Monday, December 1, 2008

Marital Moments Issue 15 - The Twelve Days of Christmas!

I love the group Switchfoot's song, "This Is Your Life." The chorus is what first grabbed my attention:

"This is your life, is it everything you dreamed that it would be
When the world was younger and you had everything to lose"

A big part of why this song speaks to me is that it puts the responsibility back on me. Steps on my toes so to speak. The Lord often uses music to speak to my heart. The question for this segment is:

"This is your marriage, is it everything you dreamed that it would be when the world was younger and you had everything to lose?"

This is an idea that the Lord gave me awhile back when our marriage needed some "refreshing." Regardless of where you are at in your marriage, it is important that you pursue your spouse; that you are willing to take the initiative in making your marriage all that God intended for it to be. Which leads me back to the title, "The Twelve Days of Christmas!"

We have an opportunity to bless our spouses and deepen our marriages with a very small amount of effort and time.

Here is how it works. For 12 days -anytime between now and Christmas-you (we - I will be doing this along with you all!): commit to pray for your spouse and you try to give to them in ways that speak their love language. If you are not familiar with "The Five Love Languages" book by Gary Chapman check it out atwww.fivelovelanguages.com/learn.html

Each day you will "give" them something. This does not have to be material gifts. I will give more specific ideas in a moment. On the first day, you simply write a note (or wrap a note in a box) and place it somewhere that they will find it. I chose to tape my notes on the door of our garage where my husband walked in from work each day. This first note welcomes them to the "Twelve Days of Christmas!" and presents their first gift.

Do this (notes and/or gifts) each day for twelve days. It does NOT need to be extravagant or take a lot of effort on your part to make the notes/gift boxes. The idea that you are pursuing your spouse will speak volumes. It is alright to mix in some ideas from what you believe is your spouse's secondary love language.

For example, you may know that physical touch is their primary love language but you also know that words of affirmation are important to them. Mix both throughout your 12 days. Be as creative as you want!

The following examples (below) are ideas you can use as a starting point. Once you get started it will get easier and easier to see your spouses needs and how you can meet them. Your relationship to your spouse is second only to your relationship with the Lord. Let them know that they are a priority in your life.

Commit these 12 days to the Lord in prayer. Ask Him to reveal things to you that you would not have thought of on your own.

Feel free to leave comments with any great ideas that you have! I'd also love to pray for you as you invest in your marriage. Click on the "comments" section under this post (or send me a quick e-mail) and leave your name and the name of your spouse. I will commit to praying for your marriage for the next two weeks with you. I have seen how powerful these"Twelve Days of Christmas" can be firsthand. Impactful enough for me to be doing it a second time - I hope you will join me!

May God richly bless your marriage this Christmas Season!



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Examples litsted by Love Languages:

WORDS OF AFFIRMATION

1st Day "On the First Day of Christmas my true love gave to me..." 3 of the top reasons that I love you!

2nd Day "On the Second Day of Christmas my true love gave to me..." notes from your children telling what makes them special.

3rd Day "On the Third Day of Christmas my true love gave to me..." write out a verse and a note encouraging them with anything they may be pursuing or struggling with

*The main thing to keep in mind for words of affirmation is to be real. Speak compliments from your heart about who your spouse is and why you are thankful for them. What they teach you through their lives, etc. You could even e-mail some of their friends and get them to write out why your spouse is important to them.

QUALITY TIME

1st Day "On the First Day of Chrismtas my true love gave to me..." a warm drink and 20 minutes of uninterrupted conversation. *Be prepared with questions to draw them out in case they don't jump right into conversation. Such as, "Where do you see us in a yr, 5 yrs, etc." "What would you say is the most important activity in your life right now?"

2nd Day "On the Second Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me..." an invitation to play your spouses favorite game. (Checkers, chess, monopoly, on line game, x-box, etc)

3rd Day "On the Third Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me..." a walk after dinnertime. *If you have children, try to arrange for someone to watch them for 1/2 hr -an hr.

*If this is your spouse's love language, make certain that you are completely focused on them during the times that you are offering. Do not let you cell phone, etc interrupt your focus on engaging with them in conversations or activities. TRY to learn something new that you didn't know about your spouse. They are hoping you will draw them out. Picking up a devotional book for couples may be an excellent thing to introduce and carry on even after the 12 days are finished.

RECEIVING GIFTS

1st Day "On the First Day of Christmas my true love gave to me..." a single beautiful flower or rose (for wife) a new music cd by a group you know they love (husband or wife).

2nd Day "On the Second Day of Christmas my true love gave to me..." a candle to put at the dinner table.

3rd Day "On the Third Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me..." a favorite photo put into a frame.

*It is important to gradually build up to the 12th day-the last day should be the best or most special gift to your spouse. It can be as simple as picking up their favorite food from a restaurant on the way home or even their favorite drink or coffee, etc. Usually "gift" people communicate about things that they "want." Magazine subscriptions or fruit of the month clubs are great for these kinds of people. Gifts that keep on giving without a lot of continued thought or effort.

ACTS OF SERVICE

1st Day "On the First Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me..." cleaning up the dishes, table, and floor after dinner.

2nd Day "On the Second Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me..." vaccumming any three rooms of their choice

3rd Day "On the Third Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me..." Letting your spouse sleep in while you take the kids out for breakfast - like Chick-fil-A, Ihop, etc. Bringing home something for your spouse to eat after waking is an added bonus.

*It is important to give without expecting others to do for you later on. This becomes especially true with this love language. Look for things that mean the most to them for you to do. Remember to smile and have a great attitude even if it means you will be doing an undesirable task.

PHYSICAL TOUCH

1st Day "On the First Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me..." a neck massage.

2nd Day "On the Second Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me..." a foot rub.

3rd Day "On the First Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me..." you can be as intimate as you choose-this is your spouse! Get creative and put some thought into what they enjoy most.

*It is important to give in ways that your spouse is affirmed the most through. Maybe rubbing feet does nothing for you, but means the world to them.

5 comments:

Kathryn said...

A wonderful idea, Shanda, that is sure to be a great blessing!

PS-Great picture of you and your husband! :-)

Tiffany said...

I'm visiting you from SITS and I'm glad I did! I've been thinking about doing something like this for my husband this year. I love the idea of centering it on the love languages.

momma said...

this is wonderful! i needed this reminder, as i did something similar to this 10 years ago for my husband for our 2nd anniversary. i'm brain-storming my 12 days for him now!

thanks for stopping by my blog.

Honey Mommy said...

What a great idea! This year I felt like our relationship needed some "refreshing". We found something we enjoy doing together (cycling) and we have been having a great time together ever since. I am going to have to see if I can work out how to do this for my honey!

rhemashope said...

This is great! I am currently in a Bible study right now with a few special needs moms and we are doing "the Power Of A Praying Wife." I'm going to share this idea with them. Meanwhile I plan on doing this - my husband won't know what hit him!