Marriage Notes: I Feel Loved When

By Greg Smalley
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The best way to understand how you can nourish your marriage is to ask your spouse to finish this statement: "I feel loved when …"   The answers are a gold mine of  information.

“Husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church.” (Ephesians 5:28-29)

Creating a marriage that feels safe involves an attitude and an action: cherish and nourish.

Cherishing your spouse is a decision to value him or her as a priceless gift. It isn’t purchased by your spouse’s actions or contingent on your emotions. When you see your spouse as a treasure, your heart will open. Back that attitude with action. Focus on loving the other person rather than measuring how much you are being loved.

— Dr. Greg Smalley, taken from The Best Advice I Ever Got on Marriage

The best way to understand how you can nourish your marriage is to ask your spouse to finish this statement: “I feel loved when …”   The answers are a gold mine of  information.

Steve: I feel loved when she shows her commitment to me.

I’ll always remember the Maui marathon as a picture of Leslie’s commitment. The first half of the race went well. The second half was a labor of love. My knee was done at mile 14. But every time I tried to give up, Leslie would come alongside me to keep my spirits up. I really wanted her to run the race of her life, but she kept telling me that the race was about finishing as a couple. We crossed the finish line later than planned — together.

Leslie: I feel loved when he reassures me.

One time, Steve was giving me honest criticism. He wasn’t trying to be hurtful, but that’s how I perceived it. And when I feel attacked, I retaliate. Shocked, Steve said, “I’m not attacking you. I love you! Do you honestly believe that I would try to hurt you?” I realized how much it hurt him that I’d twisted his words. Now I temper my thoughts with the truth in mind: My husband loves me and would never intentionally hurt me. That safe starting point is helpful.

For devotions to help make your faith — and your marriage — stronger each week of the year, see Jim and Jean Daly’s book  The Best Year of Your Marriage: 52 devotions to bring you closer.

Copyright © 2012 Focus on the Family. From the Focus on the Family website at FocusOnTheFamily.com. Portions of this article were taken fromThe Best Advice I Ever Got on Marriage (Focus on the Family/ Worthy Publishing)

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.
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