What A $2 Valentine’s Day Gift Taught Me About My Marriage

“Marriage has the power to set the course of your life as a whole. If your marriage is strong, even if all the circumstances in your life around you are filled with trouble and weakness, it won’t matter. You will be able to move out into the world in strength.”

– Tim Keller

My husband and I knew going into Valentine’s Day that we wouldn’t have anything for each other. Life has been so hectic with foster training, work and other projects that we forgot to plan ahead. We decided to celebrate this weekend when we got to spend time together.

Yesterday, I had a cute story lined up about a dog and his new owner meeting for the first time. The former owners of the dog had wrapped his injured leg in duct tape. When the vet finally got to them his toes had to be amputated. It was the donations from this one consignment store that helped Ducky get the care he needed. So I went to the store yesterday to do the interviews. (It’s one of my favorite stores by the way). As I started to get video of the store I noticed some cool cups sitting on a shelf. One was a gold and white tea cup. I’m collecting them for my lady’s brunch coming up. I was so excited to see it cost $0.59. That’s when I started to look and see if there was a cool mug for my husband.

I knew I had a little over $2 in cash so I had to be thrifty. (We’re on the cash only system because we follow Dave Ramsey’s Financial advise). I almost gave up when I saw this one cup stuck between other mugs. It was a blue and gray striped mug. Perfect for Steven. He doesn’t have a lot of guy mugs so I wanted to get it for him. I was so proud that I could bring him home something for Valentine’s Day. Even if it was a small gift.

If you know Steven and I then you know drinking coffee together has been one of our things since we were friends. At first when I got these cups I was thinking about them just as gifts. But then I realized these cups represent our marriage and love for one another.

Some days in marriage I can’t give anymore. I am overwhelmed with work, life and taking care of Aurora. That’s when my amazing husband pours his strength into me. So when my tea cup is empty he is there to help me get back on track. The same thing goes for him. When he is tired and exhausted I am there to help him.

Now, there have been times we’ve had nothing to give each other. We weren’t keeping our cups filled. That’s when friends and family stepped in to help. Other times we have to fill ourselves up with God’s word just to get through the day. But we don’t stop giving.

These $2.25 cups represent the way a marriage and community should work. If you see your spouse needs to be filled and you keep the contents to yourself then you’re being selfish in your marriage. Marriage does not work when you are thinking about your own wants and needs. You are teammates not enemies.

 “Do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

Most importantly as couples we need to be first filling ourselves with God’s word. We cannot help others if we have nothing to give. If you want to see your marriage improve then invest in your relationship with God. It’s there that you will find how to release those selfish desires and give to your spouse more each day. It’s in God’s word that you will see how you need to love your spouse unconditionally. Marriage is hard. It’s even harder when God is not the center of both of your lives.

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Trusting God: How fathers play a major role

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“May the god of hope fill you with all of the joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13

When I was young, my dad was my favorite person. I would go to work with him, help him skin deer and watch football. Anything that would keep me close to his side. But as I got older my father became abusive. That connection I had with him slowly disappeared and I was heart broken. I was no longer a daddy’s girl. I was a child with an abusive father.

To me, my father was two different people. A man who loved me unconditionally and then a man who hurt me when he got angry. When I grew up and began to have a relationship with God…my father/daughter relationship was heavy on my mind.

God is my father. He loves me but what if he gets mad? Will he strike me down with lightening? Will he abandon me because I am not perfect? Those were the thoughts I had for a LONG time. My earthly father impacted the way I saw God. I saw him as if he were my biological father. I just knew I would mess up one day and pay the price. Oh how wrong I was.

I’ve run away from God many times. I’ve yelled at him, cried out in anger and ran to him for comfort in my darkest days. Even after I turned from him for several years he STILL welcomed me with open arms. A lot like the Prodigal Son story in the Bible. Most importantly, I learned to see God’s grace and mercy towards me. That made me realize that God is NOTHING like my earthly father. I don’t have to be perfect to still be His.

“Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth.” – Exodus 34:6

What is your relationship like with your father? Have you been hurt by him? Did you lose him tragically? Or maybe he didn’t show enough affection to you. No matter what it is that pain or thought you have towards your father can impact the way you see God. But God is not like your earthly father. He is perfect, kind, loving and NEVER leaves. God will NOT abandon you….even though it may feel like it sometimes. He is there always. The best part — God keeps His promises.

“God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? – Numbers 23:19

For those who are fathers — remember how important your role is in your children’s life. It can alter their lives forever. Our wold is full of men who are not stepping up as father figures. Men who are not being Godly husbands to their wives. Your kids need to see that too. Men, you have such an important role. The way you love your wife and kids will impact the next generation. It will impact the way they will treat others. And most importantly it will impact their relationship with God.

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.” – Ephesians 6:4

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5 Ways to Show Your Spouse You Love Them

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“Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” – 1 John 3:18

It’s easy to show your spouse how much you love them days after you say, “I do.” But as time goes on and more children come into the home showing your love can quickly fall by the wayside. I don’t just mean telling your spouse you love them. As we know, marriage is so much more than words. As it says in the scripture above, we must love with our actions.

How does your spouse need to see that you love them? Great question. One way Steven and I keep in check our needs is by asking, “what is your love language?” If you’ve taken this test before you know that the results can change. In the last 3 years of marriage my needs have changed several times.

You can click here to take the test and find out what ways you and your spouse can love one another better.

These are 5 ways you can love your spouse based on their love language.

  1. Physical touch. This is usually the number one love language for men. If your spouse’s number one love language is physical touch then cuddling together is crucial. And other stuff but I don’t need to elaborate on that. My husband likes when I hold his hand or cuddle on the couch with him. We used to do that all of the time in the beginning our marriage but since we’re always so busy, I’ve forgotten that my husband still needs that from me.
  2. Words of Affirmation. This has been in my top 2 most of my life. I am the type who needs to constantly be reminded that I am loved, beautiful and appreciated. Lately, this has become my number one again. Guys, this may be hard for you to do, but your wife may need this. A great way to encourage your husband/wife through words can be things like leaving love notes throughout the house. I love when Steven leaves me a note by the coffee maker. Even simple text messages. But of course, the best way to melt your wife’s heart is by looking her in the eyes and giving examples of why you love her.
  3. Acts of service. There are some spouses who love it when you take out the trash. (Okay, maybe the ladies enjoy that). A great way to do this is by helping out with chores. Making breakfast and bringing it to your spouse in bed. Or being the one to get the kids ready for school. This is probably my second highest right now. It really only takes small gestures to follow through with this love language. The best tip is to ask your spouse what you can do that makes them feel loved?
  4. Receiving gifts. Men, you may think this is number one for your wife, but you may be surprised. Most women don’t want expensive jewelry. (Not that we would turn that down). However, if this is her love language..or his…gifts don’t have to break the bank. One thing my husband does is buy me fresh flowers. He knows how much I love having them in our home. We shop at Aldi so they cost about $4 a bouquet. They last about 2 weeks. I also love candles. For my husband, snacks are his favorite. So I will pick up a favorite treat sometimes and bring it home. Another great gift could be giving your spouse time to do what they love. My husband loves to read but he rarely gets the time. So I’ll send him to a coffee shop to read for a few hours.
  5. Quality time. No matter where this falls on your list I think it’s still important to do. But for some this is your number one love language. A great way to spend time with your spouse is sitting down and enjoying a cup of coffee together. Maybe enjoying a fun game together. Quality time does NOT happen in front of the TV. Another idea could be exercising together, hiking or working on a project. Steven and I always make time together on weekends. Once Aurora goes to sleep we find some way to spend quality time. We basically have date nights every weekend.

Finally guys, you don’t need a woman’s manual to figure out your wife’s needs. Ladies, you don’t need to harass your husband so he’ll tell you what he wants. Like I said before, Steven and I are always trying to make sure we are constantly fulfilling each other’s needs. It’s so important in a marriage to make sure you both feel loved through your special love language.

Remember, God should always come first, then marriage and then kids. No matter how busy your lives are, take time to love your spouse through ACTION.

What are some ways you show your spouse you love them?

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