of action to make sure that we knew when and what we were doing. Our goal required sacrifice.

One sacrifice we made was doing things outside of our comfort zones. Our love languages aren’t the same and what our spouse needs from us doesn’t always come naturally. We had to find ways to do what our spouse needed, not what we were good at or what we wanted to do. This required taking the time to view the world through our spouse’s eyes, to see what spoke to them.

This month we learned that we needed to take time to think about our spouse during the day and not just when we made our plan. We learned how to communicate better, to eat with a bit more variety, to say kinder words, and to pay attention when the other person was speaking; in other words we learned to speak their love language. A love language isn’t cut and dry, we can’t just give them gifts, or have sex, and expect that to work the rest of our lives. Our spouse won’t always need the same things from us and we have to pay attention to know what they need today. For example, one of us enjoys yummy treats but sometimes a kind word is appreciated as well.

One of our favorite acts of love this month was a winter picnic, in the car. We packed up a meal of rice, chicken, sauce, peas, and a thermos of hot chocolate, and drove to a park that looked out onto the Puget Sound. We were able to eat and talk without any interruptions, enjoy each other’s company, and look out over the water with mountains in the distance. This was something new we hadn’t tried before and we enjoyed it enough that we’ve done it again since.

Some of the other acts of love we performed this month were:

  • Sent a message to let them know we were thinking - about them.
  • Gave a hug and kiss.
  • Bought them a treat.
  • Talked and asked questions about their day.
  • Stayed in communication when we were apart.
  • Gave them a compliment.
  • A quickie in the afternoon.
  • Made sure we had quality conversation throughout the day.
  • A cup of hot cocoa together.
  • Planned a fun intimate evening.
  • Bought some clothes and accessories.
  • Planned a date to get away and talk.

To stretch ourselves we focused on occasionally doing larger nice things specifically in our spouse’s love language. These took a bit more planning (5-10 minutes) and we told each other in advance so they could help make them happen and create more accountability. These turned out to be a lot of fun and we are excited to continue this habit.

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We encourage you to think of your own plan to show your spouse acts of love whether big or small. Don’t wait until you have perfect feelings for your spouse, get started today. We also recommend letting your spouse know about your plan to do nice things for them. This will help them know something different is happening allowing them to pay attention and allowing you to get more feedback. This can help you know if you are doing the right things for them.

Love is a choice and each day we need to recommit to loving our spouse. This means taking the time to make them number one in our lives. Marriage is a journey and it’s much better when you work together.

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The purpose of “The Couple Project” is to learn more about what makes a strong marriage or relationship. We share what we are learning, which ideas we are trying, and which ideas helped improve our relationship. We realize not everything that works for us will work for you, but we still hope you will find our journey valuable.

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