Written by Aaron & April Jacob
Your spouse deserves your attention.
You know, a little of your time, your listening ear, your caring concern, and some face-to-face time.
According to Google dictionary, attention can be defined as,
1. Notice taken of someone or something; the regarding of someone or something as interesting or important.
2. The action of dealing with or taking special care of someone or something.
We love those definitions as they apply to marriage.
When was the last time you took notice of your spouse, and noticed that she looked really beautiful with her hair down? Or when was the last time you regarded your spouse as interesting and actually listened to what he had to say about that sports game? Or when was the last time you took special care to make sure your husband or wife felt loved and appreciated?
All day every day people and things are vying for your attention.
Billboards, ads, music, meetings, children, bills, TV shows, books, neighbors, extended family, school teachers, apps, emails, texts, and the list goes on and on.
Everyone and everything wants your attention.
So, what do you do?
Who gets your attention?
Who deserves your attention?
Who needs - perhaps even craves - your attention?
Dallin H. Oaks, a noted lawyer, scholar, and religious leader once taught that,
"We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they... strengthen our families." (here)
He continued by saying,
"A childhood experience introduced me to the idea that some choices are good but others are better. I lived for two years on a farm. We rarely went to town. Our Christmas shopping was done in the Sears, Roebuck catalog. I spent hours poring over its pages. For the rural families of that day, catalog pages were like the shopping mall or the Internet of our time.
Something about some displays of merchandise in the catalog fixed itself in my mind. There were three degrees of quality: good, better, and best. For example, some men’s shoes were labeled good ($1.84), some better ($2.98), and some best ($3.45).1
As we consider various choices, we should remember that it is not enough that something is good. Other choices are better, and still others are best. Even though a particular choice is more costly, its far greater value may make it the best choice of all." (here)
So, how does that apply to married life?
You are faced with a slew of choices each day, especially when it comes to who, or what, gets your attention.
Will it be your phone or your spouse?
Will it be your work or your spouse?
Will it be your kids or your spouse?
Will it be your news feed or your spouse?
Will it be your (precious) sleep or your spouse?
The list goes on and on.
Your spouse deserves - and craves - your attention.
Now, your spouse won't always get all of your attention, all of the time, but he or she certainly needs and deserves at least some of your attention every day - even if just for a few seconds.
You both need more time and attention together if you want your relationship to thrive.
So, what does it mean to pay attention to your spouse?
It means that you are attentive to his or her presence, words, needs, and challenges, and that you decide to do something about it.
Okay, you have that part down, now what does it look like to pay attention to your spouse?
Here are 25 ways to give your spouse the time of day this week (And believe us, these things are a big deal when it comes to nurturing your marriage!)
READ: 9 QUESTIONS THAT WILL INVITE MORE PEACE INTO YOUR MARRIAGE
25 Ways to Give Your Spouse the Time of Day
1. Make eye contact with your spouse when he or she is speaking to you.
2. Respond to your spouse every time they speak to you instead of zoning them out.
3. Ask open ended questions and follow-up questions.
4. Recognize that she seems nervous, and go put your arms on her shoulders.
5. Laugh at his funny comments and jokes.
6. Notice your spouse every time you enter or exit a room. Say "hello" and "good-bye" when you are going or coming. Even better, kiss your spouse along with that "hello" and "good-bye."
7. Acknowledge that she finished the wreath and that it looks nice hanging on the door.
8. Think about how often you and your spouse have made love in the past two weeks, and make an effort to be intentional about making it happen ASAP.
9. Set boundaries for time spent on devices, and avoid being on a device (unless necessary) when your spouse is sitting right next to you.
10. Notice that he cleaned the car, and thank him.
11. Take note of their favorites - foods, treats, books, shows, hobbies, friends, etc.
12. Notice that he seems stressed, and go sit down next to him.
13. If something is bugging her, go hug her and see if you can get her to share her feelings with you.
14. Listen to him tell you about his workout.
15. Pick a show that you know she would like to watch.
16. Text her back quickly when she texts you - don't wait hours.
17. Put your phone down at night, and take a few minutes to talk.
18. Notice if it has been awhile since you went on a date, and then plan one he would enjoy.
19. Express appreciation for little things - like putting a new toilet paper roll on the holder.
20. Call him on your lunch break, just to check in.
21. If he has emphasized a need to for both of you to stay "on budget" more, be smart, and stay "on budget."
22. Follow his/her Amazon Wish List and buy a gift for your spouse, "Just because."
23. Validate her concern about a friend/extended family member that she shared.
24. Be careful that time spent with co-workers and friends doesn't trump time spent with your spouse.
25. Set reminders on your phone for when your spouse has important events/meetings/presentations - and then make sure to ask your spouse about how things went.
Simply put, listen to your spouse. Notice your spouse. Talk to your spouse. Stay close to your spouse. Then do what you can to meet his or her needs.
It's called love, folks.
It's been said that love is spelled T.I.M.E. and it's true.
At least in the fact that every couple needs a few seconds, or a few minutes, or a few hours each day to notice each other, check in with each other, and to express affection, appreciation, and love for each other.
Why? In order to build a strong foundation for a healthy and happy marriage, and to ensure an overflowing emotional bank account (that is always a good thing in a marriage!).
As you seek to give your spouse more of your time and attention, you will notice good things beginning to happen - almost immediately. You will both feel happier. Your spouse will know they are a priority to you. He or she will feel important, cared about, and loved. Greater respect and appreciation will grow between the two of you. You will notice more patience, you will notice more love, you will notice more kindness, and you will notice more connection in your marriage.
It's the little things, friends, that tend to make all the difference.
So, make the best choice, and choose your spouse - today and everyday.
Photo Credit: Crooze Photography
References - Good, Better, Best
You may also enjoy The Art of Being a More Patient Spouse and Make Your Marriage Better by Learning from Mistakes
“Marriage is a mosaic you build with your spouse. Millions of tiny moments that create your love story.”
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