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5 Simple Ways to Strengthen Your Marriage When You’re Stuck at Home Together

Being together all the time can be a struggle, but these things can help your marriage thrive!

With the ongoing pandemic many couples are stuck at home together more than ever, which for some has been great. For others, it’s been a real struggle to not get on each other’s last nerve.

After witnessing some of these struggles, Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages, wrote 5 Ways to Be with Each Other When You are Stuck at Home.

Here are five simple ways to strengthen your marriage when you’re stuck at home together:

1. Call a truce on throwing verbal bombs.

“You can kill your spouse with your tongue or you can give them life,” says Chapman. “Verbal bombs will always explode in the heart and mind of your spouse. Each of these bombs causes further destruction in the relationship.” 

Chapman recommends trying to go three weeks without throwing a bomb. Then work to replace the bombs with affirmation or appreciation. 

You might be thinking you don’t have any words of appreciation for your spouse. If that’s the case, Chapman encourages you to think of just three things to appreciate about your spouse. It could be putting gas in the car, cooking a meal, engaging with the children (if you have any), remembering to pay the bills, or something else. If affirmation and appreciation don’t come easily for you, try writing out a sentence and practice saying it before you say it to your spouse. For the next three weeks, share one way you appreciate your spouse without expecting anything in return.

“This changes the emotional climate in a relationship,” Chapman says. “It moves it from death to life.”

2. Tear down the emotional wall.

It’s easy to get offended in stressful times, especially if your relationship is already rocky or you’re stuck at home together more than usual. According to Chapman, each time a spouse is offended they put a block in the wall. Before you know it, that wall is long, high, and thick. It’s impossible to have a long-term healthy marriage without apologies and forgiveness. 

Chapman says apologies don’t look the same for everyone, and research backs that up. When you apologize, what do you say or do? What do you want to hear and see when someone apologizes to you?

The following five ways to apologize can help you out in this area:

  • Expressing regret. This is the emotional aspect of an apology. People who speak this language believe it’s important to acknowledge that you offended them. Then you must express your own sense of guilt, shame, and pain that your behavior has hurt them deeply. Saying, “I’m sorry” is very important to a person who speaks this language. 
  • Accepting responsibility. In this instance, an apology means accepting responsibility for one’s actions and being willing to say, “I was wrong.” 
  • Making restitution. For an apology to be genuine, it isn’t just about saying, “I am sorry.” It’s about making it right.
  • Genuinely repenting. The word repentance means “to turn around” or to change one’s mind. And not do it again.
  • Requesting forgiveness. A person who speaks this language believes an apology not only includes, “I’m sorry,” but also asking for forgiveness. 

“Forgiveness is not a feeling; it is a decision,” Chapman says. “Forgiveness does not remove the consequences nor does it rebuild trust.” It’s a good place to start rebuilding your relationship, though.

3. Discover and speak each other’s primary love language while you’re stuck at home together.

There are five love languages—words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, physical touch, and gifts. If you don’t know your own love language or your spouse’s love language, do yourself a favor and take the quiz. This one thing could transform your marriage while you’re stuck at home and spending more time than (maybe) ever together.

4. Learn the value of teamwork.

Even though roles may have changed during the pandemic, you probably have the same objective as a couple—to keep all the balls up in the air and keep your relationship moving forward. If you’re both willing to adapt and adjust and work together as a team it can make the load seem lighter.

5. Have a daily sit-down-and-listen time.

Take time out each day and share three things that happened in your life and how you feel about them. You may know what your spouse is doing, but you may not know how they’re feeling or what they’re thinking unless you take time to be curious and find out.

If you want to take things a step further, Chapman suggests a weekly time focused on one conflict or thing you wish you could change as a couple. Take turns sharing.

No doubt, every marriage faces challenges, but most would agree this year has been a bit extra. If you feel your marriage is off-kilter, utilizing these five strategies can help you get things back on track and enjoy each other’s company while you’re stuck at home together.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Does this describe anyone you know? Avoids conflict at all costs. Hates when someone is mad at them. Shuts down when emotions get intense. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to describe your spouse. I was describing myself. Though I justify the behavior sometimes, I know it’s not healthy. I know it affects my marriage in so many negative ways.

Since your spouse and I have a lot in common, let me give you some tips on how to deal with a spouse who can’t handle conflict.

Look at yourself first.

Are you combative? Is winning the conflict more important to you than the relationship? Do you approach every small issue like it’s a big deal? You may have come from a family where everyone fussed, cussed, and discussed while your spouse may be more reserved. Create a safe, nonjudgmental space to discuss differing opinions. It’s important that both of you are heard, valued, and respected. 

Tone of Voice Matters.

Yelling, screaming, and an overly aggressive tone will lead to your spouse shutting down. Express your thoughts and emotions with your words and a quieter intensity. That way, you’re better able to focus on the issue.

Ask, “When is a good time to talk about this issue?

Some conflict-avoidant people experience anxiety just engaging in disagreements. Give your spouse the opportunity to mentally address their anxiety, get their thoughts together, and enter the conversation with a more relaxed mindset.

If your spouse says something like, “I don’t want to talk about this right now,” don’t hear that they don’t want to talk to you. Instead, keeping in mind that tone of voice matters, ask when is a good time? Your spouse will feel respected while you’re getting a commitment to address the issue. 

Be Patient.

Your spouse continually has internal battles. Their desire is to engage wholeheartedly and resolve the conflict versus their tendency to shut down, become defensive, or stonewall. Where you may be much better at communicating your thoughts, emotions, and wants, your spouse may bounce back and forth from being defensive to being vulnerable. Revisiting conversations that you thought were resolved isn’t unusual when your spouse is working to do better at engaging in conflict. Be understanding if they share more of themselves in a follow-up conversation. Of course, you’d like them to have shared it the first time, but they may have been more focused on avoiding the conflict than resolving the issue the first time. 

Encourage your spouse to speak first when possible.

People who avoid conflict will often change their thoughts because of what their partner has already said in an effort to keep the peace. Encouraging your spouse to speak first increases the likelihood they will express their true thoughts and desires.

Don’t talk over them or finish their statements.

This sends the message that you don’t respect their perspective or opinion. Your spouse needs to communicate their perspective and not have it done for them.

Start with “I,” not “You.”

Instead of accusing, (You always…) use an “I” statement that reflects your own feelings and subjective experiences. Avoid criticizing your partner, because fights are often not about our partners. They are usually about our feelings and expectations.

Focusing on what you know, think, feel, and want as opposed to making statements about what you believe your spouse knows, thinks, feels, and wants leads to better communication and understanding during conflict.

Together, decide on a plan to deal with conflict.

There are many techniques available. The speaker-listener technique  is a good one. Learning a technique, even though it may not come naturally at first, can help you focus on the issue and the solution while ensuring that both of you feel heard. 

Don’t expect change, but celebrate growth.

Your spouse will most likely never begin to lean into conflict the way you do. It may always be an effort for them to engage in disagreements. By building a track record of resolving issues, being heard, and overcoming their anxieties, they may become more willing to come to the table and work through any disagreements. Affirm and celebrate progress.

You and your spouse are wired differently for a variety of reasons. What you may think is a peaceful conversation or debate may be causing your spouse anxiety because they see it as conflict. Never forget: you’re on the same team. Conflict is inevitable within marriage. Your different personalities are meant to complement one another. It will take effort and time for both of you. Your challenges are different. Patiently loving one another and gently working together to work through the issues you’re sure to face will strengthen your relationship and pass on a healthy legacy to those you influence. 

I’m sixteen years into my marriage and no, I still don’t look forward to conflict. But the understanding my wife and I have for each other has helped us to tackle and resolve some large marriage and family issues TOGETHER. We’re better for it and so is our marriage.

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear your computer or device is being monitored, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

Respect matters in marriage. 

Maybe more than anything else. 

And I’m going to tell you why. 

Respect may best be defined as the way you show true appreciation for another person. Respect is an action, not just a feeling. It’s a declaration of value for someone. We demonstrate respect by how we behave toward another person. 

And it’s fairly easy to recognize when someone respects (or disrespects) another person. 

The show of respect is usually thought of as coming from a place of inferiority. Pictures come to mind of soldiers standing at attention when high-ranking officers enter the room, or of hard-working employees speaking highly of their boss. 

Respect in a healthy marriage is different, though. It’s a two-way street. Both parties in the relationship crave and deserve equal respect from the other, and rightly so. Respect is shown in marriage not because one person is more superior than the other, but because each person recognizes the value of the other. 

In marriage, mutual respect matters. 

But why? Why does mutual respect play such a critical part in a healthy marriage? 

Here are four reasons: 

  • Mutual respect eliminates the fear of being different. Let me explain. In your marriage, you and your partner each come to the relationship as individuals. You have your own personality traits, talents, quirks, past experiences, and interests. Showing mutual respect demonstrates an appreciation for each other—differences and all. Your respect toward your spouse gives value to the differences they bring to the relationship. When mutual respect is given, it opens up a vulnerability for each person to be who they are without the fear of being devalued or judged unfairly
  • Mutual respect upholds healthy boundaries in the relationship. Even the healthiest marriages reinforce proper boundaries. When you show respect—appreciation for your spouse, you recognize certain needs. For example, I’m the kind of person who really has to have some time alone each day just to recharge. My wife respects that (even though she doesn’t have the same need), and so she knows when to give me some space. It’s important to my wife that there’s no name-calling between us, even if it’s in jest (because often things can go too far or easily be misinterpreted). I try to respect that, even though playful name-calling was a part of my upbringing. Mutual respect gives strength to uphold these boundaries. 
  • Mutual respect compels you to “check your jersey” when you have disagreements. I love this phrase (which I borrowed from Kyle Benson, a blogger for The Gottman Institute). In the heat of a conflict, it can be easy to fall into the false notion that your spouse is working against you in this team effort called marriage. Respect doesn’t take away the chances that disagreements will happen; they will, even in the best of marriages. But when you practice mutual respect in marriage—and practice it often—you are more confident that, despite the conflict, you know you and your spouse are on the same team and working toward the same thing. You can see more clearly that you’re wearing the same jersey. 
  • Mutual respect strengthens the friendship between you and your spouse. Relationship researcher John Gottman says that long-term vitality and connection is grown through intentional friendship in your marriage. In other words, marriage is healthy when you and your spouse deepen your friendship. Because it shows appreciation and value for your partner, showing mutual respect provides the space for friendship to grow. Why? Because it takes the fear of vulnerability out of the equation. My wife is my best friend because it’s with her that I can be the most vulnerable. That can’t happen without mutual respect. 

But wait… there’s more! 

BONUS REASON why mutual respect matters in marriage!

  • Mutual respect needs to be modeled to children. If you and your spouse are parents, no doubt you want to raise them to be respectful adults. A child’s primary source for lessons on respect come from watching how their parents behave toward each other. My wife and I have two daughters, and I think it’s important for them to understand how husbands and wives should treat each other—with warmth, care and respect. Hopefully, they can see that in us. Mutual respect in a marriage is essential for teaching kids to be respectful

Mutual respect matters in your marriage.  🔎 Find the ways to appreciate your spouse—differences and all—and show that appreciation on a daily basis. Declare your spouse’s value in your actions. You’ll be better friends, better parents, and better teammates

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear your computer or device is being monitored, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

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Does My Wife Love Me?

Accept the challenge to find out.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put stress and strain on all facets of our lives, perhaps none as significantly as marriages. Chances are you’re reading this because you’ve felt this rift in your relationship with your wife, and you may be wondering, has she lost that loving feeling? And if so, what do I do?

Hope is not lost, gentlemen. Below, I offer you some ideas on how to think and what to do when you’re asking, “Does my wife love me?

Ask yourself, what do I mean by the word “love?”

Are you wondering if she isn’t committed to your marriage anymore? Or does her not loving you mean she’s acting irritable, disrespectful, or mean toward you? Or does it mean she seems distant and non-engaging? These are all very different iterations of what it may mean to feel unloved. Nail down what it is about “love” that she doesn’t seem to be delivering at the moment as you perceive it. 

Then ask, “What are the observable characteristics I’ve seen that makes me think this way?

When you’re in the same room, does she clam up and avoid talking to you? Does she not seem as interested in sex and continually reject your advances? When you try to talk about anything, does she respond negatively or withdraw? These are all observable behaviors you can see in your spouse. However, one word of caution: as you take note of the things you see, you are not stockpiling ammunition to bring down on your spouse later on. You aren’t building your argument to prove that your wife doesn’t love you. 

Rather, the purpose for noticing these behaviors is two-fold: first, it helps you consider the next bullet point below. And secondly, when it does come time to talk with your wife about your concerns (which is addressed later on), it is easier to explain to your spouse things that you “see” rather than things that you “feel.” 

Consider other factors outside of yourself that may be causing what you observe in your wife.

It’s very easy to think the issue is with you when you feel as though your wife isn’t being as loving toward you as before. But before we jump to conclusions and become defensive, we need to consider whether you see your wife acting the way she does for entirely different reasons. 

If she has been experiencing the stress, strain, and anxiety of everything going on in her world, she may not be withdrawing from you; she may just be withdrawing. 

In the words of Billy Joel, “Tell her about it.”

Bring your concerns up to her. Be sure to pick a time and place where you can focus and the air isn’t thick with tension. Ask her if this is a good time to talk or whether another time would be better. 

Be gentle and kind in your words, and avoid placing blame or assuming motives. Tell her what you observe, and use “I” statements. For example, I am concerned for our relationship. When we are in the same room, I see us not talking as much as we used to, and I feel like you’re avoiding eye contact with me. I just want to be sure I’m not doing anything that you see is a problem, or if the problem may be something else. 

And then… listen. Just listen. Ask questions. Become a passionate detective with the goal to learn and understand. And I can’t stress this enough: avoid coming off defensively. Here’s the thing: the problem may be something you’re doing or not doing. And now you’ve given her the platform to voice her issue. Hear her concern, listen to understand rather than rebut, and make it your goal to come to a resolution with her rather than to defend yourself. 

Memorize these words: How Can I Help?

If your wife indicates that you are indeed doing something (or not doing something) that is contributing to the problem, the next step is to understand what you can do differently to make your relationship stronger. 

However, it might be that those other factors mentioned above are at play. If that is the case, your job is to support. And not for the sake of “gaining her love back,” but so that your wife can be the best version of herself she can. 

Keep in mind the way you can help may simply be to be present and to listen. Guys can be fixers. We like to fix problems. Sometimes, our wives don’t want things fixed as much as they want to be understood. (I know—this seems counterintuitive to most husbands. But if we can learn this one little lesson, it changes the landscape of our marriage so much more for the better.)

Lead the dance.

The thing is, even if the issue isn’t you, and you do listen and help your wife to feel understood about what she’s feeling, there’s a possibility that she’s not going to pop back immediately into full-on lovey-dovey mode. Things like this take time to process and work through. Take the initiative and show her how much you love her. Speak her love language. Write her love notes, send her flowers, be extra diligent with laundry and cleaning, take the kids away from her for a while so she can rest—anything that helps her to feel loved and supported. When we lead the dance and take initiative without her having to ask, more often than not our spouse will get excited about dancing again. 

Don’t be afraid to seek help.

If you’re still questioning your wife’s love, problems persist or you find difficulty in reaching a resolution, consider seeing a marriage counselor together. And again, you might have to be the one to lead the dance and bring this up to your wife.

Fellow husbands, we are in challenging times. Our marriages are being challenged. And it may seem like your wife just isn’t that into you anymore. But hope is rarely lost. You have within your power the tools to contribute positively to your marriage, even when your spouse doesn’t seem to show the love. 

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear that someone is monitoring your computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

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Does My Husband Love Me?

Here's what to do with that thought.

Are you and your husband arguing more?

Does it seem like you are on opposite sides of EVERY issue?

Do you feel unappreciated, unheard and undervalued in your marriage?

Are you all super busy and seem to spend no time together at all?

Do you find yourself asking the question, “Does my husband love me?”

Ways We Experience Love

As individuals, we all experience love in different ways. Dr. Gary Chapman, in his best-selling book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, discusses the 5 ways people receive love. Below is a listing of the 5 Love Languages and how you can be loved the way that you need.

  1. Words of Affirmation—Notes, cards, spoken words, text messages.
  2. Acts of Service—Actions that make your spouse’s life easier. (i.e., wash dishes, dust, vacuum, etc.)
  3. Gifts—Giving your spouse small or large tokens that have meaning to them. 
  4. Quality Time—Spending concentrated and focused time with your spouse.
  5. Physical Touch—Hand-holding, hugging, kissing, etc. 

In addition to the 5 Love Languages, understanding the definition of love can place the picture into better focus.

The dictionary definition of love is “an intense feeling of deep affection.” In other words, love is what one feels. In the article, We Are Defining Love The Wrong Way, Rabbi David Wolpe expands the definition to be “an enacted emotion.Love requires action. If you need more love from your husband, the following questions may help with a conversation. 

How can my husband best show love to me?

How do I feel cherished and valued?

What does loving me look like from my perspective?

Am I not loveable right now?

What do I need from my husband?

Am I struggling with issues of the day? (COVID-19, social unrest, etc.)

How can I talk to my husband about what I am feeling? 

How do I get him to understand what is going on inside of me?

Share your emotions with him. 

Our husbands are not mind readers. Being clear and concise about feeling lonely or disconnected is the way to go. It takes vulnerability to share your insecurities and fears with him, but it can be a bridge to a better and closer relationship.

Recognize that you each receive love differently.

Most husbands have a different love language than their wives. We most often seek to love our spouse in the language we know rather than the love language they speak. Additionally, husbands often want to make sure they provide for their wives and families. This may mean working overtime to get that special gift or go on that special trip for YOU, while you would be fine with him being at home with him. There is nothing wrong with either way. It is JUST different. 

Understand his need to fix it.

We often communicate to share details or process what we think or feel about a situation. While we are processing, he is thinking of a way to fix it in order to make your life easier. His intention is to help what he perceives as a problem, while you see him as not hearing or listening to you. When you share with him how you are feeling, try telling him you just want him to listen and when you feel like he “gets you,” then you can talk about possible solutions.

In the midst of the chaos and distractions of today’s society, it seems easy to get off-kilter in our marriages. Frustration and mixed signals can lead us down a path of feeling unloved, insecure and disconnected. Remembering that how we feel/give love looks different for each of us will allow us to ask for and receive the love that we need. 

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear that someone is monitoring your computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

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Love is the most exhilarating emotion, until it’s the most frustrating because you’re dealing with COVID-19 and quarantine and you aren’t sure your spouse loves you anymore.

When you fell head over heels in love with your spouse, nobody gave you the heads up that you would endure a pandemic where you were together 24/7 for months on end. 

There are no books on how to navigate the economy, homeschooling, anxiety over aging parents and kids coming home from college, politics, social injustice, and general uncertainty all at one time. These are just some of the things that have most of us on edge, much more so than usual. There’s a lot that preoccupies our thoughts and attention these days, which could easily leave someone wondering if their spouse still loves them. 

Have they lost that lovin’ feeling?

First, are you questioning your spouse’s feelings for you because they are no longer doing the things they did before that made you feel loved? Have current life circumstances just gotten in the way of you feeling loved by your spouse? Or maybe you’ve spent so much time together lately that your relationship feels a bit stale or boring—like the fireworks just aren’t there? 

How do you receive love?

People have various ways of expressing and receiving love. It is not unusual for love to look different in the midst of a crisis. Some people just don’t feel loveable at the moment.

Some people think saying “I love you” is enough to express their feelings and make someone feel their affection. Working hard and providing could be a way of showing love, but if that person is never home, it may not feel like love to the other spouse. Another spouse might show love by keeping the car clean and full of gas, but a clean car isn’t really a big deal to their spouse. You get the idea. My point is, how someone feels love is different from person to person.

If you are wondering if your spouse still loves you, there’s one sure way to find out: ASK!

Let’s Talk!

Find a good time to have an honest conversation with them. Let them know what their affection means to you and share that you are struggling a bit with knowing they still care. If there are ways they expressed love to you in the past that they aren’t currently doing, perhaps you could let them know you miss those things.

You also might ask if there is something bothering your spouse that the two of you need to discuss and work through. Maybe something is creating a disconnect between the two of you that you have no clue about. 

Communication is the key.

If you avoid talking about how you are feeling, you could end up operating out of a lot of assumptions, none of which may be true. Your spouse may love you very much and it may surprise them that you are questioning their love for you. 

Do they know what speaks love to you? Everybody has a different love language. If they ask you for specific ways they can help you feel their love, be prepared to give them some specifics.

It is totally possible that your spouse loves you deeply, but doesn’t love who they are very much at the moment. Stress and high anxiety have a way of making us feel prickly, and you know how that goes—the ones we love the most and are the closest to get the brunt of it when we are struggling.

Ask for help.

If in having the conversation with your spouse, you find that there are issues between the two of you, don’t be afraid to seek help. There are plenty of excellent counselors who can help you work through whatever has come between you. 

Don’t underestimate the toll COVID-19 can be having on your marriage. There are so many things hitting on your marriage at the same time, it magnifies our feelings, our thoughts, and our responses. Now is not the time to make any hasty decisions concerning your marriage. Now is the time to be patient, keep putting one foot in front of the other, and trust that COVID-19 will not go on forever.

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear that someone is monitoring your computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

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For forever both of you have lamented about how busy you are and how you wished you had more time just to be together and enjoy each other’s company. Then Corona hit the scene and BOOM! Just like that, you are together 24/7. As a result, romantic dinners, at-home date nights and long conversations are now on the table again. So, why is it that just when opportunity presents itself, one or both of you feel like you’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’? 

I mean, isn’t sex at the top of your list in the midst of worrying about your jobs, money, aging parents or trying to help your kids finish school? Or dealing with your graduate’s disappointment over no graduation ceremony or celebration, your college student who isn’t happy about being home and you aren’t particularly excited about them being home? 

Was that an emphatic, “No!” I heard? Well, you aren’t alone for sure. And, truth be told, there’s a really good explanation. Simply put, most of us are in survival mode.

The Why Behind How You May Feel

When we experience stress and anxiety for an extended period of time, it is exhausting. COVID-19 has tossed all of us into the land of the unknown at breakneck speed. Stress, anxiety, and fatigue often result in a decrease in your sex drive. The good news is, it is unlikely that you’ve permanently lost that loving feeling. Plus, there are some things you can do to help get you through quarantine.

There is some truth to the saying that absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Everybody needs time to themselves, so make sure you are finding ways to be separate AND together.

It’s hard to be together all the time. There are probably plenty of things your spouse does that under normal circumstances would go unnoticed or just wouldn’t be that big a deal. Throw in the level of intensity we have all been experiencing and all of a sudden, these things are annoying idiosyncrasies that sound like fingernails on a chalkboard—it’s true. See it for what it is and do your best to not get revved up about it. It’s a pretty sure thing that you do stuff that gets on their nerves as well. Cutting each other some slack will most likely serve you well.

Be intentional about finding ways to be playful with each other that don’t take much effort. Take a walk or leave a clue on the bathroom mirror for something fun they have to find (like their favorite candy or you)! Dance to your favorite songs, do something unexpected that they will appreciate, or play Spin the Bottle Strip Poker. Anything that has the potential to make you smile or laugh will release hormones in your brain that make you feel good. Doing this with your spouse makes you feel good about being around them, even when things are Coronavirus challenging.

Take good care of yourself and help your spouse to do the same.

Not getting enough exercise or rest and not eating right can make you not even want to be around yourself—much less anybody else. 

When we are stressed out, tense and anxious, it is easy to allow the one we love the most to experience our wrath. That doesn’t exactly help that lovin’ feelin’ show up. They may know you best and understand that it’s your stress speaking and not you. However, over time your spouse may feel like you are using them as a punching bag—and that gets old fast. Instead of taking your feelings out on them, try talking through how each of you is feeling about your present circumstance. It is highly likely that the two of you aren’t going through the COVID-19 experience feeling the same emotions. 

Believe it or not, working through a really hard thing together can make you feel more intimate toward one another. 

So, in the midst of and beyond the quarantine experience, try not to do anything that would damage your relationship and your love for each other. You may not feel overly excited about sex at the moment. However, as stress and anxiety decrease and the tension melts away, you will probably find that lovin’ feelin’ again.

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear your computer or device is being monitored, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

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Most parents believe they’re pretty good at communicating love toward their children. But did you know that saying “I love you” only begins the process of communicating your love for your child?

There are some important communication practices to consider. For example, has your child ever said they were hungry and you told them they weren’t because they just ate? When kids say things like this and parents discount or correct the feeling, children think they can’t trust their own feelings and judgment. They also believe they need to rely on someone else to tell them what they think and feel. This can be very dangerous.

Validating a child’s feelings helps them feel important and loved.

When parents want to raise capable children who think, solve problems and care for others, it’s important for them to trust their feelings. Instead of discounting a child’s expression of anger or feeling tired, ask questions that will lead them to talk about their feelings, such as, “Tell me what you are angry about.” Or, “You just woke up from your nap, do you think you need to sleep a little longer or do you think you just aren’t quite awake yet?”

In an effort to show love, parents often give their child what fills their own emotional fuel tank.

For instance, if a parent loves receiving gifts and that really replenishes their tank, they may show love to their child by giving them gifts. But, gifts may not mean as much to that child as a big bear hug, which is the language of physical touch. In turn, the parent may become frustrated because the child does not respond to the gifts like the parent expected.

Several books have been written about the languages of love. Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages of Children, lists the love languages as:

  • Acts of service
  • Quality time
  • Words of affirmation
  • Gifts
  • Physical touch

Chapman asserts that speaking a child’s primary love language can fill the child’s emotional fuel tank much more effectively.

Although parents need to speak all five love languages to their child, one language usually speaks louder than any other. Once a parent knows the child’s primary love language, this language can more effectively motivate, discipline and teach their child.

In a world where many children seem confused and are looking for love in all the wrong places, parents have the opportunity to give a wonderful gift. Learning their child’s love language and speaking it often will truly say, “I love you.”