Sunday, January 25, 2009

Bringing Home Paradise -- Week 4 -- Practical application


Grounded in prayer and a look at our priorities, we worked to put a fresh outlook into practice. Now it's time to get practical! I kind of think of this as the fun stuff. The previous three weeks laid an important foundation for this week, but now we get to really do some visible stuff and put action to all the preparation.

We can carry around the best intentions, but if it never enters our daily expressions, it remains meaningless. Our spouse must be able to see our love in order to feel it.

Do you know the best way to show love to your spouse? No, this does not have a trick answer, or even the same answer for everyone. If you have not explored it before, I would encourage you to take a look at the Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. You can take a quiz, (pretty simplistic really, but can help if you are unfamiliar with these) and evaluate your love language or your spouse's language. Another site has a more detailed quiz, based on the book, but I still find it difficult at times to choose one over another.

In studying these over the years I still have a hard time nailing mine down. In fact, I almost think it more helpful to think of them in a hierarchy rather than as languages, some of which you might not speak or understand. Gifts and physical expressions of love are pretty non-existent on my list, but the other three all validate love to me. I find encouragement when Charles washes the dishes or helps with laundry, but without his words expressing appreciation for what I do each day, it does not mean as much. And, I treasure time alone with Charles, both after the kids are in bed on a daily basis and more extended time alone on "dates" or vacations now and then.

All that to say, sometimes these languages are not cut and dry, and it is okay to speak more than one language in your home. In general you must do something. Love needs intentionality. Pray for God to infuse this week with joy as we put feet to our foundations.

Each day this week, and hopefully for many days to come, I want to challenge you (and me) to make a plan and execute it. Each day think of one way to show love to your spouse. I'll give more ideas as the week goes one, but these can be as little as leaving a note on the bathroom mirror or making their favorite dinner. Or, as complex as planning a special date with them in mind or putting together a scrapbook of memories to encourage them. The sky is the limit and I look forward to hearing from you throughout the week about what ideas you have come up with.

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