Meet Don. He is a basketball “nut.” He’s the kind of sports buff who can talk nonstop about his favorite basketball teams with anybody who’ll listen. One evening, Don’s wife took a seat next to him on the couch. She placed her arms around his neck and asked him point-blank: “Do you love me more than basketball?”Puzzled, Don considered her question for a long minute before answering. He finally said, “College or NBA?” While most of us men would never make a blunder of that magnitude, we often miss the opportunity to affirm our wives. Marriage is not a spectator sport. Nor is it a place for verbal jabs or cynical put-downs. Those male digs might work in the locker room with the boys, but they’re out of bounds with our wives. What do Don’s wife, your wife, and my wife need? Affirmation. Lots of it. Soft, tender, thoughtful, unexpected, meaningful, heartfelt affirmation delivered with no sexual demands attached. That’s difficult for a man, I know. A man usually sets goals and generally acts only when he is after something. When it comes to romance, he’s tempted to give affirmation only because he hopes to “get sex” in return. You and I will score big when we make our goal unconditional affirmation—no strings attached. My aim is to make my wife feel loved, valued, cherished, and affirmed as the love of my life. We all would do well to watch Solomon in action. Solomon, by contrast, referred to his wife as “my beloved” forty times in the Song of Solomon. That choice phrase is packed with affirmation. It’s a romantic expression, a call to rich friendship. Each time Solomon said, “My beloved,” his words clothed her with dignity and value. What woman wouldn’t flourish under such a constant stream of loving affirmation? Here are 30 nonsexual ways to cherish your bride through words and acts of affirmation. And by the way, these are nonsexual so that you speak her romantic love language. It’s important to remember that you are not doing these things to get something in return. Perhaps she will reciprocate in your language back to you, but that’s not your goal. Are you ready? 1. Hug and kiss her every morning before leaving the house. Research indicates that marriages that practice this simple discipline are much healthier than those that don’t. If she’s sleeping, leave her a note, or gently kiss her forehead and whisper, “Have a wonderful day, sweetheart.” 2. Reach across the front seat of the car when you drive and hold her hand, even for a few moments. Allow your fingers to become entwined. 3. Write, “I’m crazy about you, Honey. You’re the best!” or another personal message on a yellow sticky note. Attach it to her bathroom mirror. 4. Call her from work and say, “I’ve been thinking of how good I have it with you in my life. Thanks for all that you are as a woman and all that you do for me and our family.” 5. The next time you get a pair of tickets to a ball game, theater, or concert that she’d like to go to, make a sacrifice. Instead of going with a buddy, tuck them in her purse with a note saying, “You deserve a night off. Have fun with a girlfriend.” 6. Go an entire day without criticizing anything about her. Instead, try to notice her doing something that you really appreciate, and tell her how much you value her. 7. Go to bed at the same time with her for a week; just talk or read a book and share the quietness together. Or play a card game that you used to play when you dated or were just married. 8. Brush her hair and compliment her hair and eyes. 9. While she studies her face in the mirror, come up behind her and gently kiss the back of her neck. Say, “God broke the mold after He made you. You are so beautiful.” 10. Call her or send her an e-mail midafternoon and ask her how her day is going.
Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson Inc., Nashville, TN., from Rekindling the Romance, ©2004 by Dennis and Barbara Rainey. All rights reserved.