Monday, January 19, 2009

Bringing Home Paradise -- Week 3 -- putting into practice


We have devoted a week to prayer, and hopefully made that a daily habit now, and we spent a week evaluating our priorities. Now we get to start putting this into practice, and next week will jump further into the practical realm.

Because Charles is a priority in my life, it will show in my habits. This week I will work further on cultivating these habits that reflect that. I like to have one a day, but you might choose one or two to work on throughout the week. Here are some ideas:

- Get to know your spouse even more. This can be done through observation and actually asking questions. What really makes his/her day? What are his/her pet peeves (that you should try to avoid)? What prayer requests should you be bearing? What matters more to him/her a clean house, good meals, quiet time, arriving places on time or early, clean kids, etc.?

- Give thanks for your spouse, and to them. If our prayers include a time of giving thanks for our spouse it can really transform our thoughts through the remainder of the day as well. If we focus our prayers on what needs changing we sometimes forget to dwell on all the blessings this person brings into our life. Then, verbalizing those words of thanks bring encouragement as well.

- Smile! Amazing what that little muscle reaction can accomplish. I know even a forced smile helps my own attitude improve.

- Take time to really look at your spouse. This is a simple little thing that I started doing recently. I fell hopelessly in love with this man about 19 years ago and it started with a look. Both of us have changed in appearance, but I still enjoy the way he looks, when I take the time to notice. So often my eyes are dashing all about looking at the work that needs to be done, but I continue to work on letting them rest on my husband and enjoying his physical appearance. This also makes me more aware of my own (a whole nother area that needs to be a priority) and thinking how I can look the best for him.

- Give compliments. Again, even forced ones (as long as they are true) can change the atmosphere. Think about what you really love about your spouse and say it, either verbally or in a note. Send an email, leave them a message, get the word out that you are in love and can't shut up about it.

- Take time to remember. We all have treasured memories of our spouse over the years. Remembering the way my husband has shown love to me bolsters my own love for him. I remember the time when we were dating and he broke his ankle right before my birthday. Stuck at home healing, he baked me a checkerboard cake that was amazing and arranged a special day even though he couldn't drive or do things the way he had hoped. The list could continue for quite a while, but remembering those precious moments that have connected us continues to bring us closer together.

I'm sure you can add to this list as well, but I hope this gets you started. If you have others areas that you think we should consider please leave them in the comments. Next week we will focus on more specific practical ideas (date plans, greeting them when they come home, etc.) so you can start thinking along those lines as well. Here's a website with some more ideas if you need more inspiration.

I look forward to hearing how you put into practice all that we have been praying and planning for these past couple weeks.

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