Not long ago, one of my headlights burned out. My husband stayed home that evening—instead of going out with his friends—so he could replace it for me.
I considered it an act of romance. He chose to help me rather than have fun that night—and he did it without me nagging or hinting that I’d like him to do it. I felt absolutely loved.
Now, after nearly 12 years of marriage, it’s these Acts of Adoration that I’ve come to appreciate. There was a time early in our relationship when I wanted him to prove his love with material gifts, chivalry, dinners out or flowers. Then we became parents. Then our marriage fell apart in a big way. Then we worked on things and got to a much better place.
And now I just want one thing: to know he adores me.
Perhaps you are the same. The problem in marriage—and especially after kids come into the picture—is this: we forget to adore each other. We assume our partners already know that we appreciate them. We take our partners for granted.
Worse, if things are strained, we not only slack off on the Acts of Adoration, we practice Acts of Romantic Sabotage instead. We make sarcastic remarks, roll our eyes, and criticize more than we thank.
Or maybe this only happened in my marriage? At any rate, I can tell you this: when the Acts of Romantic Sabotage outnumbered the Acts of Adoration, my marriage was in its worst state ever. I even went as far to plan my husband’s funeral on the off chance he might conveniently drop dead. Talk about sabotage.
It took some practice to get in the habit of practicing Acts of Adoration. It helped for me to ask myself this question on a regular basis: Will this make my husband think I love him or that I hate him?
It also helped for me to list Acts of Affection. It was in creating these lists that I realized that romance isn’t really about flowers or dinners out. It’s really about making someone feel loved and adored.
You can do this, too. Here’s how.
Photo by Sean McGraths
1. Show that you’re listening to him.
Doing exactly the right thing to show your spouse that you have been listening and paying attention. Getting him a cold beer from the fridge before he asks for it, buying his favorite strawberry bars at the grocery store, giving him space when he seems stressed.
2. Making your spouse’s life easier–even if it makes your life harder.
Pick up his dry cleaning after you hear him mention that he keeps forgetting to do it; do a small favor for him; buy his mother a birthday gift.
3. Understand his differences.
Showing your spouse just how much you want to understand him, especially how he is different from you. Asking about his hobby, watching sports with him even if you don’t like them, making a fuss whenever he takes care of a rodent problem or fixes something that’s broken (especially if you don’t do these things yourself).
4. Letting him know that you think he rocks.
Marvel at his parenting abilities, compliment him, and tell your friends how great a husband you have—and do it while he is in earshot.
But, you may be wondering, how do you reverse this? How do you get him to return the favor?
One way is to just talk about it. Be vulnerable and tell him that you do not feel as adored as you’d like—and that you’d like him to show adoration more. Then talk about ways he can show that he adores you.
Another is to do what a good friend of mine did: write suggestions on his calendar, like “buy Alisa flowers” and “call Alisa to tell her I love her.”
Yet another way is to do what I did and create a Romance Instruction Manual for him to carry around and consult as needed. It would list Acts of Adoration like, “Tell Alisa she’s beautiful” and “Empty the dishwasher without being asked.”
Try it and watch the romance come back into your life in a big way.
Simple Mom readers — Alisa is giving away five of you copies of her new book, Project: Happily Ever After! It tells the story of of how she went from wishing her husband dead to renewing her wedding vows.
1. To enter, leave a comment on this post, answering this question — How do you like to romance your spouse? (If you’re reading this via email, you must click over to comment on the blog directly).
2. For an additional entry, mention this giveaway on either Facebook (use the link http://bit.ly/eFqL0L) or Twitter (mentioning @SimpleMom and @AlisaBowman). Then come back here and leave an additional comment letting me know.
This giveaway will end Saturday, February 12 at 11:59 pm CST. I’ll announce the winners this Sunday. I hope you win!